Senior Account Executive, Kaitlin Jarvis perfectly embodies PR. She is a consummate storyteller who understands how to connect a client's message with a reporter's beat to deliver media coverage that hits the mark. Kaitlin is also a creative designer who translates brand messages into visual content that converts calls to action. Kaitlin has worked in both the consumer and B2B categories, from global tire brands and top automotive Concours to home and garden products.
Kaitlin has been with Brandware since 2016. We recently asked her a few questions about her experience. Here's what she had to say.
Kaitlin, what is your typical workday?
I spend the first 30-45 minutes of my day catching up on any emails that came through since the previous workday. I review the day’s headlines in my clients' industries and read the morning’s HARO inquiries. I send any relevant news to my clients, such as competitor announcements or some new industry research they should be aware of.
Then, I shift my focus to pitching the media. I try to dedicate at least two hours solely to media relations each day – this way I can reconnect with journalists I haven’t spoken to in a while, snag a new opportunity for a client, or inquire about what editors are looking for so I can adapt my pitches accordingly.
Next, I focus on pending deadlines – from writing recommendations to completing research. After lunch if I don’t have a client call, I shift my focus to any creative tasks I have, including developing social media content, editing videos or designing infographics.
At the end of the day, I make my to-do list for the next morning. I scan the headlines one more time to see if anything new I need to jump on has popped up. I also look at any coverage has come up for a client.
What is the most surprising thing about your work?
The difference in work across industries is always so surprising to me. I work in the automotive and home and outdoors spaces, but when I talk with my colleagues who work on B2B and Financial Services, I’m a student again. It’s so cool to think you can spend 20+ years in this industry and still be so new, so fresh in different categories. Add the speed of change in our industry, and the need for constant education (not continued) and you can see why it's so exciting.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is I get to play both sides of the aisle in today’s public relations industry. I’m both a media relations specialist and a creative designer. Our agency allows every employee to pave their own path in the industry. I was always frustrated with other agencies that have silos of creatives and media relations specialists. At Brandware, I am both!
Where do you see PR headed?
I think we are going to see a vast change in the way we communicate with consumers on behalf of brands. Algorithms and other tools are making it harder for us to reach audiences, and at the same time consumers are growing weary of advertisements, news articles and even influencers. At a time when consumers are asking for honesty and transparency, they are feeling deceived more than ever.
In all your past experiences, what’s been the greatest influence?
A mentor once told me you never have a problem – you have a challenge. Too many times, PR pros treat everything like a crisis, despite the first paragraph of any crisis plan defining what a crisis is and is not. Nearly 50% of the job is your mind. If you approach everything like a challenge, a competition if you will, then "problems" are no longer negative – they're opportunities.
How do you stay on top of this ever-changing industry?
I go back to college, literally! I’ve stayed in touch with most of my professors and classmates. When it comes to an update on Adobe Creative Suite, I get in touch with a professor who teaches the program to students. When it comes to new guidelines in the industry or best practices, I get with my friends from college and learn what they’re doing. One person can only go to (and pay for) so many conferences – when you learn from your colleagues, it’s so much more exciting than a webinar!
What does it mean to you to be competitive?
For me, being competitive means getting that story in a top tier publication, which seems like a very traditional approach to PR. With so much of the news turning to paid placements, securing a earned coverage is still the top success barometer and it is getting more difficult to achieve.
How do you spend your free time?
Obsessing over my dogs takes top priority – follow our adventures on Instagram - @RingoandMurphy. Tricks, treats and trails are our favorite ways to spend our free time. I also spend an extraordinary amount of time reading books on psychology – Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors.
What’s your favorite 90s music?
NSYNC all the way. I cried when they reunited for Justin Timberlake’s MTV award in 2013.