A Day In The Life a Digital PR
We interviewed Fran from Honcho PR about what a job in digital PR entails and about career so far.
An introductory word of warning, if you choose a career in PR – although I absolutely love it, and think it’s a very rewarding career choice – be prepared that you’ll be forever answering questions from friends and family members about what this job actually involves and means!
After six years in the industry, I think my friends just think I go for long lunches with journalists, boozy press events and sit around in meetings with a fancy Macbook. Although this is all true, there is a lot of leg work and hours involved in this career. It’s one that I believe can be truly rewarding, but be prepared from the start… there is a lot of effort required, and it only works if you have a true passion for public relations, media, and brands from the off.
Starting a career in PR and what I have learnt
I’m currently a Digital PR Specialist at Honchō – a search marketing agency. We help brands get noticed on Google, and online PR campaigns – alongside SEO, PPC and Content Marketing – is one of the ways that we do that. In a nutshell, I help build links for clients online through media coverage that in turn help their online visibility.
I started my career six years ago after studying Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Lincoln. I did a small stint in-house at a college helping out on social media, press releases and student success stories, but wanted a taste for fast-paced agency life. I landed a summer placement at a boutique agency in London, which turned into a full time role when I graduated.
Agency life was great. I got to work on lots of different campaigns and a real selection of brands – from dating apps, to home fragrance, to technology, to alcohol. Everything from organising press events, social media plans, writing articles and press releases, getting clients onto TV and radio and securing client mentions in glossy magazines, newspapers and blogs. Agency is a good first stepping stone in PR as it helps you find out what you enjoy the most and where you can be most passionate, and then pursue that.
For me, I really enjoyed some of the digital campaigns I worked on. Online media coverage is a lot more instant – magazine lead times can take up to four months to see your coverage in print! – and it helps clients track direct results in terms of traffic, visibility, and direct sales. So it was natural for this to be my next step. I recently talked to PR Week about how the industry is evolving to become more digital and what this means for the modern PR professional.
My day-to-day can involve anything from: creative brainstorms for campaign ideas, writing press releases and comments from clients, selling in a news story on the phone, checking in with journalists on Twitter, reporting on the success and amount of coverage we’ve secured, building press kits and collaterals of images, infographics, videos, podcasts, or meeting journalists to talk about upcoming campaigns.
My advice for anyone looking to get into a PR career is to think about how you can self-learn as many things as possible, to improve your context of the wider picture. This will future-proof your career. Have a look at your skill set too and see where you would best fit. PR requires someone to be organised, outgoing, confident, articulate, and you need to really enjoy writing, reading and everything about brands!
How to get a career in PR – three tips for graduates
Build a decent social profile
We’re in the communications business, so you need to be communicating. You’ll have an opinion on a new brand campaign or product launch, so share it. Recruiters and employers in this industry will look there first. I often have a look at a candidate’s profiles before interviewing them to see how involved and up to speed they are with PR and news.
Twitter and LinkedIn are undoubtedly the best social tools for the PR industry. Look out for Twitter chats like #PowerAndInfluence to see what your peers are talking about. I know people who have landed job interviews or been mentored as a result of people they’ve talked to on these social platforms. Reach out and go for coffee with people – you’ll pick up lots of advice.
There are so many free events in the PR and digital marketing industries. I attended one recently locally, MKGO, which dished out loads of free PR advice and tips – perfect for PR beginners.
Marketing and PR are both so heavily reliant on the internet, and as such they continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Keeping up with the latest news and trends will set you in good stead for any future interviews.
Create experience for yourself
Despite the fact the majority of internships are sadly unpaid, sometimes you need to get earning right away. This doesn’t mean the door is closed if you haven’t landed your first PR gig yet.
Throw yourself into as many confidence-boosting and outward facing roles as possible. Retail, restaurant and pub jobs are great for this as they force you into social situations and equip you for good small-talk and conversational skills. These will be invaluable for you down the line in a PR career.
In your spare time, see if there is a local charity you can volunteer to write a press release for, an agency you can go into for a day’s work experience, or a local newspaper you can help out at. Anything you can do to get a foot in the door within media will look great on a CV and show you are committed.
If you’d like to discuss your career, please get in touch on 0207 269 6144. You can browse our PR jobs on our job board.