Chris works in the marketing team where no two days are exactly the same in the life of a senior communications assistant.
It’s important in a PR role to always be aware of, and understand, what is happening in our building society, with our competitors and the wider financial services world.
So the first part of my morning is usually spent going through my emails and reading stories on the intranet (website for team members of The Nottingham only) and internet.
One route I have in to relevant stories is via a media monitoring service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to find articles relevant to us – it is a really cool part of my job!
I also check out another email inbox to see if any of my colleagues in our branches have contacted the PR and communications team looking for support. If they have I begin the planning process to give them exactly that.
It is also important for me to catch up with our senior communications manager, social media and content manager, community manager and internal communications manager as often as possible, to see if there is anything I can assist them with.
All of this, combined with my WIP (work in progress) list, helps to shape my day ahead and allows me to prioritise the order in which I need to do things.
However, in a communications role that is not an exact science as something like a media request for information that comes in out of the blue can potentially change the course of the day, and so re-prioritising needs to take place at that point!
I’ve been in this type of role for over 20 years and it works for me because of the variety of skills required (e.g. written, verbal, networking, idea generation), the fascinating blend of the expected and unexpected and the chance I get to meet and talk to many interesting and inspirational people.
Most days I will talk - either face-to-face, over the phone or sometimes by video conference - to people with fantastic stories to tell or interesting information to pass on.
It’s then my job to turn those details into a media release, case study, web content, intranet article or social media words (or all!) depending on what the subject matter is and the audience it is intended for.
I always try to break for lunch - even if it’s just for half an hour or so - to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen and to stretch my legs a little. In the past I skipped breaks for many years and it wasn’t very healthy. I’m really happy to say I now work for an employer that positively encourages colleagues to take a break.
Inevitably there will be at least one meeting in any typical day. Meetings are really important for colleague catch-ups and planning and assessing projects. But the key is trying not to have too many or there’s a risk of not actually getting any work done!
As a team we all work very closely and support others’ work. There are often tight deadlines for all of us in marketing so most days I play a part in the approval process (proof reading something for someone, in simple terms) for a colleague.
This is really interesting as it can mean casting an eye over anything from an e-newsletter to a mortgage broker to a video designed for Facebook, and everything in between.
Most days I will make or receive phone calls for a wide range of reasons. A typical day, for example, may include interviewing a customer for a case study or chatting to our product team to get information for a mortgage media release I’m set to write.
Organisation is key, and I make sure my ‘to do list’ is kept up-to-date daily. As soon as I’m aware of a new task or have an idea it is added and, at the other end of the scale, I delete those that have been completed - which is a very satisfactory feeling indeed!
Towards the end of my working day I check to see if we have had any positive media coverage from media releases sent out previously and, if so, I share these with colleagues in the form of an article on the intranet.
I also double-check that I’ve not missed doing anything that has an immediate deadline and ensure that I know - as far as is possible to do - what the next working day looks like in terms of meetings, calls, priorities, deadlines and so on.
I then head home to see my family, safe in the knowledge I’ve given my job the very best I can (which is all you can ever do) and looking forward to picking up where I’ve left off the next time I’m in.
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