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What Does a PR Account Manager Really Do?

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If you’ve ever wondered exactly what an account manager does, here’s your chance to find out. While this role will vary slightly from one company to another, overall, an Account Manager will have many of the same duties and responsibilities.

Here’s another profile for our Hoo’s Who Industry Insider Profiles. Today we learn from Jessica Kleinman, an Account Manager at Cognito, an integrated communications consulting firm for the financial and technology sectors. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Jessica!

What do you do? (Describe the job responsibilities, where does the Account Manager level sit within your organization structure, and unique aspects of your job).

As an account manager I am responsible for the day-to-day activity and delivery for a number of client accounts. I work directly with a Vice President on the team to develop the strategy and build integrated campaigns for these accounts, as well as manage the team to ensure execution and delivery is met.

Jessica Kleinman 300x300 What Does a PR Account Manager Really Do?

Jessica Kleinman, Account Manager at Cognito

My responsibilities include:

  • Media relations/pitching
  • Analyst relations
  • Managing press interviews
  • Media training
  • Content creation and placement across a variety of channels

What’s your typical day like?

At a fast-paced PR firm such as Cognito, there is no typical day. One moment I’m drafting a press release and the next I’m working on social media strategy, or client messaging.

A good portion of my day is usually spent on media relations – working to secure opportunities for clients, securing placement of by-lined articles or just building relationships with key members of the press. Each morning I put together my “to-do” list for the day, and find that by the time close of business come around, I’ve barely scratched the surface!

What skills and experience would someone need for your role? What experience did you gain in your previous positions that helped you land this role?

I started at Cognito as an intern, immediately after graduating from college, so my previous experience was pretty limited to begin with. In my current position, I would say that good client/account management is a must-have skill.

Our clients are what keeps our business afloat – without them, we would all be out of jobs – so it’s important to have good communication and even more importantly trust in order to succeed. That being said, good client management is a must across a number of different industries.

In PR, the ability to write well, and communicate your clients key messages clearly and effectively, is crucial, in addition to good relationships with business and trade journalists.

How did you start in the PR industry? What got you interested in the first place?

I had my first taste of the PR industry interning for a small/mid-size agency in NYC during college. Although I was studying Economics at school, I was immediately attracted to the fast-paced and high-pressure nature of PR, as well as the creativity it allows for.

What do you love about your job? What is challenging about what you do?

One of the things I love most about my job is the ability to work closely with clients; we strive to be seen as true partners or trusted advisors with our clients, and believe this is the case for many of them.

Although a large part of my job is working with journalists, this can actually be one of the most challenging aspects at times. While I am good friends with a number of reporters, and have had good interactions with the majority of them, there’s always at least one who does not not want anything to do with you or your client. 

What advice would you give to a college student or anyone who wants a career in the PR field, and in particular, in an agency setting?

Working at a PR agency is not for everyone. It can be hectic, challenging and demanding, pushing you to continually do better and more for your clients. We’ve had people join Cognito right after school (like myself) who found it too much to handle. While our hours are technically 9-6, I’m not sure I can name one person in our firm who adheres to that policy, with many people coming in at 8:00am and leaving well past 7:00pm.

That being said, if you are interested in an agency, I think it’s important to find the one that feels right to you – you can relate to the other staff members, and can see yourself growing there. Just like college size, some people might prefer to work at very large agencies, while others (like myself) tend to go with small to mid-size firms; whichever one you choose, you’ll know if it’s the right fit straightaway – just like I did.

If you like our series and you want to leave a comment or just want to thank Jessica for her insight make sure you visit our Facebook page.

You can follow Jessica on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Jessica_Cognito) or connect with her on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicakleinman/).

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