In the world of Public Relations (PR), an Account Executive is the person in charge of creating, projecting, and maintaining the image of their employer or client as they want it to be perceived by the media, be it printed, broadcasted, or online. Their job consists on crafting, polishing, and manufacturing a public image for their clients, tending to how they portray themselves, and assisting them in avoiding scandals.
PR Account Executives are usually employed by PR firms that offer their services to artists and other public figures. They can also be found in companies and industries big enough to have their own PR department.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks PR Account Executives are required to complete.
- Managing client accounts, several at once in some cases, looking to provide their clients with the best media exposure possible:
- Meeting with clients to better identify their objectives and target audience and to go over their PR strategies;
- conducting market research to find out the needs, habits, and personality traits of the clients’ audiences;
- developing PR strategies and campaigns, considering their clients’ goals and opportunities, as well as their needs and budget;
- presenting proposals to clients for their review and approval;
- keeping clients up-to-date on new promotional opportunities and on the progress of their current PR campaigns by monitoring media coverage and reporting back to their clients via email, over the phone, and through presentations;
- acting as the liaison between the client and the PR agency, as well as speaking to the media and general public on their behalf; and
- managing various other elements of successful PR campaigns, such as press releases and interviews.
- Ensuring their client is always depicted in the most positive way, doing damage control in cases of scandals and controversies, if necessary.
- Attending networking and media events, as well as meetings with clients, suppliers, and partner organizations.
- Liaising with business partners and other agencies.
- Cultivating relationships and liaising with influential contacts in the press and broadcast media.
- Keeping up-to-date with all issues that affect their client and with the latest industry developments:
- Preventing or responding to negative media coverage.
- Ensuring compliance with the agency’s bylaws, regulations, policies, and procedures.
- Discussing PR strategies and plans with their clients to better identify their needs.
- Designing and presenting a PR campaign, as well as its aim, schedule, and budget to the client for approval.
- Promoting a positive image of the client and handling negative publicity efficiently.
- Keeping clients updated during every stage of the campaign.
- Drafting reports for clients and employers.
- Being the link between the client and the agency.
The average Account Executive salary is $77,469 per year or $40 per hour. This is around 2.4 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $54,000 while most experienced workers make up to $108,000. These results are based on 218 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding creativity and sense of initiative.
- The desire to ensure client satisfaction.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment between the clients and the agency;
- having outstanding listening skills in order to comply with the clients’ requirements;
- being able to cultivate and maintain strong ties with the media;
- being able to work both independently and as part of a team;
- being able to deal with a diverse group of people in potentially adversarial situations using a calm, polite, tactful, discreet, and effective approach;
- being able to write press releases and make presentations; and
- being confident while giving presentations and pitches to the client.
- Organizational and time management skills, ability to prioritize and plan effectively:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- coping with pressure and working to tight deadlines; and
- being organized enough to run several events and handle several clients at the same time.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner exercising good judgment and critical thinking;
- being a clear thinker, especially when dealing with the media; and
- using good judgment in what they report and how they report it.
- Trustworthy enough to manage sensitive/confidential information.
The educational requirements for applicants include possessing a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Communication, Journalism, Marketing, or Advertising. This is a quite competitive market where aspiring candidates are often required to possess practical knowledge of the field, as well as between 2 and 5 years of experience in this line of work. Internships are open for undergraduate students and they serve as an excellent way to obtain the necessary background they are going to need later when applying for a job.
The field of Public Relations is quite dynamic and there are plenty of opportunities for career development and advancement. Individuals displaying high levels of competitiveness, reliability, and determination may be eligible for promotions. Account Executives may choose to specialize in one of the many industries that require their services, whether it be entertainment and leisure or business.
The workload of a PR Account Executive is often very standard at entry-level jobs. They usually work 40 hours a week on a 9-to-5 basis, Monday through Friday. However, as workers are promoted and they scale up the professional tiers, more and more responsibilities may be placed upon them, thus, increasing their working hours. In some cases, they are expected to work extra hours or be on call during weekends when a special project or client requires them to do so.