Your No-BS Guide To A Day In The Life Of A PR Account Executive
So you’ve graduated from uni. You have a budding sense of urgency to get a “grown up” job and one hell of an expensive piece of paper. You’re ready to start on your next big adventure in the wonderful world of PR in your first role as an account executive.
Even if you’ve studied public relations, you’re probably still unsure what to make of it. Don’t worry, this is the case for much of the rest of the population. Get used to hearing “but what do you actually do?” for the rest of your career. I’m here to help you answer that question… somewhat.
If you’ve joined or just about to join an agency, let me give you a rough idea of my daily activities to help get you ready.
If you overstated your proficiency in Microsoft Excel somewhat on your resume, then you better get practicin’. As a PR newbie, much of your time will be spent working on reports. They communicate the value of your team’s work to clients and their management teams. From coverage spreadsheets tallying stories to social media metrics, the reports you’ll be working on will be extensive and varied. But mostly, extensive.
If you’re lucky enough to work in an integrated agency, you’ll likely spend a good chunk of time writing, scheduling and managing social media content. Having a number of clients keeps this task fresh and interesting. In 5 minutes, my persona changes from the dorky dad on a large technology page to the busy mum behind a much-loved breakfast brand. Social media is here to stay in PR, so get to know the platforms and hone your attention to detail. Also, brush up on your puns because you’re gonna need em’.
Don’t worry; I’d never heard the word before either. Basically, it means “review program”. You send products to media and influencers to try and (hopefully) write about. It’s pretty cool because you get to play with new goodies. You also get to build relationships with journalists who are actually interested in your client. If you do seeding, bring your A-game bubble wrapping skills, get your courier on speed dial and prepare to troubleshoot issues when you have no idea what you’re on about.
From media roundtables to full-scale conferences, you’ll more than dabble in the event. You might be tasked with brainstorming concepts, researching venues, arranging catering, booking travel, managing RSVP lists and/or keeping a close eye on a particularly inquisitive journalist. There are a surprising number of boxes to tick when it comes to events but also a decent amount of pastries left over at the end. Win-win.
In PR, it’s not uncommon to greet your teammates of a morning with shrieks of, “we got coverage!” Landing a 5-star review or placing a front-page story is weirdly satisfying. Sure, you’ll have to awkwardly hound a couple of journalists and compile more media lists than you can poke a stick at, but the creative genius behind a well-crafted pitch will never get old. Beyond this, PR is a people game. The more relationships you build and journalists you get to know, the easier your job becomes.
Okay, so PR isn’t all Samantha-from-Sex and the City, but you certainly go to a lot of events and parties. If the free-flowing wine hasn’t got your foot in the door, then the opportunity to mingle and network with some impressive people should. PR events lead to some pretty great experiences: 3am karaoke, bonding in shark onesies and an intimate Ed Sheeran concert to name a few. Although, I’m just realising how great this would have been if they’d all happened at the same time.
So, I hope I’ve dispelled some of the myths around PR and prepped you for some of the wonderful things to come. If you have any questions or would like to chat about the above, feel free to drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org