Job title and function: I am the Senior Manager of Client Relations for Rountree Communications, a boutique PR agency in Raleigh. My job, like most in PR, hits on a little bit of everything! On an overarching level, I develop and lead PR strategy for our clients, which ranges from technology startups to retail brands. Each day is so different for me (which I love!), but on any given day I could be drafting press releases or other media documents, writing client blog content, creating and managing social media campaigns, meeting with clients or working at a client event. Basically whatever my clients need to get done in the PR realm (and sometimes not in the PR realm – I’ve been known to be an excellent supplier of coffee during an event), I do!
Most rewarding thing about working in PR today: There is no better feeling than landing your client coverage that is truly valuable for them. What that looks like varies. For some it may be a piece in the local newspaper; for others a white paper in a trade publication or a mention on a national news show. When we secure coverage that reaches a client’s target audience and helps move them closer to their goals, it feels great! Accomplishing that in today’s digital world where people are constantly bombarded with messaging from every direction is even more rewarding.
Craziest/most challenging thing you’ve done in PR: Oh goodness, I know every PR pro has a million crazy stories to tell, especially in those crunch-time hours right before going out with an announcement or putting on a media event! One that immediately comes to mind – I was working at a press event for a race track where we offered the media ride-alongs in race cars with professional drivers. In order to be able to ride, you had to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes, and this particular member of the media had on shorts and sandals. Not wanting her to miss the chance for a ride-along (or the chance for my client to get some great coverage), I quickly asked her if she’d be willing to trade clothes for the ride. Luckily, we were about the same size and pulled off a quick change in the bathroom! I may have looked a little silly in my professional top with jean shorts and Tevas, but she had a fantastic time and even referenced our costume change in the article!
Advice for new PR pros: PR, on every level, is about people. Get to know the PR pros in your area and learn from them as much as you can. When I first started out in PR, I joined the Raleigh Public Relations Society and now serve on the Board of Directors as Vice President. I can’t begin to express all of the things I’ve learned from the people in that group.
Be sure to remember that your clients are people. Obviously you’ll get to know their business or product and goals very well, but take the time to get to know them on a personal level. Some of my favorite people in the world are clients I’ve gotten to know closely over the years. Not only are they great friends, but knowing them on a deeper level is really beneficial in helping their business or product succeed.
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