In this guest blog, LSE alum Jen Atkinson, who works as a Campaign Manager for Babel PR, shares what a day on the jobs looks like.
The public relations (PR) industry is highly diverse, offering career prospects to those with a broad range of talents. From relationship building to writing, and from tenacious media pitching to coverage analysis; whether it’s consumer or business-to-business PR, there’s something for everyone.
PR is about managing reputation. So, whether we’re proactively supporting brands in developing their profile, or reactively developing strategies to mitigate unwelcome publicity, no two days are ever the same.
This year I am celebrating my fifth year working for Babel, a telecommunications and technology PR agency. We predominantly serve business-to-business clients, which means the companies we work with sell their services or products to other businesses, rather than consumers like you or I. You may not be familiar with the ins and outs of PR life (I wasn’t before I joined the industry!), so here’s an overview of a typical day in our office:
Staying on top of news: Whatever our level seniority at Babel, we all begin each day by reading the news via apps and social media, and reading newspapers. Staying abreast of breaking stories and finding out what today’s hot topics are is a great way of spotting opportunities to position our own clients in the news agenda.
Team meetings: We work in teams (each focussed on a different client) ranging from two, up to about eight. It’s therefore important, once we’ve digested the news and our emails, to catch up with our respective teams to communicate the day’s priorities.
Media outreach: Our prime media outreach hours are 10:00am until 12noon, and then between 2:00 and 4:00pm. During these times, we are on the phones, emails, or social with our media contacts, pitching them our clients’ news and views with an aim of securing coverage. If our clients don’t have news, then our creativity skills come to the fore: positioning their spokespeople as experts on hot topics, and looking for other ways to secure that all important coverage.
Lunch – an opportunity to socialise: Whether we stay in the office to catch up on some reading or play pool; go and meet friends (or a friendly journalist); or head out for a team lunch, our midday break will vary every day!
Content creation: For some, the attraction of working in PR is the opportunity to write. Whether it’s a press release, a blog, social media posts, long-form whitepapers or a short 100-word comment, the opportunities are abundant.
Client contact: When it comes to client communications, we live by our rules of never taking longer than an hour to reply to a client (within our working day), and always try to have the conversation either face-to-face, or by phone, rather than only communicating via email. We have weekly or bi-weekly catch up calls with all our client contacts, and we may be emailing them coverage updates up to two or three times a day during busy periods.
Coverage clipping: In addition to all other activity, one of the most satisfying tasks can be clipping the copious amounts of quality coverage we’ve secured for our client. At key times of the year – such as during a quarterly review – we’ll collate all the articles into a detailed coverage book to present to the client. This could be a comment from a client published in a national broadsheet, or a client’s article on an industry trend, featured in a top-tier trade magazine, both showcasing the value of our work.
Of course, this is only a snapshot of what we do. There are training sessions, client event organising, press list building, coverage analysis, new business research, budget developments, quotes and invoices to be drafted, as well as creative work with visuals, to add to the list. But what I hope to have done is given you a taster of what you could expect if you’re thinking of joining a PR agency as a post-graduate account executive.
Babel is always on the lookout for new talent. Visit our careers page for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. But, before you do, it might be worth checking out this blog I wrote for the LSE three years ago, with the transferable PR skills you can use with your application!