A Day in the Life of: Ben Liwanag, Account Associate
As news breaks and we work to tell our clients’ stories, my days are always different. In fact, the only constant in my work week seems to be a morning cup of coffee, Taylor Swift on repeat and a delayed L train packed full of antsy commuters.
At Highwire I’ve had the opportunity to consistently level up and take on more strategic and advanced tasks, all thanks to the help of team members willing to mentor and guide me through the process. But for those interested in my day-to-day responsibilities, fret not. Every campaign, proactive pitch and rapid response release have their similarities.
I would break my role as an intern and now account associate into three different categories: content, media relations and being the team’s media maven in the making. These three main roles allow me to help the team stay #AlwaysWired and #AlwaysWinning. So, mom, I’ve decided to answer your questions about my job for the future Highwire Walkers and curious cats on the web.
“You read the news a lot. What’s going on in the world?”
Fortunately for my coworkers, I stay up-to-date on more than just Taylor Swift news. A core component of my job is to constantly read the news and understand what reporters are writing about and broad trends that affect our clients. I have to be the first to catch breaking news.
There are a few different things that this news monitoring results in, the main action being news scans that ranging from daily to bi-weekly and weekly. I’m responsible for compiling anything relevant to our client, whether it is a new product launch from a competitor or new industry data. These news scans are shared internally and directly with our clients, and give us a broader look at the news cycle and what actions we need to take from a media standpoint. Besides being a client deliverable, it’s an important task that gives me an extra edge in the core component of my job, media relations.
“What does pitching mean?”
Brilliant songwriting is at the heart of any Taylor Swift song, just as media relations is the heart of my day-to-day role. Broadly speaking, I’d narrow this down to three core components that I particularly work on; creating media lists, drafting pitches (story ideas) and pitching (sharing with reporters).
The key to any successful media campaign is finding the right reporters to tell your stories, and that is where media lists come into play. Whether it be curating old lists, incorporating reporters from news scans or identifying a reporter for an exclusive, spending time on media lists is critical to the success of any media campaign.
Additionally, spending time talking to reporters and sharing our news is another integral part of my role. Reporters will always say “tell me why.” Pitch writing is how we answer that question. Because we never want to copy and paste, either a teammate or myself will then draft a pitch outline with “the meat” of the narrative in it.
This is then where I spend most of my time adding the personal touches and some ideas that will most likely pique the specific reporters’ interest. News scans are especially helpful in letting me tailor each pitch to a reporter, because they allow me to really see what reporters are interested in. While this can be challenging, it’s the biggest part of the work I do. It’s also the most rewarding, especially seeing the work I do in the media.
“What’s a byline?”
I define public relations as storytelling. Part of how we tell clients’ stories is through bylines — basically a contributed article on a specific topic. While I’m not an expert in cloud computing or debt consolidation, my clients are. As an account associate, I regularly team up with client executives to help compile their thoughts and expertise into a meaningful story.
On any given day, you can find me researching different topics to help showcase my clients’ expertise, looking at how the team can speak to a given topic to meet business goals or on the phone learning more about how they see a specific topic. From here is where the magic happens, known as byline writing. While the process can be tedious, it’s an exciting aspect of public relations that plays a big role in clients’ communications strategy.
“What’s coming up that you’re working on?”
Well, mom, this is a question I’ll have to save for another time – I can’t give away any spoilers, but what I’m working on now will be in tech news headlines soon. But for the future Highwire Walkers and PR pros, this is just a snapshot of my role at Highwire. Every day is filled with new opportunities, another media list and keeping up with the news. And for those interested in PR, I know places where you can truly be a part of something different.