Carrie Morgan

PR: How to Be a Rock Star Account Executive

By: Carrie Morgan | February 20, 2014 | 
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PR: How to Be a Rock Star PR Account ExecutiveBy Carrie Morgan

We all like to complain about “those” PR professionals.

The ones who create a social media crisis instead of beneficial buzz, a la Justine Sacco.

The ones who make mincemeat of pitches so badly they are publicly shamed by aggravated journalists and bloggers.

The ones who think any PR is good PR, like the Philip Seymour Hoffman celebrity product endorsement debacle.

It’s fun to bemoan the disasters, and criticize those who are doing things wrong, even taking on the public relations industry as a whole.

But are we doing enough to promote the right skills? To transform so-so account executives into really great ones?

The PR Industry Can Do Better

I think we can improve.

Here are three quick ways to become a better account executive.

1. Make their priority YOUR priority. It’s not just a pat statement to put in your agency customer service playbook. When you deeply understand what your client is trying to accomplish, your PR efforts are more likely to create positive, measurable results. The underlying tactics may shift radically. It allows you to define specific goals for your campaigns and programs that align with what is most needed to help their organization be successful.

When the conversation transitions from creativity and content to results and metrics, you are instantly identified as a more sophisticated, analytical thinker. This rapidly sets you apart from your task-oriented colleagues, and is a clear transition point from a coordinator-level position to one capable of handling and guiding clients.

This rule of thumb can also help you remember business comes first.

As stated by author Robert Solomon, “No matter how many dinners you attend or how friendly you become with a client, NEVER mistake your relationship for personal friendship. Never forget the person sitting across from you is always your client.”

2. Learn new skills, test new tools, and grow. Agencies are notorious for falling short on training their employees. The most beneficial thing you can do for your own career is to continue learning. Try new tools and use social media platforms to gain experience that you can apply to clients.

Always, always aggressively expand your skills. Our industry is shifting quickly. A strong commitment to continued learning is the only way to stay ahead of the curve.

How much time should you invest in yourself? I’d recommend at least an hour a week. Get outside of your comfort zone so learning becomes a habit.

Aggregate and curate industry articles that interest you, by commenting and sharing.

This helps you learn, and positions you as a budding authority. You’ll boost your career skills and your client skills at the same time.

3. Help your clients become more integrated across their entire marketing strategy. While you may be great at public relations, every company is now struggling to eliminate silos, and make their marketing efforts more integrated to increase ROI.

If you can help? MAJOR brownie points. It doesn’t take senior level skills to do this.

Include Tweet-ready summaries and quotes at the bottom of each news release.

Pitch complete blog posts, not just bylines.

Start wrapping a single keyword or phrase into your content.

Make sure every blog post is also pinned and shared across the client’s social media platforms.

Put that client’s financial roadshow or sales presentation on SlideShare.

Focus on turning every PR asset into multiple pieces of re-purposed content – you’ll have more placements to show, plus you’ll be helping the client get the most out of their PR retainer with improved visibility. You’ll be demonstrating skills many of your peers aren’t doing yet.

Trust me, your supervisor will notice.

Image courtesy of AndrewIsTaken on Flickr.

About Carrie Morgan


Top 1% Influencer Carrie Morgan just released her first book: Above The Noise: Creating Trust, Value & Reputation Using Basic Digital PR. Already endorsed by Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Ann Handley and Mark Schaefer with a foreword by Gini Dietrich (YAY!), it’s an important read for those struggling to integrate content marketing, SEO and social media into traditional public relations tactics. Carrie blogs at Rock The Status Quo and leads one of the largest Twitter chats in our industry, #PRprochat, every first Thursday at 3pm EST. She is a digital PR consultant in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • morgancarrie

    corinamanea Thanks, Corina!

  • morgancarrie

    ginidietrich Is it just me or is the website down?

  • @morgancarrie My pleasure Carrie. Really good points you make here. Being interested in your client´s business, understanding it as your own and then taking it to the next level, from a communication point of view, is what differentiate an outstanding account executive and a PR pro for that matter. I think learning, whether new skills, tools or even a new industry is not only a must, but it is in the DNA of highly achievers. 
    “Be curious” is not (or shouldn´t be) because of what your boss expects from you, but because you can´t stay put or sleep until you read, learn about that (tool, news, skill, etc). It´s something that comes from the inside and it translates in your day a day work.

  • corinamanea

    biggreenpen Thanks for sharing Paula. Have a great afternoon!

  • biggreenpen

    corinamanea You’re welcome!

  • morgancarrie

    jason_ Thanks for sharing my post, Jason!

  • morgancarrie

    susancellura Thanks, Susan!

  • jason_

    morgancarrie No problem Carrie. It was a great post.

  • morgancarrie

    clay_morgan Thank you, Clay!

  • morgancarrie

    Jack90Williams Thanks! =)

  • susancellura

    morgancarrie My pleasure! It is an excellent piece!

  • morgancarrie

    susancellura I appreciate that. =)

  • Excellent post, Carrie! 
    I definitely believe many organizations under-train their staff. I’m even more surprised by how many organizations think their training was even “good.” I agree with you that once you stop learning something, you start falling into a rut that eventually becomes problematic for you and your company later on down the line. 
    I also really like your tip about having Tweet-ready quotes as part of your press releases. That’s just good planning and being ahead of the curve. Thanks for sharing that!

  • JRHalloran  Hi, James, thanks for your nice comment! I appreciate it. =)

  • morgancarrie

    hanab08 Thanks for the share!

  • morgancarrie

    brojanderson Hi, Brooke – thanks!

  • SpaDangNgoc
  • morgancarrie

    coledouglas7 Thanks, Cole!

  • morgancarrie

    kovalskyc 😀

  • Gini Dietrich

    Someone else taught you something?!

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    LOL!!!

  • Pingback: Skin in the Game and the Art of the Next Step by @JackVincent Spin Sucks()

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