At DUO Marketing + Communications, we look for very specific skills when hiring savvy, experienced and passionate PR account managers.
These are my top three PR toolbox items to ensure consistent rockstar status as an account manager. To note upfront, it’s impossible to maintain a 100% momentum, so I aim for 75% awesomeness and 25% ‘I’m only human’ moments.
Having an eagle eye to avoid getting lost in the mayhem
The role of an account manager (AM) requires a ton of multitasking, that’s a fact. Working on multiple accounts with various deadlines can be exhausting and overwhelming, depending on the pace of the accounts. It is essential to have that bird’s eye view on your workload. I personally use Fridays and Monday mornings before 8am to get a grip on all accounts and to ensure I have not dropped the ball on priorities. I find it very useful to use a PR activity tracker, which gets updated weekly and is accessible to key internal team members for transparency. On any given work day, your managers or clients are likely to need information at the drop of a hat, and the worst is feeling lost and unsure.
Golden rule: Be the top ranked ‘Google search’ on your accounts at least 8/10 times and don’t pretend you know something when you don’t.
Never lose sight of your purpose and your strengths
A rockstar AM has the ability to step back and reflect to avoid burnout and “drowning” in the workload. As essential as your weekly check-ins are with your managers, checking in with yourself is just as important. Reminding yourself why you are doing what you do ensures that no cloudy, stressful day will get you down.
Understanding your purpose/role in relation to the business value of your client work, provides a deeper sense of fulfillment. Since the start of my Tech PR career, I’ve always made a point of understanding the broader vision of the agency I work in and listened attentively to the leadership. To be honest, when the vision changed in my previous agency, my gut told me to search for a work environment aligned with my long-term vision, which was to work with clients developing technology solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa. Staying true to my career aspirations led me to be part of the growth phase in DUO Marketing + Communications.
It’s also a strength to acknowledge your growth areas. Some people refer to these as weaknesses, but that sounds negative when it’s a skill you are aiming to improve on. I find that by acknowledging my core strengths, I can easily identify my growth areas and immediately ask for help when I need it. For me, it’s developing high-level strategy and content editing, which my managers and colleagues are aware of and can therefore support me. To support my growth in those areas, I am constantly exposed to proposal writing and PR strategy discussions. I also aim to develop one blog every two months and I read, read, read (and read some more) relevant client industry news, and about the evolution of the PR/media landscape in Africa.
Golden rule: When a challenge arises, be part of the solution.
Be the AM in T.E.A.M
To Ensure Accountability is Managed, being a consistent team player, not just in work but in your personal life too, keeps your career balanced. It keeps your mind fresh and challenged. I see myself as the referee, the goalkeeper and the centre player on my accounts, but I need to know when to ‘pass the ball’ and keep the game moving to avoid stagnation. Depending on the structure of your accounts, you might ‘pass the ball’ to internal colleagues or external suppliers, but always remember that getting great results is the outcome of you being accountable. To maintain momentum in the game of PR and to keep scoring excellent results, different shirts are needed depending on the move you need to make.
Golden rule: Admit when you are wrong and move forward!
And remember… to always make time for viewing or reading beyond your client content. Whether online training materials, an article shared by a colleague or a TED video, stay connected with your passion, your peers and the outside world!