Happy Monday to you, how was your weekend?
Last week one of my clients introduced me to the wonderful world of Asana, and as well as getting my work projects uploaded, I’ve also created a board for my book and it’s looking good! However, there is still a part of me that loves paper and pens, and Lee Simpson, an Account Director, at Fourth Day PR an independent public relations consultancy, is the same.
I really enjoy reading the responses to the questions for my Day in the Life interview series and finding out more about PR professionals across the industry. Just as no two days in PR as the same for any of us, no two PR people are the same and that’s what makes things so exciting and interesting.
I thank Lee for his honest answers, and “lm glad I am not the only one who grapples with coffee and kids in the morning, rather than doing a relaxing yoga class before heading to my desk.
Over to Lee who is going to tell us more about him and his work…..
Fourth Day PR is a boutique PR agency with offices in London, Manchester and Paris plus several other places around the world. The agency has been running for nearly 20 years and specialises in PR for tech companies, primarily in the B2B space. I have been with the agency for just over two years and am based between our offices in London and Manchester.
What does your morning routine look like?
I would love to say that my morning routine included a relaxing form of yoga followed by eating some homemade granola smothered in manuka honey, but the reality is it revolves around my two children (aged 7 and 3). This usually involves a lot of screaming and panic, locating lost reading books or PE kits, and then dragging them off to school. Whilst doing that, I scroll through my emails and Slack (who says men can’t multitask) and check which calls I’ve got coming up that day so I can go home and prepare my Zoom background.
After staging my background, I write a list of everything I need to get done that day. Despite using a multitude of organisational tools, both for Fourth Day marketing activity and client work, I still find hand-writing a list the most efficient, and rewarding, way of planning my day.
Tongue in cheek question, what does a typical day look like for you?
We start off each day with a cross-agency 10-minute Zoom check in. This started at the beginning of the pandemic and has stuck ever since. It’s a great way to stay connected with the team and retain some semblance of office chit-chat. There’s no typical day as such, and most days will involve at least one regular catch-up call with one of my clients, plus some writing (either press releases, comment opportunities or bylines) and calls with the rest of the Fourth Day team. One of my clients is based in California, so I tend to find I dedicate more time to them later in the day when they wake up. Another regular meeting we put in place at the start of the pandemic was Friday drinks at 5pm, which has stuck too!
How have you kept your business on track over the past year and dealt with the impact of COVID?
We are lucky in that we were able to fairly seamlessly switch to remote working (we’ve used Zoom and Slack for ages!). Of course, it has come with its challenges, but we have a great team here and it feels like we’ve all really pulled together over the past 18 months to make it work for us and our clients. This has included supporting our clients if they have pivoted away from anything that has been difficult to do in light of social distancing, such as big industry trade shows being replaced with virtual events.
One of the things we are well-known for is our annual offsites (the last one was in Greece at the beginning of March 2020). So it’s a shame we haven’t been able to do that since and get all of our European offices together.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for PR at the moment?
I suppose the differentiation between what we do and what SEO or link-building agencies do continues to be something we can work on educating clients and prospects about. But also on a practical level, making sure we can continue to build strong contacts with journalists, even when we’re all working remotely, is something we need to work hard to foster.
How do you deal with the stress of your work?
I think trying to be as organised as possible sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. Being able to clearly see all of the tasks you’ve got to complete that day helps to put things into perspective. Oh and alcohol (after work).
What advice would you have for someone looking to start a PR career?
I think there are many different routes into the world of PR. I started out training as an actor in London, before moving to China and working as a TV presenter and in a newsroom. What I would say is, try to keep as informed as you can about the media landscape and changing trends. Twitter is of course great for that, as are local networking events. I was recently part of a journalist and PR speed-dating networking session organised by Vuelio, so following organisations such as these is valuable.
If you would like to take part in this series, get in touch and I would love to know more about you and your work in the PR world.
Have a great week,