“So, what’s a typical day at work like for you?”
People ask me this a lot, and a definitive answer eludes me. In public relations, there is no typical day – new things happen all the time.
But I love a good challenge, so here’s my best attempt to capture the wonderful chaos enjoyed by a PCI staffer like me.
7:30 a.m.: While my fellow commuters are checking their Facebook feeds, I’m reading the news on my phone. With an ever-expanding media universe, I’m looking specifically for news and trends relevant to my clients in education, nonprofits, conservation, healthcare, culture and technology. I also scan the Twitter feeds of major news outlets.
8 a.m.: Arrive at the office. After getting my caffeine fix from PCI’s Keurig (most PR pros love coffee!), I finalize the morning media monitoring and review notes for an important new business presentation this afternoon. We’re speaking with a Chicagoland high school, and my role is to share information on our proposed media relations strategy. My dog had no complaints when I rehearsed for him last night, so I’m feeling pretty confident.
8:30 a.m.: Call news desks, producers and planning editors about upcoming client news. One of our education clients is planning several activities and performances to commemorate Black History Month. I think the students are quite talented, and so do four television stations. I send an e-mail to my client to share the good news.
10:15 a.m.: I take a quick break to make sure I still look presentable for today’s presentation. I congratulate myself when I realize that my hair looks the same as it did before I left for work. This is almost unheard of on a windy day in Chicago.
10:20 a.m.: I manage social media channels for several of my clients, and I make sure that all scheduled posts are published accordingly. I then comb the platforms and respond to feedback. Social media is about engagement and it’s rewarding to contribute to a dialogue between our clients and the people they serve.
10:30 a.m.: Continue monitoring for coverage and update the monthly media analysis reports we draft for our clients. One highlight is that The Washington Post ran a story featuring one of my clients, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), which was picked up by 75 other papers (reaching an estimated audience of 48.3 million).
12:15 p.m.: Time to leave for the presentation. I head to the garage with my colleagues to grab the company car.
1 p.m.: We have great chemistry with this potential client. They ask thoughtful questions that allow us to go deeper into current trends we’re seeing in the education field.
2:15 p.m.: We walk away feeling good – and hungry. We pick up some well-deserved Potbelly sandwiches on the way back.
2:45 p.m.: Before I log back in, I change out of my client-friendly clothes and into my flannel shirt. Today is Casual Friday, and apparently we really like flannel here.
3 p.m.: Continue crafting a social media content calendar for an association client with a unique online voice. We developed a fun, user-generated content campaign featuring photos submitted by the organization’s members, and we craft shareable posts the members can deliver to their customers.
3:30 p.m.: My brainstorming process is briefly interrupted when I receive a phone call from a reporter who wants to interview a client. I gather the necessary details and brief my client.
4 p.m.: Finalize social media content calendar.
4:30 p.m.: I see that Cosmopolitan just posted a story about a medical study featuring one of my clients. I make sure the facts are accurate and it portrays the right kind of message. It does, so I email the link to the client, sharing the good news.
5 p.m.: Make sure all client needs have been met. I update my to-do list for next week accordingly.
5:30 p.m.: I join my colleagues in the kitchen for our weekly Beer Friday, where we’re rewarded with refreshments to celebrate a jam-packed week. It’s the best happy hour deal (and view) in town.
Natalie Terchek is an Account Executive, developing media relations strategies for education, nonprofit and healthcare clients. She is affectionately known by her colleagues as the “Junkyard Dog” for her ability to sniff out great media placements for her clients.