How I spend my days in PR
Last week, I received the following email from a student at my alma mater at Winona State University:
Hey Arik, I had you as a guest speaker at Winona State a little over a year ago, and I just wanted to tell you that I am now majoring in public relation because of your presentation.¬† It got me really interested in it, and after taking it into consideration I finally did it.¬† Now I just want to ask you a few questions.¬† Can give me a little more detailed description of what someone in PR would actually do during the day?¬† Or what you do during the day if that would be better.¬† Any other advice would be great!¬† I just want to say thanks for coming to our class. ¬†
Quite simply, that email made my week.
I speak at my alma mater a number of times each year. I devote a decent amount of time to “paying it forward” to the kids at Winona State. I do it because it’s my way of contributing to my alma mater–and I believe in helping out those students in need, just like so many people have helped me before.
But, I want to focus on the question in the note in this post: How do you spend your days in PR? In essence, what do you do each day? It’s a question almost every student has when starting out: What does a job in PR entail? And it makes sense since PR is such a tough industry and job to define. So, how would I sum up what I do each day? I thought we’d break it down into percentages of time:
20%: Client management
This bucket includes things like: Emails to clients; status and update meetings; and in-person planning meetings with clients. Overall, a significant portion of time each week is spent working and communicating with clients on a regular basis.
This could probably be a bigger number–and is, on most days. But I thought this was the best percentage on an ongoing basis. Writing can take many forms, too: Blog posts, news releases, web copy, Facebook posts, research reports, Powerpoint presentations. Comes to think of it, this number can be as high as 80-90% on some days.
For me, research isn’t research in the formal sense. It also includes a bunch of reading I do periodically throughout the day that I use to keep clients abreast of trends and changes in the marketplace. But, this certainly does include more formal research I do on behalf of clients each day. Competitive analysis. Audience research. Trend research. It all lumps in here.
10%: Professional Development
This is another one I may define a little differently than most. I definitely lump in more “formal” professional development here: PRSA events, Social Media Breakfast events, etc. But, I would also include events I have created myself–a solo PR meetup, for example. A digital brand marketer meetup that I just started. And, add in some blog reading each day. 10 percent may be light, depending on the day.
A guy’s gotta have SOME fun at work, right?
10%: Media relations/Blogger relations
This kinda depends on the flow of my business, but I usually have some sort of media/blogger relations angle at work–at least for one client. This includes researching media/bloggers, pitching media/bloggers and all follow-up and coordination with the client.
10%: Community management
This number is actually a bit higher for me right now, due to some more extensive community management I’m handling for one client. But, in general, I usually try to keep this number a bit lower.
Yet another number that fluctuates. Back in Feb/March of this year, this number would have been significantly higher, as I was putting together two strategic communications plans for two clients. That was a ton of work–but it was also confined to a 4-6 week period. At other times, 10 percent feels about right.
So, that’s how my days are made up. Hope that helps Mr. Unnamed Student. I’ll be sending you a follow-up note soon!