I’ve had quite the ride since leaving Cardiff University in 2015, like most graduates I stepped out into the world, seemingly ready for any challenge, only to be taken aback by its size and complexity.
Real life is a daunting prospect, and anyone who tells you otherwise simply doesn’t understand it yet. After receiving my degree I stayed on as cocktail barman/doorman, a truly unique combination which had kept me afloat throughout my studies. It is certain to say I did not think my career in marketing was starting any time soon!
However, it wasn’t until I picked up some freelance copywriting work that I realised my (previously underrated) talent for arranging words in humorous ways could be put to good use. So, I packed up my excuses and set out on life’s great journey with an application for the role of marketing assistant within a city-centre agency.
Fast-forward 7 months to now, a lot as happened, a lot has changed, including my job title! One thing that has remained constant is my focus, marketing to marketers. In short, playing experienced professionals at their own game and to be honest, I love it, so much so I’m going to share with you the trials and tribulations of 24hrs in the life of an agency marketing executive. Strap in.
A Day In The Life: Marketing Executive
7:00 AM – A Rude Awakening
I try to wake up every morning at this time, I know for many modern professionals this is considered a lie in, but I promise I’m trying. I recently had my suspicions confirmed that breakfast is, in fact, just another meal, but since all meals are important I decided to forgive the deception. Usually, I forsake traditional breakfast foods in favour of meat and nuts, with occasional eggs.
Out of the ordinary? Yes. Do you want to be ordinary?…
My morning routine finishes with meditation, stretching and reading if there’s time. I avoid early morning news, as I prefer exposing myself to the horrors of the world once the sun’s past the yard arm. Once this is all done I’m out the door and off to work.
8:45 AM – Proper Prior Preparation Prevents…
A rough ETA, it turns out even pedestrians still suffer the backlash of rush hour traffic from time to time. As soon as I get in I blast through my emails, tidy inbox tidy mind, before consuming the largest cup of coffee I personally have ever seen.
I then spend about an hour trawling through relevant (and often irrelevant) industry content to curate. It’s during this time that I’ll schedule social media posts for the day.
At this point, I’d like to give props to Hootsuite for making my life infinitely less complicated than it could be.
I like to base my schedule on Joe Pulizzi’s 4-1-1 rule of content marketing, for me an important part of being a thought leader is understanding that not all of those thoughts have to be your own, sometimes other people say it better or cover a topic more forensically, I would be doing myself and my readers a disservice not to acknowledge this.
10:00 AM – Time To Grind
This is when the real work starts! Having already completed my research, it’s time to get some words down on the page.
The creative process fascinates me. I have always found writing comes naturally, but when faced with a white page, there’s an ominous sense of “where do I start” which I feel will never leave me, nor do I want it to. As soon as the words start flowing, the sense of relief acts to bolster my efforts, providing drive and clarity by the shedload!
With regard to approach, everyone is unique. My advice, do not try to immediately translate your thoughts to paper, you’ll get lost fast! Start with a skeleton of ideas and a narrative, then build progressively outwards, gradually connecting your thoughts, before you know it you’ll have something really substantial which can then be refined into the finished product.
12:00 PM – The Little Things
I don’t like to write in large blocks unless I’ve hit my ‘flow’. Instead, I prefer to break up sessions with other tasks which focus different areas of my mind. Syndicating content on Medium, commenting on LinkedIn discussion or starting research on a different content project are all quick (relatively) relaxed tasks that help bring value to my work in different ways, all of which I thoroughly recommend to budding marketers.
1:00 PM – A Well Earned Rest
At 1 we lunch, well I do anyway, I’ve found this time helps break up the day best. I don’t do anything special, just a short walk, a wholesome (read as bland) meal and some more reading. I’m currently digging into “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman and thoroughly recommend it for those who are curious about how we think, you’ll learn a few things about yourself.
1:30 PM – Picking Up Where I Left Off
Back to the grindstone, however, a relaxing lunch and a well-deserved break allow me to attack my task with renewed vigour and a fresh viewpoint. I find taking the time to step away can completely revolutionise your perspective on a subject.
At this time I get into the meat of the content, having created my skeleton plan earlier. This “mental refresh” makes it much easier to build momentum, especially when working from a well thought out plan. Again, I can’t stress highly enough how much easier it is to break the work into stages rather than trying to type from start to finish in one sitting!
3:00 PM – Article Aesthetics
This is one of my favourite times of day and is usually accompanied by another vat of “joe”, I know I shouldn’t be I am firmly locked into the caffeine train! By this time the content is finished, for the most part, and it’s time to make the article look pretty. There’s definitely a nack to this and I have noticed visible improvements in the quality of my articles as my experience grows.
For those who are interested, we use a combination of Affinity Designer and Freepik.com to create our images, I personally have found these more than capable of producing high quality, branded graphics that are consistently relevant to the subject areas. A marketing dream.
4:00 PM – The Final Push
As the day draws to a close, I like to use this time to trawl through some data, seeing if I can glean any insight. Adwords, analytics, LeadForensics, social analytics, you name it, I’ve become slightly obsessed with progression over the last year, and, whilst I was always quite good with numbers, I can always be better, and this hour every day is depositing money in that bank account… so to speak.