Top 5 lessons for PR account managers

Are you a PR account manager or busting to make that next step? A recent Account Management Boot Camp course run by the incredible Amanda Little explored a broad spectrum of topics including client relationships, agency economics, budgets, time management, working with others and giving feedback.

Here are the top five PR lessons for budding account managers.

Client Liaison, not the band
Work on developing and nurturing your client relationships. Getting to know your clients both inside and outside work hours is essential to building a strong foundation and helps to soften the blow of delivering bad news when it’s due (because, let’s face it, it’s gonna happen).

Money, honey
Agency economics sound like a bore but understanding what ‘billable’ vs. ‘non-billable’ time is crucial to being an account manager. All time spent on client work is billable. All time spent on winning new business is non-billable. Internal management of staff as well as internal administration also fall into the non-billable scope too.

Mastering procrastination, among other foolish things
Time management is one of the most important skills for an agency PR. Your day is filled with myriad tasks and they fall into four quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1 (urgent, important): crises, problems, deadlines
  • Quadrant 2 (not urgent, important): planning, prevention, relationships, training
  • Quadrant 3 (urgent, not important): urgent without impact, interruptions, many emails and meetings
  • Quadrant 4 (not urgent, not important): surfing the net, trivia, time wasters, procrastinating

It’s important to recognise which tasks fit where, ensure you’re not spending all of your time in quadrant three and four, and master prioristing.

The opposite of a to-do list
Using the quadrants as a guide, mark where you believe most of your time goes (hands up quadrant 4). It’s confronting for all involved but a good wakeup call to focus time and energy on quadrant 2, share among 1 and 3 and do as little of 4 as possible.

Then create a ‘stop to-do list’. This is a list of things you’ll stop doing (checking emails each time one comes through; procrastination etc.). Good luck!

Managing Up
Providing immediate feedback when things are both right and wrong is a key part of any account manager’s role. The emotional intelligence side of management involves understanding how people around you are feeling and how to tailor your management style to suit each individual. Here’s a great article on ways you can manage people effectively.

Amanda Little’s AM boot camp is run regularly in Sydney, click here to find out more. Amanda is the former managing director of both Hill and Knowlton and Edelman PR agencies and has more than 20 years of experience in PR consulting. She holds a BA in communication and MBA from the University of Technology Sydney and teaches at university and TAFE as well as running PR boot camps.