Maybe you’ve never worked at a PR agency. Or perhaps you started your career at an agency, moved client side, and are now considering a return to agency life. Either way, making a move to a top PR agency can have a tremendously positive impact on your career growth, but there are also a few things to consider. As someone who has held multiple positions at agencies, and spent several years as a PR manager at a technology company, I’m here to put a stake in the ground and declare my love for agency life.
If you’ve never worked at a PR agency, the biggest benefit to making the move is that you’ll be surrounded by peers. They get you. The teams here at SHIFT excel at PR and integrated communications. We are also word nerds, pun lovers and data geeks at heart. Did I mention we hold agency-wide, snack-fueled brainstorming sessions to ensure we deliver the best ideas to clients, and the most opportunity for PR pros to sharpen their skills?
Moving to a top PR agency means you’ll have the opportunity to widen your breadth of knowledge across multiple sectors and develop relationships with journalists and influencers across a wide swath of media. You’ll also gain access to emerging tools and technologies within PR and integrated communications.
Before you make the jump, here are important questions to ask potential employers to be certain it’s the right fit for both you and the agency:
How many accounts will I be on?
This is the most important question. Before taking a position, understand what the expectations are for account load. Will you be on 4-5 accounts or 8-10?
Will I join a specific practice group at the PR agency?
When joining an agency, you’ll want to know what type of clients you’ll be servicing. Do you have experience in B2B tech but want to broaden your knowledge to consumer clients? Conversely, are you a healthcare expert and want to ensure that your focus will remain solely on healthcare clients? Understanding the agency and the team structure will help you understand what types of clients to expect during your agency tenure.
Are there professional development opportunities?
Does the PR agency have a formalized training program? This is especially important if you are relatively new to the field and want to develop a well-rounded skillset for everything from media relations to trade show best practices, integrated campaigns and measurement.
What are the requirements for securing new business?
If you are coming on as an account manager or above, take the time to understand what the agency will expect from you as part of the new business process. Does the PR agency source leads and then have the appropriate team pitch potential clients, or will your success at the agency be, in part, measured by how many new leads you bring in and how many new clients you win?