A Day in the Life: B2B PR Tech Account Executive
A Day in the Life of a B2B PR Account Executive: what is it like to work for a B2B tech company and what are the skills that make you successful as a PR specialist.
Posted by Callum Stevenson, PR Recruiter, Tuesday February 20 2018
I am responsible for understanding my clients’ chosen PR campaigns, and maximising their press coverage to ensure people understand what they do, how they do it, and why everyone should care.
PR is ultimately all about managing reputation - a career in PR, whatever type of PR that is, involves understanding and supporting your clients, as well as trying to influence opinion and behaviour through a variety of communicational tactics.
2. What skills do you have that make you successful?
I’ve always been a pretty tenacious person, and think that sort of mind-set bodes well for a career in PR - you have to be persistent when dealing with the press and general media. Gaining coverage for your clients is one thing, but gaining the right kind of coverage is another. I would consider myself an open-minded person, enthusiastic, always happy to try something new and pretty likeable. PR is such a people-oriented industry, so I think having skills like these are essential for success.
3. Why B2B tech PR?
I work across a variety of B2B and B2C clients at PHA - we’re quite a large agency so that makes for a good mix of client variation across our divisions.
That said, I really enjoy working on B2B accounts - before working on more consumer tech brands at PHA, I interned at a B2B Tech agency and thus, had more experience dealing with those types of clients. B2B tech is a great space to gain experience in. Being aware of business brands and understanding the role they have to play in our economies is fundamental - they form part of so many things we take for granted.
One of my first accounts within B2B tech was an IoT (Internet of Things) provider based in France - I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to work alongside a business that was responsible for giving us network connectivity! Can you imagine not having something as simple as that on our mobile phones? I think in this sense, B2B tech is fantastic - it really makes you aware of the essential things all around us that are overlooked, and the businesses behind these ideas.
In terms of working on B2B and B2C campaigns in my day-to-day PR role, B2B (I find anyway), has more consistency, which I like, and also doesn’t move as quickly as consumer campaigns often do - which gives you some time to think and actually breathe!
I also find B2B press nicer to talk to and pitch features, news hijacks and stories to...which I probably shouldn’t say, but it’s true! B2B press, although still very busy, usually make more time to talk to PRs and give advice on who is best to contact about x, y and z. As much as I love working on consumer accounts, the consumer press move at a much faster pace, and in all honesty, just do not have the time to reply to the thousands of emails they get from PR agencies. Because I’m such a people person, this is why I love that I’ve been able to make such great contacts with B2B journalists - it’s really satisfying. The consumer press are a much tougher bunch to crack!
I would say for someone that likes a generally more ‘accessible’ feeling in their day-to-day career and a feeling of getting things done quicker and things progressing, B2B Tech PR is a much better option than a consumer facing role in this industry.
4. What are you targeted on?
This varies and is dependent on the client - each account worked on is different in terms of size, demand and how much the client wants to spend on PR activity. This is ultimately what it comes down to.
In terms of general objectives and KPIs - Account Executive level in PR is centred around consistently gaining good coverage for your clients, gaining a wider understanding of what they want to actually get out of PR, as well as how your role fits into their business and what you can do to have the best impact possible.
5. What advice do you have for candidates considering a career in B2B Tech PR?
Do your research. Make sure you have a good understanding of what the industry/role requires and that you’re cut out for the job.
Interning is a great way to start and make some contacts/discover more about the job. I know this is hard if you have another job, but try and intern for a week or two somewhere even if it’s unpaid - it’s all good experience and will really help solidify your decision about whether it’s the right job for you.
You need to love what you do and genuinely want to be there. PR requires a passion and enthusiasm to always want to deliver for your clients, no matter what barriers stand in the way. You really need to ‘get’ what your agency and clients are about and throw yourself in head first to make the best impression!
6. What the best part of your job...and the worst part?
Best - when you land an amazing piece of coverage that your client deems to be a ‘tier 1’ or ‘gold’ - meaning it’s on their top hits of places to be featured. It’s so satisfying to deliver the news and you genuinely get as excited as the client does!
Worst - the negative view so many journalists have about PRs. I think journalists need to make more time on the phone for PR professionals rather than just asking us to email them and then sometimes not even acknowledge that.
7. What does a typical day entail?
I arrive at the office for 8.30am, make breakfast and have a cup of tea! I’ll then catch up with emails before having internal morning meetings with those in the team that work with me on different accounts. We’ll talk about our plan of action for the day/what needs prioritised etc. and who is ‘owning’ what.
We also usually have at least one client call each day to check in on things and give the status of ongoing activity - in my case I work on five accounts so have a Monday morning call, two different calls on a Tuesday, one on a Wednesday, and one on a Friday. This just varies depending on who you work with. Tuesdays are always a busy day for me in particular!
A daily thing for us at PHA which is super important is ‘paper reviews’ - we get every major national newspaper delivered to the office each morning and the Account Executives play a key role in reading through these and picking out relevant stories to clients across the agency - this is a good opportunity for possible news hijacking and generally keeping abreast of current news. I think this is fundamental for any successful PR agency.
Another frequent occurrence is brainstorms - we’re always looking for new ideas from different teams about new campaigns and what we can do for our clients and how to maximise their publicity. For example, one of my more consumer-facing clients is an events-listing app, so we targeted some key media offering a funny feature on the ‘top 10 anti-valentines events for Londoners’ - this got them some great coverage!
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