The job of a chief communications officer (CCO) is to direct the flow of information related to the company to interested parties, including the public and employees. A chief communications officer handles all aspects of public relations, educates others on acceptable communication practices, and helps to develop a positive relationship in the community. Other duties of a chief communications officer include briefing shareholders and communicating with business partners.
Qualifications for a chief communications officer often include experience and education relevant to the job. This includes experience handling both internal and external communications. The educational background of those commonly hired as a chief communications officer often include a bachelor's or master’s degree in communications, journalism, or public relations.
Corporations and organizations hire a chief communications officer to help provide interested parties with pertinent and accurate information. They need to be able to write and edit documents for press releases and media tours. In addition, they work with other internal departments, such as the legal department, to ensure that any information shared follows proper business protocols and meets various legal standards prior to release.
Public relations represent one of the main job duties of a chief communications officer. This includes handling news briefings for various media outlets, such as television, newspaper, and radio as well as keeping the public informed about new ventures and any newsworthy happenings. Media releases can contain information about controversial happenings as well, so CCOs should be prepared to field questions and comments from various groups, including media representatives and shareholders.
The position often conducts internal training programs. These training programs help to educate employees on where and how to direct questions received from both shareholders and media representatives. This training lays the groundwork for educating employees on how to avoid making potentially damaging statements to customers or the media. Training in communications is vital for many positions in an organization that deal with the public on a daily basis, particularly customer service as well as health and safety positions.
A chief communications officer should help foster a positive company image. The position often helps to reduce any potentially negative damage that can arise from bad press while developing opportunities to improve the company’s image. Arranging and directing community events, such as fundraisers and volunteer opportunities, is one way that a CCO can help foster a community spirit and create goodwill in the surrounding community.