By Brett Zielke
Life at a public relations agency can be hectic, with numerous clients and competing deadlines, it requires expert time management and late nights to stay one step ahead of it all. A consultant needs to be able to work cohesively within large and small teams, and this can often be no small feat. All of this can be a true test of one’s patience, and for some it can be too much chaos to handle.
For Kelsey Marklund, this is all part of what makes agency life so enjoyable. Marklund, a Mount Royal University grad from the Public Relations program, is a senior account executive on the earned media team at Edelman Public Relations. She feels that “getting to work on so many different clients in so many different industries is a part of what keeps agency life so engaging.”
The earned media team at Edelman, the agency’s specialty name for traditional media relations, engages with traditional national and local media, such as the Calgary Herald, in order to help clients secure media coverage. “What we learned from the Edelman Trust Barometer was trust in traditional media was on the decline but has begun to see a bounce back, in particular with local, reputable publications. If you can get clients coverage from one of those outlets, it can do a lot for them.”
A huge part of her day to day revolves around keeping up to date on what’s currently happening in Calgary and pitching stories to get clients coverage for their various campaigns. As such, it means she has to be on top of it all starting first thing in the morning through to the end of the day.
A self-described “Breakfast Television nerd,” her day starts with the program to get a good idea of what’s going on before she gets to the office and keeps an eye on the Twitter feeds of major local news outlets throughout the day. “If we’re pitching a story that day, it’s important to have your pitches ready to go first thing in the morning in order to beat the morning newsroom meetings, and it’s important to know what’s going on in that news cycle.”
Being a strong writer is incredibly important for an earned media consultant, and when she’s not actively doing pitches or call downs, a large part of Marklund’s role includes plenty of that. “If I’m not pitching stories, I’ll be developing key messages, or pitch notes, press releases – a lot of writing. That was actually why I wanted to get into the field in the first place, was because I enjoy creative writing; it’s always been one of my strengths.”
While the multiple demands of agency life can be exhausting, Marklund believes these challenges offer many opportunities for her to grow quickly and expand her experience into different aspects of communications, and different life experiences as well. “There are so many different industries and different things to learn, and with a company as big as Edelman, there are also sometimes opportunities to change cities while still staying with the same company.”