Starting your first job in PR can be a daunting challenge, especially, if like me, you haven’t had any previous experience. I was lucky enough to get my foot in the door as a PR assistant, and although PR can be a confusing job role to explain simply, here are the things I’ve learnt so far:
PR is all about building relationships with people, whether that be the client, journalist, influencers or even your colleagues. If you’ve worked well with someone once, the likelihood of working with them again is quite high. So, make sure those people skills are first class! Be as personable as possible, find out more about them, and always be nice (even if they reject you!) – you never know when you might need to get in contact with them again.
Twitter is your right arm in PR. It’s the hub for so many journalists, they love a new job announcement or journo request. You’ll probably find yourself searching the ‘journo request’ hashtag in your sleep. Get yourself in a twitter hole, find out who is working where and don’t be afraid to follow or interact with them too.
You hear it so many times, but it’s never been truer, especially for a PR agency. You’ll go from client meetings, to putting vouchers in 100 baubles, to researching the love island villa, to organising community donations for care homes, to media outreach followed by a team brainstorm – all in a day’s work. Every day is different, you never really know what day you’re going to get and that’s so exciting!
You’ll quickly find out in PR that you need to be in the know. Looking through the newspapers and scrolling through online news becomes second nature. In the morning it’s your priority to find out what’s going on. Does any of the news affect your clients? Doing a morning roundup is the perfect start to the day, they can also be the catalyst for new ideas for your clients.
Whether you’re helping the team, your manager or a journalist, no task is too big or too small. Ultimately client coverage is what you want, so you should always be able to go above and beyond to secure it. This might include supporting your colleague with a data entry task or finding interviewees for a journalist – whatever the task, you should always give 110%.
With so many journalists working from home, it’s become harder than ever to contact them and build relationships. You may be on the receiving end of some ‘ghosting’– but don’t worry! Most journalists will likely have 100’s of emails from different PR companies every day. You need to make sure whatever you send is relevant to them, and don’t give up. If you think it’s a good story or product, someone else will too.
The past six months have been incredibly fun, and I feel lucky enough to have experienced so many aspects of the industry already. I am looking forward to the next six months and who knows, by then my friends and family might understand what I do!