My day starts at 7am. Really, it should start around 6:30 however, my desire to blow dry my hair is outweighed by my desire to spend an extra half an hour in bed. My alarm goes off and I’m up – I have 50 minutes to get ready and out the door so I can start my commute into the office. By 8am, I’ve achieved a lot – scalding myself on coffee, the shower, and maybe even the hairdryer which I inevitably used to warm myself up post shower rather than actually dry my hair. Wake up world – I’m ready to be professional!
If all has gone to plan by 8 I’m entering Earl’s court station trying to look calm and composed after inevitably spending £7 on a Golden Berry juice and fruit pot in M&S 4 minutes earlier. For some reason I manage to always get on the tube for 8:08, completely unplanned but now a strange source of pride during the daily commute! 40 minutes later and I’m usually arriving into the office – I make a beeline for the Tablet – as part of the morning work for one of the accounts I’m on we have to check any coverage for the day on the Tablet and it has to be sent over by 9:30… so I try to make sure I’ve nabbed it on my way through the door!
At this point the day becomes less linear. Once I’ve finished the daily tasks I have for clients (such as checking the Tablet coverage) I tend to do lots of different pieces of work for various accounts . Since there is no real “average” day I thought it would make more sense to outline some of the tasks I might find myself doing.
Usually the morning starts with logging coverage for different accounts, this includes checking emails that have come in overnight with any publication updates, doing a quick Google search and checking the morning newspapers. This is then all collated and logged for future reference.
Finding news hooks is one of my favourite things to do for an account as it consists of finding all the upcoming events for (usually) the next 2 weeks and deciding which events are relevant, noteworthy or may be of interest to the client. These range from a company’s financial report being released to the annual world snail racing championships. Yes, that is actually a real event with real sponsors.
Meetings will also often happen before lunchtime – this could be anything from an internal catch up where we go through the actions for the week and delegate work, to a brainstorm for an account’s upcoming projects, or attending a client call in which we update them on all the progress we’ve made since the last time we spoke.
After lunch the office tends to be a bit quieter as people trickle back in at different times so I usually start working on some ongoing projects I have. Some days I’ll have a lot to be getting on with so am busy most of the afternoon. On quieter days when actions are coming to a close or have just passed a deadline I’ll send around an email letting people know I’ve got free time to do any work that might be helpful for them… do this at your own risk because things to do will ALWAYS appear out the woodwork, and usually all at once!
There is a lot of research in PR; a lot of background knowledge goes into building all aspects of the handling of a client, from understanding their corporate background, to understanding the market they’re in and how to best enhance and grow their reputation moving forward, research is crucial. Research can also be very specific. Some of the research I’ve done has ranged from researching potential spokespeople for certain brands and projects to evaluating competitor behaviours in the market.
I have a love hate relationship with Briefing notes, they are easy to write and act as a good opportunity to be nosey about different journalists. However, if you’re asked to draw one up 15 minutes before the deadline and all their recent articles are behind a paywall, they are the worst thing you will ever encounter.
I also have a number of ongoing projects to work on when things get a little quieter; these are often not for accounts of my own but for others who need the extra help. For example, one current task is chasing up MP’s to RSVP for a client event, while another is finding contact details for various board members of different companies.
As a PR intern you can never be totally sure what each day looks like and that’s something I really enjoy about the job. Doing an internship in an agency teaches you a LOT about PR as well as about your client’s expertise too. The days are what you make of them because no two days are the same and you definitely get out what you put in so it’s really worth getting stuck in!