“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you say and what others say about you.’ – Chartered Institute of Public Relations
On Wednesday 25th January, Careers Network were joined by Ked Mather (Director) and English Literature and Drama almuna Leah Fullalove (Account Executive) from PR agency MWWPR for a talk exclusively for College of Arts and Law students which covered the importance of PR and top tips for gaining experience in this sector.
What is PR?
Firstly, Ked and Leah discussed exactly what PR is, what MWWPR do as an agency and how it differs from advertising. Whilst advertising involves creating paid announcements to be promoted through different types of media, PR is a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and the public.
MWWPR are a specialist PR agency for the technology and media industries that offer corporate, consumer and B2B PR services to clients such as Sky Media, Bloomberg, The Times and more. By working for a PR agency, both Ked and Leah are responsible for managing the reputation of their clients which is incredibly important for raising commercial awareness for a brand, increasing share of voice and generating business leads.
One of the MWWPR’s campaigns
What do I need to get into PR?
Leah stressed that you do not need a PR degree to get a job in PR – she graduated last year with an English Literature and Drama degree and was offered a job after an internship at MWWPR. Your degree will immediately offer you a wide range of transferable skills that can be applied to a Public Relations job – as an Arts and Law student, your vast writing experience will prove invaluable in a PR job so don’t panic! Ked and Leah also shared some of the key traits that agencies look for in a potential employee:
- Organisation –Working in an agency can mean balancing 4-6 different clients at a time meaning time management and organisation are essential attributes in any budding PR guru.
- Competent Writers – In a career that includes writing press releases, by-lines and social media content, you’ll need to be able to get your point across quickly and concisely. You’ll need to be adaptable and able to write for different audiences and brands.
- Enthusiasm – Being enthusiastic and aware of the media landscape, both off and online is key in PR. A dedication to your chosen sector, whether it be technology or fashion is crucial and a successful career just wouldn’t be possible without it.
- Creativity – PR is a creative industry where originality and creative thinking are highly valued. Think about how you present yourself to an employer and see if you can think of a different way to communicate your skills rather than a typed CV – maybe even consider a handwritten CV to help you stand out in such a competitive industry?
What is a typical day in PR?
Leah (Account Executive) – Leah’s typical day begins with scanning the newspapers and online media for relevant stories. Her day is then split between different clients, writing press releases, bylines and media pitches. She will often meet journalists for lunch – good relationships with journalists is key to a successful PR career! The rest of the day is spent pitching to journalists, communicating with clients and handling various social media accounts. Leah explained that no two days are the same in PR, she can often be in the office late liaising with American clients or hosting exciting events!
Ked (Director) – As a director, Ked’s day differs slightly. He is responsible for drafting new business proposals and pitching them in order to win new clients for the agency. He examines the agency’s scopes of work, analysing exactly how much time should be spent on each client and the best ways to market the agency, through various events and talks.
Ked and Leah’s top tips on getting into the industry:
Create your own content – Platforms such as LinkedIn or personal blogs are a great way of creating your own content, writing about things you are passionate about and showcasing your writing ability and awareness of the important social media scene.
Internships – Internships and work experience are crucial in breaking into the PR industry. Any experience, whether in a big PR agency or an in-house PR team will give you a feel for the industry and help you stand out to potential employers. Look at our PR insight guide for tips on where to look!
Networking – Some agencies hold networking events specifically aimed at students and graduates which are a great chance to meet potential employers and get a feel for agency life.
After the talk, students were also given the chance to ask questions, here are some handy bits of advice from the Q&A session:
How can I showcase my interest in PR?
Ked: Follow as many agencies and relevant accounts on Twitter and social media, keeping up to date with campaigns, launches and events will show you have a genuine interest PR and will really make you stand out in interviews.
How has the PR industry changed?
Ked: With the rise of social media and online influencers, PR has drastically changed. The role of the digital media is incredibly important now which makes the PR industry incredible dynamic and exciting.
How can I stand out during my internship?
Leah: Embrace every opportunity and task. Don’t be phased if you don’t have prior experience, if you show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, your work will certainly pay off.
What can I do next?
If you’re interested in learning more about PR, take a look at our insight into PR page, which includes details of the roles available for graduates, tips for getting experience and where to find opportunities. Make sure to keep an eye of Careers Connect for the latest jobs, graduate schemes and internships too!
This post was written by Alice Gordon – BA English and SET student for Careers Network, College of Arts and Law.