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Tips for New Public Relations Account Executives

Updated: May 27


Stepping into your first PR role can be exciting yet daunting. As a novice in the field, mastering your basics is essential for success. Here is a list of tips I've picked up along the way that will hopefully help to make learning the ropes of the industry easier. As they say, the best way to learn is by doing. 

 

1. Learning how to prioritise your tasks  

 

From tidying up media lists and drafting media pitches to building media monitoring reports and responding to media queries, it is easy to find our to-do lists spiralling out of control as the tasks pile up.  

 

This is when knowing which tasks are urgent and/or important to focus on is helpful. A useful prioritisation guideline is the Eisenhower Matrix, which classifies tasks by their urgency and importance and the respective actions to take for them.  

For example, urgent and important tasks are to be given immediate attention and prioritised at the top of the to-do list while important but less urgent tasks can be scheduled for a later time.   

 

When we first start, there may be fewer chances to delegate work, but it is always good to have this framework at the back of our mind, as it helps us to focus on the right tasks that demands our attention.  

 

2. Time Management – Understanding how long you take for each task 

 

Mastering time management extends beyond prioritising tasks. It is about estimating correctly the time required for each task. Often, we underestimate the time we spent on tasks, leading to a backlog when the work volume increases.   For a start, begin tracking the time invested in various tasks to gain an understanding of our own pace of work. This practice will also help us identify hidden time costs like research, formatting, and multiple revisions which can often be overlooked in the initial planning. This will come in handy when setting deadlines, ensuring timely response to superiors/clients.   

 

3. Leverage tools for greater productivity  

 

Learn to utilise digital tools to free up time for more important work.  

 

For example, when transcribing interviews, instead of transcribing it manually, we would utilise the ‘Transcribe’ function in Microsoft Word to generate the first cut of the transcript. We can then work on the transcript and fact-check it. 

  

4. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate  

 

Be proactive and constantly anticipate what’s coming up next.  

 

Once we are familiar with the workflow, it will become easier to anticipate and be prepared for the next steps. Use this knowledge to plan our own work effectively so that we would not be caught off guard. Also, do take the initiative to keep our superiors updated on our progress and communicate our challenges so that it can be addressed before it snowballs.  

 

5. Keep our mind open and be teachable  

 Above all, as a new Account Executive starting out in the communications field, it is important to maintain an open mind, be receptive to constructive feedback, be adaptable and curious. Be a sponge and absorb knowledge and grow; there is a wealth of learning awaiting us! 

 

 

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