When I tell people I’m an account executive for a communications agency, an image of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City must pop into their minds. I think most assume working in public relations means I rub elbows with all the right folks at glamorous events and working in advertising means wining and dining clients or media reps to make a deal.
This view is just a bit distorted. Perhaps our work is a little less like “Mad Men” these days. We may plan and attend fun events or travel to new markets to explore advertising opportunities with clients from time to time, but most of our days – and nights and weekends as needed – are spent working hard in the office.
While we spend a lot of time at our desks or in meetings, I love the fact that no day is ever the same in our line of work. That’s why it’s a bit difficult to tell you about a “typical” day. But I’ll give you a glimpse into my usual schedule so you can better understand the daily grind of a communications professional.
Wake Up Call
After hitting snooze once or twice and eventually shutting off my alarm clock, I almost always turn on the TODAY show to stay up-to-date on current events. Even better, I take some time to snuggle with my cats, Patrick and Bea, every morning. Cat time is virtually a must since I usually find them in bed or nearby when I wake up – but I can’t really complain because it’s a great way to start my day.
Once I arrive at the office, I check websites like PRDaily and AdWeek to peruse the latest industry news. More importantly, I review my inbox so I can read and respond to emails in a timely manner. Regular and open communication with clients, vendors, etc. is essential in our field.
I also make time to talk to my fellow staff members about the new and ongoing projects so I can update my to-do list. With a bunch of different projects going on at any given time, it’s crucial we all know the status of things.
I then get comfortable at my desk and get down to business. And by business, I mean one or more of the following tasks:
- Contact colleagues, vendors, etc. to keep projects moving forward
- Brainstorm creative ideas for a new direct mail piece
- Read and revise content for a newsletter
- Develop copy for an advertisement, event flyer, etc.
- Participate in a conference call with a client
- Request and review printing and/or mailing estimates from a vendor
A girl’s gotta eat, right? I’ll step away from my desk to have a quick lunch sometime in the early afternoon. Depending upon deadlines or the amount of work that day, I may just grab something and eat at my desk while working. On the other hand, if we’ve got time to spare, the whole team will step away from our work to enjoy a meal together.
Afternoons are often the most unpredictable part of my day. I may return from lunch with a plan for the latter part of my work day, but new project requests or ever-changing deadlines sometimes force me to re-prioritize.
This means I may focus on one or more of the following tasks during the afternoon hours:
- Review a printer proof and share with a client for approval
- Update client status reports, advertising reports, etc.
- Develop a presentation for a potential client meeting
- Write a new post for the company blog
- Publish posts to our various social media accounts
- Attend a team meeting to discuss a new project
My colleagues and I recognize that communications never really stop, so neither do we. If we receive a new project later in the day or have a tight deadline, we will work extra hours to ensure everything is completed on time. When a crisis occurs or a client meeting has to be scheduled after business hours, we simply add it to our schedules.
Once I finish up my work for the day, I often spend my evenings catching up on my favorite TV shows or reading a book. I’ve always been a story lover, which is what inspired me to become a communications professional. I’m happy to have the opportunity to share stories while I’m working and then get lost in them on my own time.
Just as each day is different for me, every communications professional has a unique schedule because of his or her distinct position and responsibilities. In fact, a day in the life of my fellow Mindful Kreative team members is probably a little different than mine. Despite these differences, we’re all really working towards the same goal – to help our clients build and defend strong, engaging brands and reputations.
– Erin Carlin, Account Executive