A day in the life: Career Guide 2010

Variety is a constant for any PR pro. To prove it, Andrea Lamelas, assistant to the VP of comms at ID PR, and Bill Holtz, Catalyst Public Relations managing partner, take us through their days

In a digital age, where messages are disseminated at lightening speed, good writing skills are as crucial as they've ever been and span an incredible array of platforms. I should know –I'm a communications writer.
 
It's 8:15am. As I'm driving to work, I'm mentally creating my task list for the day. There are three or four releases, two bios, updates for our website, a speech for one of our talent clients, and a brand publicist who needs help crafting several “tweets.” Oh yeah, there are also a few viral video ideas to pitch to her client.
 
We have our 9am company meeting and I've volunteered to work the Eclipse premiere to be held later this month. As our teams in Los Angeles, New York, and London discuss new clients and press opportunities, I contemplate purchasing earplugs to drown out the Twilight fans, who are guaranteed to camp out for days.
 
As I reach my desk, my boss calls me into his office. Add two more meetings and two more tasks to my list. We discuss the angle for each assignment and divide and conquer based on our respective skillsets and deadlines.
 
I begin to draft one of the releases. A production company just acquired a hot property and there is concern the story may leak. I've just come up with a clever headline that captures the significance of the acquisition when I get pulled into a publicist's office to proof something urgent. Returning to my desk, my boss tells me the news of the acquisition just broke on DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com. Now we shift gears and draft a reaction statement.
 
As I wait for everyone to join our 11am conference call, I update our company website with “clients in the news” features. The call ends and I move on to editing the two bios a publicist needs to send out to the press. A studio sends its notes on a release we wrote yesterday. I make the revisions and it leaves my desk again for others to approve and weigh in.
 
My boss needs to attend a last-minute meeting with a client. He asks me to take a pass at a speech for a legendary actor. With speeches, I often find myself panicking, although it's incredibly surreal and exciting to hear your words being spoken back to you (and millions) on one of Hollywood's biggest nights. So I begin to review the actor's work and his talk-show appearances. I think about the audience he's addressing. What do they expect him to say? What would I say? What am I going to wear to the Eclipse premiere next week? I come back down to earth. OK. Time to focus, Andrea.
 
I submit my first draft of the speech and then begin to work on viral video ideas and tweets. Brainstorming concepts for viral videos is becoming the part of my day where I can tap freely into my own personal creativity. I move on to the tweets and begin to collaborate with the publicist for messaging. It's surprising the amount of work and time that can go into 140 characters.

Working at ID, I'm fascinated by the relationship between communications pro and publicist. Together we carefully craft messaging that will resonate with the media. Considering the millions of press outlets in the universe, it's still a fight to get good coverage. Writing, or “the message,” is always at the very core of what we do in our industry.
 
Andrea Lamelas has been at ID PR, a Santa Monica, CA-based entertainment PR firm, since last September.




Unpredictable news. An urgent employee issue. This PRWeek article. The only thing “typical” about a given day is that it's anything but typical.
 
It's 5am. Time to rise, catch up on the headlines, check e-mails, and make sure I'm out the door at 6 sharp to catch the train from my Jersey home to the city. On that 90-minute ride, I'm answering e-mails and crafting some documents. Today, it's writing a couple of mid-year performance reviews.
 
It's just before 8am, and I'm looking up at the iconic Empire State Building. I've reached the office and, as is often the case, I'm the first one here. I dive right in.
 
As everyone starts to filter in, the energy they bring is welcome. I love to listen to the discussion – a big event on the horizon, an important client call, or maybe it's just about the big game last night.
 
The first formal item on my schedule is a 9:30am client call, so Matt Ciesluk from our Charlotte, NC, office and I spend some time to make sure we are in sync on the agenda, updates, and recommendations.
 
And now, the first of many diversions from my schedule – and it's an interesting one. A former client has called with a new business opportunity. I join Bret Werner and Rob Bronfeld, the other senior team members, for a discussion. Are the client and subject matter right for us? What is the timing and possible budget? Who should be involved in developing our proposal? Ultimately, we decide to pursue it.
 
Before I know it, it's lunchtime. Normally, I would scan the headlines or review e-mails over lunch, but today I am having a working session with one of our account teams to get updated on a media tour.
 
A little later, former NFL star Amani Toomer and our clients from Timex arrive for a meeting to discuss a program involving Toomer. At Catalyst, we work with consumer brands active in sports and entertainment. In turn, our team has taken part in memorable events such as the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and Daytona 500. I've gotten to interact with major athletes, such as Jeff Gordon, Larry Fitzgerald, and Chase Utley. I thrive on the buzz in the office on days like this.
 
There are, of course, pragmatic matters a partner deals with. I'm reminded of that this afternoon when an executive drops by to discuss a challenge he is having with an upcoming event. I provide some ideas on a photo-op and a couple of other media targets. We also chat a little bit about the World Cup.
 
Though it's not always scheduled, I reach the part of my day that I dedicate to our employees – discussing client work, listening to their suggestions, or just chatting with them about their families. I want every Catalyst employee's experience to be enriching, so it is my responsibility to make time to catch up.
 
It's very late afternoon. Time for my last formal meeting of the day with Bret, our creative director Leah West, Megan Hueter from our digital team, and a couple of other folks to review a new business presentation. These sessions are always collaborative and there is a healthy discussion about the direction of our creative ideas and what other elements we need to complete our presentation. The meeting is positive. I feel good about where we are. Time for a quick check of any voice mails/e-mails, then it's off to the train.
 
I can finally catch my breath, answer a few e-mails, finish up those personnel evaluations, and plan out the next day – which will be a “typical” day in that my best-laid plans are certain to change.
 
Bill Holtz joined New York-based Catalyst Public Relations in January 2008.

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