7 Things learnt from 7 months in PR
As my first graduate role with no previous office experience I was pretty clueless about what I would be doing when I started at IBA – there’s only so much Google can tell you. Now I’m slightly less clueless I thought it was only right for me to share my new found wisdom.
- Un-scatter your brain
Things can get ugly when you’re fighting over the last few post-it notes. Organization is crucial, a weekly to-do list on the back of an envelope isn’t going to cut it. You need to keep track of which journalists you’ve pitched to and what content has gone where – you don’t want to find yourself having pitched a piece to your tier ones having already promised it to someone exclusively. What features are coming up? What time is that interview – and does everyone know where it is? What needs to be drafted first and who needs to approve it?
Like I say, post-it notes are handy and they have their uses but you don’t want to be drowned in them.
- Don’t wait for them to call
Persistence is a key skill in this industry. Placements aren’t just going to drop into your lap, journalists get tons of emails each day and may have just missed your pitch or alternativity a client may be busy when a journalist asks for that much needed headshot. Finding the balance between too much and too little contact is crucial. Maintaining good relationships with journalists can help you secure placements and makes any future communication much easier.
- This is the 3rd time I’ve attempted this heading
Even if your mind is blank or you think an idea is awful, just start writing. Seriously, just put something down on the page. Staring at a blank screen is something I did quite a bit of when I first started, but once I started putting down some words no matter how dreadful they were, it got the creative juices running and I found my flow. Remember what you put down isn’t set in stone, you can always go back and change it – and usually do.
- It’s not always sunshine and rainbows
Some days are just awful. It’s a slow news week and you are struggling to find any interesting social media content, the deadline is creeping up and there isn’t anything appropriate. Taking a step back and going back after you’ve cleared your mind can help, but when on a tight deadline it isn’t always possible. Reach out to your team, that’s what they’re there for and most likely they’ve been in a similar situation before.
- Take advantage of specialized tools
Social media management tools are a godsend. Each client has different buzzwords and hot topics which can be hard to keep track of, using a tool like hashtagify lets you quickly find popular hashtags and others related to that industry. We work for a wide range of clients across multiple time zones and being able to schedule ahead of time stops you having to get up at 3am to post a quick tweet.
- There’s no such thing as too many questions
If you don’t know what you’re doing ask, and if you still don’t know ask again. It seems the sole purpose of an office white board is for weird diagrams to explain things visually. Different people explain things in different ways, so asking someone else can help. Also remember Google is your best friend, you can ask it anything and there will be zero judgement.
- The phone is not that scary…apparently
I’m not going to lie, I’m still pretty terrified whenever I get left in charge of the phones. I’ve been told the more you do it the less awful it gets, I’ll let you know how that works out.
Amanda Rowland is PR Executive at IBA International.