Test Drive My Job: Aerial Ellis
Soon after I got my twitter account, I began following Aerial Ellis. Her profile intrigued me because she was a.) a cool looking brown girl like myself, b.) doing some interesting PR work and c.) living in Nashville-my hometown! I have love for anyone who is living and working in “the ‘Ville” and contributing to its evolution as a truly world-class city. So many people don’t know about the many treasures of Nashville, but that’s another blog post all together.
Miss Ellis is definitely one to watch as she’s only 26, and is already running her own successful shop in Nashville. This definitely won’t be the last time you see her name.
Aerial M. Ellis
City: Nashville, TN
What are your typical work hours? A typical range of work hours for me could be from 5am until midnight or later. Lately I’ve been attempting to end my day by 10 pm, although that doesn’t always work.
Describe a typical work day.Honestly, my days can be quite unpredictable but I’ll give it a shot…A typical work day begins by reading tons of emails on my Blackberry. Once I get to a computer, I send and answer more emails and check news clips for client coverage. I check in with clients at some point then respond to any requests from editors, producers and journalists as a result of sending pitches or press releases. Throughout the day, I monitor the execution of any PR campaigns we’re conducting at the time, making sure anything is on schedule and conceptualized creatively. At any given moment, I may get a call from a fellow PR colleague to discuss a project, a returning client needing more help or a prospective client requesting a proposal.Many of my clients and colleagues IM me so we chat about business several times a day.
Describe your office environment: Do you work from a busy office in the city, do you work mainly from home/a coffeeshop? Do you like working this way?Initially, I worked from home and some of my favorite coffee shops & bookstores. Then a colleague/mentor who was also working from home suggested we move into an office and share the space. I prefer working from an office. While I enjoy the freedom and comfort of working from home, I do like the structure and flexibility an office provides. I feel more comfortable holding meetings in an office instead of at Starbucks or my living room.
How many co-workers/employees do you have? How do you best collaborate with your team (standard board room meetings, conference calls, BaseCamp or other project management tool, etc.) 1 full-time (me), 1 part-time and 2 interns…We do a lot of team conversations. Everyone knows that can call or email me anytime if they need anything. We chat on Gmail almost everyday because we are not all in the same city or able to meet daily. We also have monthly conference calls where I provide an agenda and we recap all client activity for the month and talk about upcoming assignments.
What types of clients does your company work with and what services do you provide? What’s a recent project you worked where you delivered results you’re proud of? We service small businesses and non profit organizations by building a foundation for growth through PR/Marketing tactics. Occasionally we work with corporations and other PR firms on entertainment, beauty, fashion and sports related projects.
We represent Sheg Aranmolate, a finalist from the ABC reality show, Oprah’s Big Give, who wrote his first book, iACTUATE:100 Days of Inspiration, loosely based on experiences from the show. We were really proud of the results gained from the publicity campaign for Sheg’s book.
We began with a release party for the book which was a huge success. Then we arranged national appearances, interviews with numerous publications and TV shows and got great book reviews. Sheg is a really good speaker and knows how to engage audiences so we scheduled book signings and speaking engagements before a variety of audiences.
What are your favorite things about what you do? Great question. My favorite thing about what I do is that there is never a dull moment. Personally, I’ve always been afraid of boredom so this job suites me just fine. But most importantly, I enjoy leveraging my expertise to help others reach their goals. Seeing the spark in a client’s eye when they read an article about their business that we helped to get placed or when we tell a client their company has been selected for a huge project based on a partnership we forged on their behalf is my absolute favorite thing. It’s very fulfilling.
What do you wish was different at your job? There’s not much I wish could be different about my job. I do wish, however, that we had a few more interns and staff who were dependable, open to all assignments and meet deadlines. I also wish I could travel with our clients a bit more.
Do you see yourself in this job in 5 years? If not, where do you see yourself? Absolutely. In five years, I see myself having positioned the company to be among the top 100 PR firms established to take on an impressive list of clients as well as international projects. I also hope to create small specialty firms under one parent company.
Can you offer any other pertinent info that would give someone a good feel for your job? In PR, writing is king. Good writing skills are key. Not just for grammar or content, but also for style. I would say that the best way to get a good feel for a PR job is try it before you totally devote your career to it. PR can be very time consuming and jobs in the industry are very competitive.
Research the industry. Learn the details of PR writing and strategies. Discover if there are specific areas of PR you’d like to focus on and whether you’d like to work for yourself, a PR firm or department. Hone your skills and always be prepared to learn new things. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it!