Here's a shock: Communications directors tend to be exceptional communicators. But what do they do beyond that? Their main responsibility is to manage how an organization communicates with the outside world. Of course, this can cover a huge range of responsibilities -- from how company emails are worded to advertising campaigns. Communications directors handling marketing, advertising and promotions teams can expect to earn a cool $108,260 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For large companies, government departments and high-profile organizations, a communications director will probably lead teams of creatives, marketers, public relations people and other specialists. Your responsibilities on that front will be to coordinate campaigns, manage people and look at the bigger picture. On the other end of the scale, if you're the communications director at a small charity, for example, you might have to turn your hand to all kinds of daily tasks -- from writing press releases to drafting speeches for the company president.
Advertising and Marketing
Most companies rely on their communications staff to reach out to customers old and new through marketing and advertising. This can range from dropping a flier into a mailbox, to running a full-scale advertising campaign on national television. As communications director you likely won't have the responsibility of creating these campaigns, but you may have to liaise with the right teams to create an overall strategy. The magic word here is "brand." It's your job as communications director to ensure that everything the organization puts out fits with the company's overall brand message.
A modern communications director better come to grips with digital, and fast. In 2012, more than 900 million people use Facebook worldwide. If it was a country, it would be the third most populated in the world, according to "The Wall Street Journal." Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, now allow companies to interact with customers in new, more open ways. A communications director might develop strategies for getting the company's brand talked about online, or simply use Twitter to handle customer questions and complaints. What this doesn't mean, of course, is that you get to spend all day messaging your friends.
Communications directors may find that they're often asked to represent their company in interviews, at conferences and in the media. You could be hot-footing it across the country, speaking to journalists here and PR agents there. These responsibilities mean you'd better not be too shy to stand up in front of a crowd or handle potentially tough questions from prying media people. And it helps if you're happy spending time on the road and in hotel rooms across the country. The good news is that, as director, you'll probably have access to room service.
2016 Salary Information for Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $127,370 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $89,910, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $174,790, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 249,600 people were employed in the U.S. as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers.
- Education Portal: Communications Director: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
- The Wall Street Journal: Facebook Passes the 900 Million Monthly Users Barrier
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
- Career Trend: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.