The irony of the headline above is that there is no typical day in public relations.
I think that’s why most of us enjoy what we do.
For me, there is a skeleton of a day waiting for me when I get to my office, but rarely a day goes by where I don’t have a wrench thrown in my plans.
Every night, before I leave the office, I write my to-do list on a giant whiteboard in my office so I know what I need to work on the next day. I find that if I write down what I have to do, I don’t stress over it when I go home.
When I arrive at work to start the day, every task (whether it’s for that day or over the course of the next few days) is in front of me. Even if it’s as simple as a follow-up phone call, I write it down. Not only does it keep me on track, but there’s something therapeutic about crossing off a task on the list.
Once I have my coffee in hand, I’m ready to start the day.
The day always begins with a quick glance at the news to see what’s trending and if any coverage ran for my clients.
Knowing what’s trending also gives me ideas for ways I can insert my clients into other stories, or come up with brand new pitches that revolve around what’s happening in their industry.
This is especially important when there are lulls between news cycles. You always want to keep your client top-of-mind. It does them no good if they go dark when they are not making an announcement.
At any given moment, I have a few pieces of coverage I’m managing. These stem from interviews that have been conducted or bylined articles that have been submitted. If I come across a piece of coverage I’m responsible for, I alert the client.
Once that is out of the way, I get down to doing the bulk of my work for the day, which usually revolves around writing.
Whether I’m writing a press release, a pitch to a reporter, or an e-mail to a client, I would venture a guess that 90 percent of my work is done via the written word.
If you can’t write, you won’t last long. But you also need to harbor a love for writing because it will become readily apparent if you’re just going through the motions.
(Of course, if you are not a good writer, but you’ve been hired to work at an agency, then that might not be your fault.)
If I’m not trying to persuade a reporter to consider my story via email, I’m picking up the phone and calling them. Sometimes it’s easier to reach them that way when they are bombarded by hundreds of emails a day. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get an answer from them, even if it’s “no”.
As long as the day go according to my to-do list, I’ve crossed off a number of things and, if I’m lucky, landed some interest from a reporter to talk to a client.
I maintain that we are only as good as the coverage we secure; it’s our currency. If we’re not producing in that department, then what good are we?
Of course, I work with other clients who task us with producing content. Obviously we’re not driving coverage for them through that activity, so that becomes a different deliverable.
Before I know it, the day draws to a close and I start to compile a list of things I need to do the following day. I’ve been collecting them on various pieces of paper strewn about my desk. (See what I mean when I say I’d be stressed out if I didn’t write everything down in one place?)
Before I leave, I make one last check of my email, check Waze to see how bad the commute home will be, then leave the office. At this time of year, it’s light out a bit longer, which is nice. I hate leaving the office when it’s dark out.
That’s my day.
It’s nothing sexy, but it’s a high-level look at what I do. I suppose it’s not much different than what a public relations professional did in 1998 or 2008, albeit with more technology.
Maybe someday I’ll automate most of my tasks or the robots will have taken over.
But until then, I’ll stick to my dry erase markers and whiteboard to help me do my job.
Did you read anything that piqued your interest? Let me know in the comments and I can elaborate.