J O B ~ D E S C R I P T I O N S

Publicist or AE Job Descriptions

Publicists or AEs are the writer/creator people I've spoken of so frequently. Their job is to create the materials for each campaign, execute the campaigns, and document the results. Junior staff won't be involved in designing the campaigns, or the procedures used to execute them, or the documents used to measure them. Their job is to follow the patterns established by management while gaining experience, building a good set of contacts, and refining the techniques used to get the job done. Senior staff should be able to draft proposals, modify existing campaigns, design new ones, establish new procedures when old ones aren't working, and come up with new ways of measuring effectiveness. Here are some typical job description elements:

* Determining Proper Campaign for Each Project

* Designing the Campaigns (and Developing New Campaign Strategies)

* E-Mail News Releases

- writing e-mail news releases

- selecting media to receive releases

- overseeing reply processing

- handling any complaints

- following-up leads; turning media interest into coverage

* Discussion Group Postings

- writing postings

- approving list of discussion groups generated by support staff

- handling any complaints

- building relationships with discussion group moderators

* Article Syndication

- writing articles or editing them for use online

- preparing articles in text, word, and HTML formats

- writing a good pitch letter

- work with support staff to pitch potential sites and document placements

* Chat Tours, Seminars, Workshops, and Online Events

- briefing the guests; guest relations

- building the chat profile or seminar pitch page

- setting-up seminar structure: programming listserver, registration procedures, welcome letter

- pitching hosts and securing partner sites

- coordination among hosts, moderators, and ghost typists

- creating support files and distributing to partner sites

- insuring venues install promotional materials and documenting placements

- publicizing events using news releases, calendar listings, discussion group postings, and adding the schedule to the company web site

- troubleshooting event-day problems

- transcripts: requesting permission to use, capturing, cleaning, distributing, and archiving.

* Documenting All Campaigns and Assembling Good Case Files

* Improving Templates for Commonly-Used Documents

* Liaison to America Online, MSN, CompuServe and Other Services

For Agency Publicists

Agency publicists have selling responsibilities in addition to the duties described above. This mostly involves helping draft proposals and being present at pitch meetings. Some of the selling work will be borne by the department manager or a business development person. However, I strongly feel that AEs and publicists should be responsible for bringing in new work from existing clients. For some reason, most of the publicists I have worked with dislike selling and aren't very good at it. I've tried correcting this problem with training, and adding compensation incentives, and that's helped somewhat.

Monetary compensation hasn't worked very well as a motivator. Sometimes other incentives work better, such as a bigger travel budget and paying for attendance at more conventions and trade shows--but only if they bring back business. I've realized that some very good publicists will never be good sales people, and I suppose that's why we're cursed with business development people who are good at sales but don't understand the services or the clients. In an agency environment, I think you have to move non-selling AEs out of house (hopefully, over to the client side), and keep hiring new AEs until you find ones that can handle the work and sell. These golden AEs are worth retaining at almost any cost, and are the clay from which future managers are made.

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