Why I Love Mondays
Martina Quinn is an Account Director at DHR Communications. She joined the company in 2007, in the role of Account Manager.
Company: DHR Communications is a full-service communications practice. The services it offers can be classified under three main headings: public relations; public affairs; and project management.
Job description: Basically, my job is to raise the profile of the organisations with which we work. This can involve straightforward PR tasks like developing and implementing media relations campaigns; organising media events, such as photocalls and press conferences; writing press materials; and liaising with journalists. For clients with a public affairs focus, it can also involve arranging meetings with key politicians and policymakers; engaging with relevant stakeholder groups; and providing advice on how to strengthen relationships with target audiences.
We also deliver project management services for a number of clients. Projects I work on range from nationwide student competitions to public consultations; music gigs, festivals and other large public events; funding schemes; marketing campaigns; and social media projects.
Social media is an increasingly important part of my work. We’re also always available to clients to advise them on crisis communications. Emerging developments often come to our attention through social media sites. Or negative comments left on a client’s Facebook page or Twitter profile can lead to them calling us for some crisis communications advice.
Likes: What I like most about my job is working on projects that make a positive difference to Irish society. It gives me a great sense of job satisfaction to think I’m helping make a difference – even if it’s in a very small way. Another thing I really like is that no two days are the same. I also really like the growing focus on social media and online news outlets, which has impacted significantly on the PR industry.
Career ladder: I worked in Fine Gael National Headquarters when I finished college. One of my duties there was to assist in overhauling the party’s website in advance of the 2004 local and European elections. That was my first taste of working online on a day-to-day basis, and I really liked it – it was the first time I learned about content management systems, and saw how easy it can be to update websites and generate content online. Since then, pretty much every job I’ve had has had a strong focus on using online tools.
I also worked as a journalist and editor with Public Affairs Ireland. My duties were to write and edit content for a bi-monthly public affairs journal, and to produce a weekly email bulletin. At the same time, I was doing freelance journalism work for a number of different sectoral publications, such as Council Review, Health & Safety Times and Emergency Services Ireland.
Before I joined DHR Communications, I was Communications Officer with AONTAS, the national adult learning charity. In addition to managing media relations, I was responsible for the organisation’s online presence.
I joined DHR Communications as an Account Manager in 2007. I was coming from a non-profit organisation, and a lot of DHR’s clients are not-for-profits, so it was a natural fit. I never really expected to end up working in PR, but the mix of advocacy and media work that DHR Communications offers really appeals to me.
Qualifications: BA in Journalism from Dublin City University.
Working hours: Working in PR means you have to be available to your clients pretty much all of the time. My day starts at about 8.30am, when I check my emails on the way to work. I’m usually in the office by 9am, and could be there quite late at night, depending on what’s happening in any given week. We do some night-time events, and also a good bit of work at weekends. And I need to be available to take calls or respond to urgent emails – from clients or from the media – pretty much at any time.
Breaktime: My working day is busy, so I generally eat lunch at my desk and I’m not great for taking breaks throughout the day. I try to be organised enough to bring my lunch into the office from home. If that fails, I go to Manning’s on Thomas Street in Dublin 8, our local deli, for a take-away sandwich. Occasionally, I’ll meet a friend in town, or go out for lunch with colleagues or clients.
Social media credentials: First thing in the morning, I’ll check my emails on my iPhone and will glance at Facebook – and maybe Twitter. Once I get to the office, the first websites I open are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I leave these sites open all day – I’ll keep an eye on them throughout the day to see if there’s any breaking news I should be aware of, or any other items of interest or of relevance to our clients. If I’m out of the office at a photocall or client event, I’ll live-tweet from the venue and upload photographs to the DHR Facebook page and Twitter account – and possibly to the client’s social media sites too.
LinkedIn.com/company/dhr-communications and http://ie.linkedin.com/in/martinaquinn for networking and also to find out sectoral news – I’m a member of lots of PR, communications and social media groups on LinkedIn. I’ve also recently started to use Google+, and plan to become more acquainted with that in the coming months.
News sources: I get a huge amount of my news through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I follow news sites like TheJournal.ie and Broadsheet.ie on Facebook. I get the email versions of The Irish Times and Metro Herald delivered to my inbox each morning, so I’ll have a glance at the headlines on those, and I regularly refer to RTE.ie, IrishTimes.com, Examiner.ie and various other Irish news sites over the course of the day. I also subscribe to a number of blogs that are of relevance to my work – and to the work of our clients. SiliconRepublic is great for Irish tech news, as are Digital Times and TechCentral.ie. To keep up with international developments, I follow blogs like Spin Sucks, Social Media Examiner, PR News and PR at Sunrise. And I also subscribe to a number of different bulletins from BrandRepublic.com.
Obviously, working in PR, it’s really important to keep up with traditional media too – the radio is always on in the background throughout the day and we have a selection of daily newspapers in the office, as well as magazines, specialist publications and local newspapers.
Onsite or offsite: My job involves lots of meetings outside of the office, which I like. I usually have a couple of off-site meetings every day. There’s also a fair amount of travel involved in my role. Lots of our clients have a nationwide remit.
Digital strategy/vision: The PR and communications sectors will continue to become more and more influenced by digital media in the coming years. So my main priority is to keep abreast of emerging trends and figure out how best to use new social media and online tools to promote our clients’ work. I would also like to see more of our clients proactively embracing social media. A surprising amount of organisations are still fearful about using Facebook or Twitter or other online tools. Or they feel that, given their limited resources, they simply don’t have the staff available to maintain an effective social media presence.
I love Mondays because: I love Mondays because, generally, I try to get any outstanding work cleared on a Friday evening or (if it has to be done!) over the weekend. So, usually, come Monday morning, I feel I’m starting with a clean slate and a very manageable ‘to do’ list. Unfortunately, though, this quite often doesn’t go to plan!