what is a communications manager?

As a communications manager, you develop and maintain a favourable public image for your employer. You handle a company's communication with its stakeholders and the general public. That means you write press releases for the media and prepare social media posts. When you work in government offices, you inform the public about the government department's activities and the public's benefits.

When you are a communications manager, it is important to understand the attitudes and concerns of your customers or audience to maintain a good relationship with them. For instance, you maintain good relationships with journalists and company partners. These relationships help you pass information to the public more quickly and effectively. When you draft a press release, your contacts in the media help you circulate the information by printing it in their newspapers or posting it online.

As a communications manager, you also host corporate events that foster your company’s brand image. Social events improve public recognition of the company. A major part of your job is clarifying issues about your employer. You clarify the company's position by attending interviews and writing press releases, especially if there's negative press.

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average communications manager salary

Communications managers earn an average remuneration package of $120,000 per year. You start as an assistant communications manager and are likely to earn below $110,000 annually while gaining experience. With additional experience and qualifications, your salary increases gradually. Senior communications managers take home over $130,000 yearly.

what factors affect the salary of a communications manager?

The remuneration package of a communications manager depends on experience and qualifications. After being in the industry for over ten years, you can negotiate a higher salary that reflects your skills and competencies.

The company you work for also influences your earnings. For instance, working in the public sector attracts a lower salary than in the private sector. Some industries pay communications managers top dollar since they are prone to negative publicity that requires expert services. For instance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and mining companies rely on the expertise of communication managers to curb negative press that affects their operations.

The location also influences your remuneration package. Communication managers working in metro areas earn more due to the high demand. Large companies are based in metro areas, increasing the demand for communication managers.

Want to know what you will earn as a communications manager? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of communications managers

Communications managers have numerous areas of specialisation and expertise. As a communications manager in charge of media relations, you focus on building relationships with broadcasters, reporters and bloggers to improve your brand's media coverage. Having a good relationship with the media helps secure free media coverage. A media relations specialist also studies news trends and finds ways to exploit them to improve the popularity of their brand.

As a community relations specialist, you specialise in building your company's reputation and relationship with the local community. When you have a healthy relationship with local people, getting their support on various projects and improving corporate social responsibility is easier.

As a crisis communications specialist, you specialise in disasters and crises that could affect a company's reputation. For instance, you deal with issues related to faulty product recalls or negative social media content about an employee.

A photo of two women working together
A photo of two women working together

working as a communications manager

Working as a communications manager involves informing the public about new products and services that the company provides. You also handle negative press and manage the reputation of the company. Here are the daily activities and work environments of communication managers:


education and skills

You require tertiary qualifications and extensive experience to become a communications manager. The first step is to complete a degree in marketing, communications or journalism. These courses help you learn the basics of communications and managing PR. Since a communications manager is a senior-level position, most employers require additional qualifications. Pursue a master of communication or journalism. Alternatively, you can specialise with a master of digital communication.

To become a communications manager, you require extensive experience. Consider entry-level roles in communications, like becoming a PR or communications officer, to gain experience in public relations and marketing. Experience in leadership roles may also be relevant for the role. Consider certifications from the Australian Marketing Institute to showcase your skills. You should also complete a professional certification, like Certified Practising Marketer (CPM).

communications manager skills and competencies

As a communications manager, you require the following skills and qualities:

  • timing and news awareness: as a communications manager, great timing is crucial to align your company statements with trending topics. Timing and news awareness help you forecast your employer's communication needs to create a long-term PR plan. News awareness helps you stay on trend and create market-relevant PR content.
  • relationship-building skills: media professionals are always looking for newsworthy and credible stories. With so many news sources, an engaging and important story may not make the news if you don't have a good relationship with journalists. It is vital to establish good relationships with journalists and other industry professionals.
  • creative writing skills: as a communications manager, you are expected to write creative stories that communicate value and engage your clients. Creative writing skills help you master the art of storytelling and use it to build a rapport with the audience.
  • complex problem-solving skills: as a communications manager, you require problem-solving skills to analyse ideas and use logic to determine the best solutions to PR nightmares. Your problem-solving ability helps you notice when something is wrong and identify the nature of the problem.

FAQs about working as a communications manager

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a communications manager.

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