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Starting the day with a superhero

The day always starts with a discussion about superheroes for Gary Jenkins, co-owner of No Brainer, a PR, social and content marketing agency based in Warrington, Cheshire.

My Day

6am: My six-year-old son jumps on my bed and we talk about superheroes, Star Wars and Liverpool FC. My two daughters, aged 10 and 9, hear us and come and sit on the bed. It’s the best part of my day. I know how lucky I am to have this and how little time it will last. No matter how busy I am, they have my undivided attention first thing, always.

7am: After setting the world to rights, my wife and kids get ready for work/school and I scan the news sites (BBC, Guardian, Sky etc), then Twitter and Facebook – first for me, then for all of our clients. I need to know what the day may hold and we love a bit of editorial hijacking at No Brainer. Being on ball with the fast-moving news agenda can deliver some genuinely amazing results. If you have young kids you also know how important that first shower is to help wake you up!

8am: While the kids eat breakfast, I scan my emails. It’s always an amazingly productive 15 minutes. I get to clean out my inbox, delete the spam and prioritise my thoughts/actions for the day. Running a young start-up can be busy; it relies on you being on the top of your game always. And there’s a lot to do today...

8.45am: I issue a news release for a client of ours. I set it up the night before so all I need to do is press the button. I give the heads-up to our key contacts and brief them on another story coming tomorrow.

9.15am: I call a furniture maker about desks for our new offices, which we move into next week. Can’t wait! I call the owner of the building we’re moving into to let him know we’re measuring up on Bank Holiday Monday. I swapped 8/8/8 days for 24-hour days long ago.

9.30am: Our website launches today! We spread the word on social and can start to activate our own converged content strategy for No Brainer. It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally found time to practice what we preach to ourselves. 

10am: I check the company’s finances and chase up outstanding invoices. I don’t like this bit, but it’s an essential when you don’t have a finance team of your own. I check over an employment contract that needs signing later today (again, no legal or HR team to help with that!)

10.15am: I confirm our table of 10 for the PRCA Dare Awards in Manchester. We’re shortlisted for New Consultancy of the Year (North). And I book a table at the Warrington Business Awards. As my business partner Lee says, we need to “own our patch”. Being shortlisted for start-up of the year is a good start.

10.30am: Client work starts in earnest…I’ll bullet point this, so as not to bore you (some of this is quite random, but if you work in PR/content marketing you probably don’t live the same day twice either!):

  • Prepare Q&As for a “major politician” (I’m not allowed to name him at the time of writing by order of HM’s Government) who is attending a CSR programme session we’ve organised for two of our clients.
  • I write stories about a new exhibition one of our clients is launching as well as a series of mystery plague doctor sightings linked to it, a story on new jobs being created by another, the signing of a major new partnership for another and develop some research questions and potential news angles for another.
  • Follow up calls for two new potential campaigns we’ve pitched to clients of ours – one’s a goer (result!), one we’ll have to wait longer for.
  • I call 123-Reg – it is having a nightmare with its hosting of our websites and emails – on hold for 20 minutes but I work throughout otherwise it’s dead time.
  • I prep for a call we have later with a new client of ours who has just given us our first brief. We’ve been in intense negotiations recently, but we’re finally over the line (PO confirmed just now). I’m really excited about what this might lead to.
  • Agenda written for a meeting on Tuesday with our biggest client.

12.30pm: We sign up our first new member of staff! It’s a big day for us, but employment contracts are signed and exchanged over a cuppa. Steve is joining us from the BBC to be head of news and content, so it’s a big coup for us.

1.15pm: Lunch. And I always try to read something work-related over a sarnie. Today it’s about pitching (something I genuinely hate!) and some fantastic guides on pitching, selling good ideas, what potential clients might be thinking at the time and protecting your ideas being produced by Hiscox, Greenlight and the CIM.

1.30pm: No time to celebrate signing our new staff member. We seem to have lots of big things happening right now. It makes me think, business can surely never be this exciting again… but who knows? Then back to client stuff for the rest of the day.

5.40pm: Write the bulk of this.

6.30pm: Don my new black-tie outfit for the Mayor of Warrington’s Charity Ball. One of our current clients has kindly invited us.

10.30pm: A client calls me to let me know it has won a major award – we need to get something out tomorrow as a priority. I’m genuinely delighted.

12.30am: Taxi gets me home from the Mayor’s do. Sink into bed.

6am (next day): My six-year-old son jumps on my bed and we talk about superheroes, Star Wars and Liverpool Football Club…

Article written by Gary Jenkins, co-owner of No Brainer, a PR, social and content marketing agency based in Warrington, Cheshire

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