Expectations for a PR Professional in an Agency


Before I began working for an agency, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I know that every agency is different, and MCCI is the first agency I’ve worked at, but I’d like to share some observations I’ve had so far about my experience in agency life. Young professionals, this is what I have learned so far:

  • No day is the same. Every day is different. Yes, you have some routine tasks, but more often than not you are working on different activities for different clients every day. (Tip: Learn how to manage your time and constantly reprioritize. Do this ASAP if you don’t have those skills already.)
  • Communication is key. You and your co-workers will be in constant communication about a client’s status. (Keep in mind that sometimes your client is actually the internal account team, rather than the end client.) This communication is fun because you build a relationship with your colleagues while being productive. While we’re on the subject of communication…
  • There’s a lot of follow-up. Whether it be with a client on getting a press release finalized, or the media in regards to their interest in covering a story for a client. A lot of the time you’re checking in and following up.
  • Food is important. Lots of great relationship-building and business opportunities come about when you’re sharing a meal with someone. Don’t dismiss lunch meetings as unproductive; sometimes the best ideas result from a good conversation while noshing.
  • Constant brainstorming. If you continuously think about what could benefit your clients, your counsel is going to be more effective for them. That could mean identifying additional services, networking opportunities and trade shows they should attend, or creative ads that might differentiate them from their competitors.
  • Work doesn’t stay at the office. Agency life is not a 9-5 job. You’re pretty much wired-in 24/7. It’s really exciting and so long as you manage your time well, you’ll have success both personally and professionally.
  • Learning is eternal. Every client will open your eyes to new industries/visions/processes; and a big part of your job is educating yourself about your clients. Becoming the “instant expert” is key as a thorough understanding of your client will yield better results. Further, it shows you care which in turn helps to strengthen your relationship (and I don’t need to tell you how important this is when it comes time for the next client project or contract renewals).

Those are the first few things that come to mind when I think about agency life. I’d encourage you to job shadow someone at an agency, as well as nonprofit and corporate, and sectors like education, government, health, etc. to get a better idea of what your niche is!