A day in the life of a PR start up in 2001

This month, Approach PR is celebrating it’s 18th birthday! Approach started as a freelance operation in the Gomersal home of our MD, Suzanne Watson, who set out to find the right work-life balance. Here, Suzanne looks back at what a typical day in the life of a PR start up looks like in 2001.

Ananova, contact sheets, faxes and phones – a day in the life of Suzanne Watson 18 years ago

My day starts with a trip to nursery and those glorious 15 mins in the car with my 18-month-old daughter Melissa, singing together. Her song of the moment is “daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow” which I sing at her while she bobs her head around clumsily repeating the word zoo, zoo, zoo….

Once she’s dropped off it’s down to my very small, windowless office on Balme Road in Cleckheaton. There’s enough room for four people however – although right now there’s just me – and I’ve got my own small meeting room so there’s everything I need to operate. And I’ve made great friends with the business along the corridor Betech 100 Ltd who very kindly let me borrow their photocopier so I can create my all-important cuttings books and portfolio presentations for new business meetings.

Once my coffee is made the day is spent writing press releases for my clients Baxi, ntl and doing my first bit of free work for the National Eczema Society.

As an eczema sufferer, I’ve long been frustrated by how lack lustre I feel their awareness raising is so I’ve volunteered to do all of the PR for this year’s National Eczema Week for a couple of hundred pounds. Just to show how it could be done!

Today my case studies and launch press release have been approved so I’ve called on my mum to come in and help me fax the press release out to all of the national media and my contacts on the regional press.

Ananova is a new online news service that I send our information out to but my main focus is newspapers. And I’m incredibly lucky that my good friend and former journalism colleague Emma Clayton has just joined the T&A and has agreed to run a feature on me and my own experience of eczema as part of my campaign.

Emails are quite useful at the moment, although almost all of my client communication is by phone. I probably spend about 70% of my time calling clients, journalists and dealing with trade magazines to book colour separations.

I’ve just had a contact sheet delivered in the post from a photographer who shot the press photos of a local child with his winning Bradford Flag artwork. It’s for a campaign I created for my client where local children were invited to design a flag for the city. We tied its unveiling and hoisting up the flagpole in with the Bradford Christmas Lights Switch On with none other than…. Gareth Gates right here in Bradford’s Centenery Square! Gareth was brilliant, posing with our winner – he’s quite the man of the moment and we’ve been watching him audition on Pop Idol. We’re all rooting for him to win in the live finals next year.

Next is an hour at the photo copier to copy all of my past beds and sleep-focussed PR results for a new business pitch in Mirfield next week. There’s a lot riding on it so I want to show off my current and past experience the best I can. Once the cuttings are copied, I know it’ll be another couple of hours putting them all into the plastic sheets of my portfolio folder.

Before I know it, it’s 5pm and time to shut the computers down, put the answerphone on and switch off the fax and printer. Then it’s a short drive back through Cleckheaton to nursery to collect a tired but happy Melissa and another rendition of daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow, all the way home… Perhaps as it’s Friday tomorrow and my official day off, that’s just what we’ll do!

For more updates on Approach through the years, head to our Twitter @Approach_pr!