How to Become a Circulation Director

Newspapers and other publications are complex and require a variety of professionals to ensure adequate distribution in a timely manner. Circulation directors are highly trained publishing professionals that oversee the entire distribution process.

What does a circulation director do?

Circulation directors are responsible for all of the processes related to the distribution of publications. They plan and implement a variety of sales and service methods and promotional activities to increase the revenue potential for the publication. They develop and manage marketing plans and programs, set revenue goals, and develop strategies for growth and profitability. They consistently monitor circulation, revenue, costs, and trends. Some circulation directors also handle customer service functions. The overall goal of circulation directors is to increase subscriptions of the publication. Circulation directors often work with a variety of other professionals such as public relations staff, retailers, and journalists to make sure publications are distributed according to deadlines. They typically report to the upper management.

What kind of training does a circulation director need?

Circulation directors typically need at least a bachelor degree in journalism, public relations, or other related field. Most employers prefer applicants with significant work experience, typically at least 5 years in a circulation position. Many aspiring circulation directors complete internships while pursuing their education to gain practical experience. Most circulation directors start their careers in entry-level positions and advance to director positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Circulation directors often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with changes in the publications field.

What are the prospects for a career as a circulation director?

Employment of circulation directors is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The ever-changing economy and increased demand for a variety of publications will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for circulation directors with extensive experience. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace circulation directors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do circulation directors make?

As of April 2010, circulation directors with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $31,950 and $44,000. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $49,132 and $68,630 (2).

A career as a circulation director is a great choice for people with a strong interest in the distribution process of a variety of publications. Circulation directors must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures related to distribution processes. Patience, perseverance, self-confidence, creativity are necessary characteristics. Circulation directors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to effectively lead others. They must be able to build effective relationships with others to successfully achieve their goals. They must also be able to handle work environments that are fast-paced and high-pressure to meet specific deadlines.

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