Natalie Trice

A Day in the Life of Julia Smith of The Digital Voice

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with regards to this series, A Day in the Life of a PR.

I will be running pieces on a Monday and Thursday given the volume of interest and I know that every single person will bring something really valuable to the table.

Today, Julia Smith, founder and CEO of The Digital Voice, is in the spotlight, and I am in awe that she starts her day at 5:30am, but aims to finish work by 4pm. Knowing when you work best, and when you need to rest is so important, and while I am not an early bird, I totally see where she is coming from.

Over to Julia.

Tell me about you and your business.

My name is Julia Smith and I’m the founder and CEO of The Digital Voice. We are a PR company, but with a difference. We bring company and brand voices to life through engaging PR campaigns, communications work, and also immersive virtual experiences. We are the voice of martech and adtech companies who have a lot to say and want to be heard in a cost-effective way. 

What is your morning routine before you get to your desk?

My morning routine is absolutely essential to me. I’m a big fan of the Miracle Morning, which is an idea created by Hal Edron. The thinking is you get up an hour earlier than you need to. So I tend to get up at 530 in the morning, check my calendar for the day, and note down all the outputs needed. I then go to the gym that we have in now in our house, and then I’m showered and back up to my desk to start at 7:30 am. We tend to work earlier, mainly because me and my team are all early birds. And it also allows me to fit in time with my family from late afternoon.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk?

The first thing I do when I get to my desk is check my actions for that day and plan the outputs needed that day for our clients.. We have a comprehensive all outputs document and one of our big differentiating points is that we’re all about action, and outputs. We work fast and over deliver! That means that we tend to do an awful lot of outputs in a small amount of days, which suits our clients who tend to be small to medium sized companies who have a loud voice, potentially smaller budgets, but still have a lot to say and our job is to make sure they are heard.

Tongue in cheek question, what does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day in life for me is starting at 5:30am and I normally aim to finish work and down tools by 4pm, as that tends to be my least productive time of day. It’s better for me to finish then, and focus on my family and being able to enjoy my evening and recharge. I tend to go to the gym first thing in the morning and at the moment in lockdown, it’s very quiet in the evening so we just cook, chill and relax – ready for the next day.

How have you kept your business on track over the past year and dealt with the impact of COVID?

Since COVID. It’s actually been a time in which I’ve expanded my company really against the odds. This has been just down to having the time that would have been spent travelling overseas. One of the outputs for our clients is speaking engagements and events, and all of those obviously became virtual, which allowed me to win back time that would have been spent travelling to really expand The Digital Voice. So we’ve grown the number of people on the team and although we are still small but perfectly formed, it has been a significant year of growth. This has also been down to an investment made in licensing the virtual platform experience platform Remo and we have been hosting virtual experiences for our own clients, and then grown our client base to host highly interactive and networking focused experiences for clients, such as Glamour magazine. Magnite, Captify and Weber BBQ.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for PR at the moment?

The biggest challenge for PR businesses at the moment is the fact that so much content is now pay to play. This is understandable because the publishers need to make back money and generate money from content. So we completely understand and respect this, and we work with our key trade press titles to deliver them quality content and work out deals that work for both parties, but it is a challenge to now get earned press, compared with 12 months ago.

What are the non-negotiables for you in your business?

A non negotiable, in my business, is working with difficult clients that are unenjoyable to work with! We love all our clients and work with them long term so it helps to have a strong working relationship – and get on with them! And equally we tend now, not to work so much with US clients, simply because of the time zone difference. We prefer working, early in the morning till mid to late afternoon and this just doesn’t work with US clients. We will always work with US clients and APAC clients for our virtual experiences, but not for our PR side of the business.

We know working in PR can be stressful, how do you look after yourself, as well as your clients?

In order to handle stress, my simple solution was to stop drinking alcohol two years ago!  I would recommend this is for anybody looking to be more productive and to feel as calm, healthy and energised as possible. Sobriety is now my stress busting superpower!

What plans do you have for 2021?

My plans for 2021 are to continue to grow our virtual experience business. Also, we are almost at capacity but we always look for clients that we think will fit well within The Digital Voice family, and that we can really be their voice to their target audience.

What advice would you have for someone looking to start a PR career?

My advice for someone looking to start their career in PR, is to be focused, energetic, personable and ensure you’re networking at every opportunity to really get to know the industry, your clients, and your clients’ target audiences as well as you can. 

What motto do you live and work by?

The motto I work to is over-promise and over-deliver. Plus to work fast, hard, and always with a smile on my face!

For our virtual experiences, we are known for being swan-like – above the surface remaining calm and unruffled while we paddle like hell under the surface!

Do check out Julia and her team at The Digital Voice, and if you would like to let us know about your day, get in touch.

Natalie

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