WHAT IT’S LIKE STARTING OUT AT A PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY
Behind the Scenes of a PR Career with Cherish Junior Account Executive, Mirren Connelly
Are you a new graduate on the lookout for your dream job? A job that may bring out a passion for creative writing and a love of media? Well, a job in PR might just be the thing. If you have ever fancied building your career in PR, you will start out as a JAE (Junior Account Executive).
Find out about work and life at Cherish PR and The Wilful Group in our new behind the scenes series. To kick things off, we interview Junior Account Executive, Mirren Connelly, who joined Cherish PR, part of Wilful, five months ago after finishing university and never having worked in a PR agency before. “It was all new to me, but now I consider myself a bit of a PR pro”, says Mirren.
Here are Mirren’s top ten responsibilities as a PR agency JAE.
1. WIP reports
What is a WIP report? This is something you’ll need to know as a JAE at a Public Relations Agency, I didn’t know until I joined Cherish! WIP stands for Work in Progress and in a WIP report, you will find all the information about the status of the account, including all the coverage achieved that year, account activities, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and lots more detail that is specific to each client. This will be your responsibility, so take pride in it and make sure it’s always in top shape.
2. Saving coverage
Clipping, scoring, and sharing media coverage is a massive part of any JAE’s responsibilities. When you or your team secure articles in the media featuring your client, the article needs to be shared with the client ASAP, and that’s the JAE’s job. At Cherish PR, I read, listen to or watch the piece of media coverage to understand how it performs against the client’s objectives and messages. I then score it, have it checked by my Account Manager, save it in the WIP report and share with our client, highlighting the score.
3. Media monitoring
Every JAE should be on top of what’s going on in the media at all times so you can flag any opportunities to your team to possibly ‘newsjack’ them. What is newsjacking? This is when you identify a trend or an opportunity in the press and jump on it to potentially achieve coverage for your client. This could be providing relevant commentary from your client’s spokesperson, sharing existing consumer data, or providing case studies relevant to the story.
4. Call notes and actions
When on client calls, it is your responsibility to take as many notes as possible and share them with the team and client, so that everyone is clear on the actions they have for the week ahead. It is a great way to understand more about how PR works and it’s exciting to know what is coming up next in the programme.
5. Media lists
One of the top responsibilities of a JAE is to create media lists. Sometimes you have lots of time for this if the campaign is planned but sometimes you have to quickly pull a list together to newsjack. There are many platforms used to source contacts such as Cision, Meltwater and Prowly – you’ll have to get to grips with using lots of different platforms.
Day-to-day help with research is a given for any entry level role, and it’s the same in PR. In my time at Cherish, my research jobs have been pretty varied, from creating a list of Boris Johnson impersonators to finding the best restaurants in Canary Wharf before lunchtime, or researching an overview of the next Government budget as it happens. The requests will vary and your Google search history will be a little strange at times but it’s all part of the fun of PR!
(Yes, these are all real requests.)
7. Support your team
As the JAE, you are there to support you team and hopefully make their day-to-day workload a little easier. This may mean proof reading a press release, finding images for a presentation deck or brainstorming ideas. Here at Cherish PR, we have recently been discussing a term introduced by our CEO called ‘TOC TOC’. This stands for ‘think of your client, think of your colleagues’. This means that in everything you do, you should think about your colleagues and your clients first.
8. Influencer relations
Influencer relations is still a relatively new part of PR and is not necessarily something you will have to work on as a JAE. But if you do, then you will first need to source a list of relevant influencers that fit your clients target market, and then communicate with the influencers to arrange the collaboration. You will also need to save, score, and share any influencer posts, checking out how social media followers and users have engaged with them.
9. Pitching and media sell in
You will be responsible for helping the team pitch press releases out to journalists so you can generate media coverage. It’s the hardest part of the job as you are fighting with every other PR out there to get your story noticed and picked up. This will also mean providing relevant commentary and images when requested, as well as arranging interviews and sending journalist samples.
10. Achieving coverage!
Arguably the best part of PR, when you see that piece of coverage live. There is no better feeling.
Find out about careers at Cherish PR or look out for early careers programme start dates for our new paid Internship Programme through The Wilful Group. Here’s more on the a day-in-the-life of an intern at Cherish PR.