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PR careers: a day in the life of a senior account executive

About us - 16th August 2016

After holding the role of PR account executive, and now senior account executive, at 80:20 Communications for approaching 18 months now, I can say it’s certainly one of the most diverse and interesting jobs I’ve had.

 PR careers: a day in the life of a senior account executive

So, what does a typical day look like? Well, honestly, not very typical at all. One of the most exciting things about being a senior account executive is that every day is likely to be different to the last.

Let me begin by talking about the few things that are constants.

I wake up bright and early and before I even have a cup of coffee I’m scrolling through the overnight breaking news on my phone. Keeping up to date with news and current affairs is an intrinsic part of PR and essential in my job; by knowing what’s going on in the news I have more chance of spotting an opportunity that could be good for a client. Keeping knowledgeable about the industry you work in is always important.

With my coffee (one-and-a-half spoons of coffee and sugar, please) and a bowl of the most delicious cereal I can find, I switch on the TV to get my morning fix of broadcast news.

That’s about as far as we get for the things that rarely change.

Next, I’ll touch on the most common things I experience on a regular day in PR.

Unless I’m attending a client meeting or media briefing I head straight into the office. When I arrive, I consume more coffee (naturally), check newspapers and trade magazines for client coverage, share general industry news with the rest of the team and make notes about opportunities I’ve seen for clients – such as a new column or a new journalist writing about a relevant topic.

Mornings can involve catch-up calls with clients to discuss any upcoming press releases, magazine features to which we could contribute, and any general news from the client that might be interesting to the media. I have ownership of the forward features document (for those not in the know, this is a list of feature articles that our target publications plan to run – I compile this from the editorial calendars many publications make available at the end of the year, outlining their feature plans for the following 12 months). I continue regularly checking publications during the year for relevant features and make sure to update our document with any new opportunities I’ve found. I request the synopsis for the feature, make a note of anything my clients can contribute and discuss the opportunity with the client. Once I have all the information about the feature and what my client can add, I pitch to the journalist and continue with media liaison until content is provided or an interview is confirmed.

My day is filled with reactive media relations (based on emails or phone calls coming in) and proactive media relations, such as targeting a journalist for a story based on spotting an opportunity. If an interview is happening, there will be a lot of preparatory work to ensure the client is briefed on the likely questions and comfortable about how to respond.

Throughout the day, I’m also obviously on social media, checking my own and our company feeds for useful news, journalist questions and, of course, essential showbiz gossip!

There are also a range of other things that can take me out of the office. Recently, I’ve worked on behalf of a client at the Farnborough Airshow, taken part in a pitch in Bristol and been to PRCA training courses in London. 

I also like to arrange to meet journalists for a coffee, lunch or a glass of wine. It’s a great opportunity to find out, face-to-face, what a journalist is working on and how you and your clients can help them with their stories. Meeting journalists and building my own ‘little black book’ of contacts is an essential part of the PR senior account executive role – and, more to the point, of PR in general.

If I am out at meetings around lunchtime, I usually return to the office for the remainder of the day, unless it makes more sense to work from home. At 80:20 Communications, writing is a key part of what we do, whether it’s writing a press release for a client or a larger article. Writing is an art, and, with every piece you produce, there are always opportunities to learn and improve; it’s an ever-evolving skill and practise certainly makes perfect. So, I make sure I use the lessons learnt from previous articles and press releases and apply them to the current piece of work. You need to be willing to receive constructive criticism, as it’s all part of honing your craft and progressing.


So, if you want to work in an industry that is always evolving, in a role that always develops and is never the same, then going into PR as an account executive or senior account executive could be for you!