How to get ahead as a… communications manager

how to get ahead in corporate communications

Combining creativity, digital know-how and the ability to connect people, the role of a communications manager is one of small talk and big ideas.

communications manager training colleague

If you’re a creative person, you love to write and the idea of bringing people together appeals to you, then communications manager might just be the job of your dreams. This highly creative role is, as the name suggests, all about finding the perfect way to communicate your message, whether that’s to your company’s customers or internal staff. There are tons of interesting pathways in and out of the role so read on to find out more about this modern, exciting and thoroughly in-demand position.

What does a communications manager do?

A communication manager’s role is to promote the company mission, products or services and to ensure all messaging, from a community email to a tweet, align with the values of the business. At the heart of the role is learning and understanding the message that you’ll need to communicate. It’s important to fully grasp the company values and ethos in order to have the right tone to all communications.

The position will work closely with management and senior teams and responsibilities include spying potential press opportunities and creating and developing content that can be distributed via the company’s various channels. Communications managers may also liaise with press and external companies to conduct briefings and lead press conferences.

Communication is how a brand sets itself apart from its competitors. It can be easy to overlook this, and some companies do, to their detriment, but the message that you put out there counts. And, increasingly so in this digital age. Gone are the days when a simple advert was enough to communicate a company’s message, these days customers want more. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, 3 in 4  customers will check a company’s social media account before making a purchase. This goes to show that communication matters more than ever.

communications team meeting

As communications manager, your input will be felt across all communications. You’ll identify the needs and desires of your business and clients and use data and insights to ensure the continual progression of your tone of voice.

Why is communications manager a great role?

The role is highly sociable and highly creative. As well as liaising with various arms of the business, from freelance writers and designers right the way up to the CEO and shareholders, you’ll also interact with consumers to ensure your messaging is right and the press to ensure your message reaches the widest possible audience. Ultimately, you’ll engage with big picture thinking to improve your company’s top line. The role is a blend of business and creativity.

A day in the life of a communications manager

• 9am – Marketing catch up meeting. Chat to various teams about progress of press releases, press kits and newsletters.

• 10am – Check-in with art and copywriting teams to give final go-ahead to launch of new marketing materials.

• 10.45 – Coffee

• 11am – Create first draft of communication for new product launch.

• 12.30pm – Lunch

• 1.30pm – Strategy meeting – develop and implement effective communication strategies to build brand awareness and customer satisfaction.

• 2.30 – Prepare media activity reports to share with management team.

• 3.30 – Assist social media team in responding to an issue that’s arisen on twitter

• 4pm – Catch up on press enquiries and agree to provide interview to industry mag

• 5.30pm – Hometime.

social networking infographic

Communications Manager job description

Skills required: basic and advanced principles of communicology, public relations, marketing, management, economics, business and corporate communications.

Salary: 30k +

What you will be doing?

• Developing effective communication strategies that build customer loyalty programs, brand awareness, and customer satisfaction.

• Liaising with executive staff and shareholders to ensure the message of content is consistent.

• Managing the design, content, and production of new marketing materials.

• Analysing and reporting back on success of campaigns.

• Preparing detailed media activity reports.

• Creating press releases and related marketing materials.

• Working with various marketing teams to generate new ideas and strategies.

• Supervising projects to guarantee all content is publication-ready.

• Respond to communication-related issues in a timely manner.

What qualifications will you require?

• Bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, economics or other relevant field.

• Creativity and writing skills

• 5 years+ of experience working in a similar role.

• Strong presentation and communication skills.

• Knowledge and understanding of communications practices, tools and techniques in social media.

• Proactive approach to role

• Self-motivation and the ability to meet critical deadlines

• Project management skills

• Ability to delegate tasks

 image of communications manager talking to colleagues

Communications Manager interview questions

 If you’re sold on the idea of the role of communications manager and have already started applying for positions, then it might help you to have an idea of the sorts of questions you’ll be asked at an interview. Scroll through the questions below and give some thought to how you’d answer in a job interview.

1. Why are you interested in the role of communications manager?

2. What do you think of our website and social channels? What improvements would you suggest?

3. How do you think social media can promote the company’s brand image?

4. What factors do you consider important when evaluating a communications strategy for a new product?

5. Were you ever in a situation when a brand campaign didn’t perform as well as you hoped? What measures did you take to improve the results?

6. What made you want to apply to this company in particular?

7. What would make you a good fit for this role?

8. How would you inform the entire workforce of a major event in the company at very short notice?

9. Which tools and software do you prefer to use for employee communications?

10. Do you have any questions for us?

How do I ace the interview?

Research, research, research! Aim to find out as much as you possibly can about the company and its ethos so you can illustrate knowledge of the business. Don’t go in blind, prepare potential interview answers and think of times throughout your career where you’ve excelled at this role or you’ve effectively dealt with problems. It’s also important to be aware of various fields, concepts and practices that are relevant to your field. Refresh your memory of software and tools you’ve used in the past and make a note of which you found the most useful. Preparation is key but don’t forget to smile and be engaged.

image of job interview

How do I excel in this role?

To succeed as a communications manager, self-motivation is important. You’ll need to be the sort of person who’s always considering your next step and wondering how you can be even more effective in your role. A strong vision is important and a desire to constantly grow and evolve is a factor, too. As well as being a creative and a great writer, you’ll benefit from having an analytical mind, as head of the communications team, it will be your responsibility to assess how well your communications are performing and share this information with the senior team and stakeholders. You’ll also need to have your finger on the pulse and be able to spot new trends before they make it big. Because of the importance of the role, you’ll need a degree in a related field and also five years of experience in the industry. Lacking the experience? It’s a position that people grow into, if you’re straight out of university then consider an internship in marketing or PR departments. Learn all you can on the job and in no time, you’ll be ready to lead the whole team.

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