Category Archives: PR

How to get a job in tech PR

Yesterday a young women, Asma, who is currently reading my book, How to get a job in PR, tweeted me to say she’s enjoying it and is going to write a review. All authors will tell you that reviews (good and bad) are the most useful thing you can give them, so I was chuffed she’s planning to make the effort to write one.

On her Twitter bio she described herself as an ‘aspiring tech PR’, so I thought I’d throw it open to my own PR community to see if anyone had any tips for her, and they really delivered.

It was such helpful advice I thought others might find it useful too, so here it all is:

I had a bit of advice of my own to throw in too.

If you have any more useful thoughts for Asma do drop her a tweet.

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Platinum: The CIPR Turns 70

Platinum booksThe CIPR has released a number of interesting reads over the past decade including Share This and Share This Too.

The latest release from the industry body is Platinum, a celebration of 70 years of the CIPR. It boasts a host of accomplished PR practitioners and academics among its authors, including Stephen Waddington, Anne Gregory, Jenni Field, Richard Bailey, Heather Yaxley, Sarah Hall,  and Jon White. It has an impressive 45 chapters covering a wide range of subjects including professional qualifications, AI, fake news, and measurement.

CIPR Platinum AuthorsAt last night’s launch a number of the contributors took to the stage to celebrate it being published, and the CIPR’s 70 and 70 list, which includes many of Platinum’s authors.

Given my background working in the diversity space, and the recent launch of my own business to help comms companies tackle diversity in their organisations, of particular interest to me were chapters 42 and 43, which focused on diversity in the industry.

Academic, Liz Bridgen, focuses on whether efforts to address diversity in the PR industry are having an impact, and in particular focused on the work of the Taylor Bennett Foundation though a number of interviews with alumni.

Bridgen starts with the (very good!) argument that diversity makes both business and moral sense, and questions what the industry is then doing to address this. She points out that the Foundation provides knowledge, skills and opportunities to BAME graduates and that alumni from the programme (quite rightly, in my opinion) view themselves as assets to an employer.

She also discusses issues of barriers to promotion and whether power to make hiring and promotion decisions is key to changing the ethnic diversity of the industry, with the alumni themselves recognising that becoming decision makers would give them much more influence.

“A common view was that once young BAME practitioners reached management roles, hiring practices would change and the industry would become more diverse.”

Liz concludes that despite the Foundation’s work there’s a way to go for the broader PR industry to be more ethnically diverse. I couldn’t agree more.

“It is undeniable that the Taylor Bennett Foundation training programme has helped practitioners access and become established in PR careers. However, the industry itself is still overwhelmingly white and middle class and tends to hire its own kind.”

Chapter 43, by Curzon PR MD Farzana Baduel, continues the theme of the value of diversity with an essay on global integration. She draws together the themes of technology and global markets to argue that teams become more diverse in cross country teams,

Like Bridgen, she explains that diversity is not just a moral imperative, it makes great business sense.

“McKinsey found that ‘gender-diverse companies were 15% more likely to outperform, whereas ethnically diverse companies were 35% more likely to outperform and therefore has become an economic driver’”

The CIPR’s drive towards a more diverse industry has taken a noticeable push under the leadership of current President, Sarah Hall who appointed the most diverse board the body has ever had. With Emma Leech taking up the presidency in 2019, and Jenni Field in 2020, I very much hope that continues. As Platinum illustrates, the benefits of diversity for the industry are numerous but addressing the issue takes action.

If you fancy hearing a bit more about the challenges around diversity and inclusion in PR, this recent Digital Download podcast by Paul Sutton with Sara Hawthorn is worth a listen too.

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Launching Ladder Talent

Ladder Talent Business CardToday I’ve launched a new venture, Ladder Talent. A people consultancy for the creative industries.

Over the past decade I’ve had the privilege of meeting a large number of employers across the creative industries and their struggles have remained pretty consistent; how to develop staff, how to retain them, and how to improve their diversity.

With Ladder Talent I’m aiming to address all those issues with a mixture of training, coaching and diversity consultancy. I can’t do all of that alone, so I’ve pulled together of amazing people from the media and creative industries as coaches and trainers.

You can read more about Ladder Talent and some other passion projects here.

If you’d like to have a chat about how we can help you, get in touch.
sarah@laddertalent.com

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Senior PR people : share your platform and make a difference

I am meant to be revising for the last exam for my masters (it’s accountancy, ugh), and so of course got sucked into YouTube where I found this video of Pink watching other people play covers of her songs. It’s fabulous to watch. Her genuinely astonished reactions (and then the reactions of the people watching her, watching them) are really delightful.

The thrill of having someone they admire comment on what they’d done is visible, and heartwarming.

It reminded me of the CIPR Awards dinner recently where current President, Sarah Hall, took a selfie with a young PR practitioner, Olivia Shalofsky (currently an up and coming PR intern at Direct Line).

I saw Olivia’s follow up reaction to that tweet. She was absolutely thrilled to have been noticed by Sarah and included in that picture.

I also spotted this mention of Ketchum CEO, Jo-ann Robertson, from Taylor Bennett Foundation alumni Yarohey Sekha. Yarohey is currently one of the mentees on the BME PR Pros scheme and in her profile piece on their website said how influenced she’d been by meeting Jo-ann on a visit to Ketchum as part of the Foundation’s programme.

For Sarah and Jo-ann these were instances where they were automatically kind and generous, but probably didn’t think much about it after the event. Yet to Olivia and Yarohey these were incredibly important events which had lasting effects.

We shouldn’t under estimate the influence senior practitioners have over those people who are new to the industry. So if you have the opportunity to be kind, generous, and share a platform then do – you could make a world of difference.

 

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Opening the door can have a huge impact

My dad died two years ago at the age of 65. He could be a difficult man and I often see some of his not so pleasant traits in me – pig headedness, competitiveness, and a need to be in control. But he could also be kind, generous, and mischievous.

He was wired that way for good reason. As a toddler he had polio (anti-vaxxers, stay away because I will not entertain your rubbish – a vaccine would have improved his life – and lengthened it – immeasurably). As a result, his right leg didn’t work, he wore a calliper and in the final years of his life was confined to a wheelchair permanently. He knew that the odds were stacked against him and when that happens being pig headed is an asset.

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6 ways to work with the Taylor Bennett Foundation

If you’re an employer in comms and PR, either agency side or in-house, it’s likely that diversity is up there on your corporate agenda.

I’ve written before on different initiatives which can help you tackle diversity issues in your organisation and thought now might be a good time to highlight all the ways you could get involved specifically with the Taylor Bennett Foundation.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation was established in 2007 to improve access to the PR industry for young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). We do this through an award-winning ten week traineeship programme, mentoring, and summer internship placements. Over 150 PR employers support these programmes by donating, hosting visits, offering mentors, and offering work placements.

Sponsoring a programme
Each year we run a number of 10 week PR traineeship programmes for BAME graduates. 97% of our alumni are employed and over 60% work in communications. These programmes are a large commitment for the sponsors which previously include Brunswick, Finsbury, FTI Consulting, Talk PR, Edelman, MHP, The Red Consultancy, Charlotte Street Partners, and Standard Life Aberdeen.
If you would like to discuss sponsoring one of these programmes email sarah@taylorbennettfoundation.org

There are also a number of other ways to get involved:

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PR Interns Should Make Tea

tea cupOver the past couple of months I’ve been pulling together my annual ‘150 PR internships and graduate schemes‘ list.

Something was different this year. Several of the agencies specifically said about their internships that interns would not be expected to make tea, and one said interns aren’t sent to do the coffee run.

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Cry Me A River: What nearly drowning at a PR party has taught me

At the weekend I fell in the Thames. It wasn’t planned, and for the record, I was sober – I was on my way to a party, prosecco and flowers in hand.

I was incredibly lucky that I had four very strong men to fish me out of the incredibly cold water. Had I been alone, I could very easily have died. On average, one body a week is retrieved from the Thames. Continue reading

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10 Gifts for PR Practitioners

Black Friday is almost here so it must be Christmas shopping season. With impending festive shin-digs on the horizon, here’s my guide to ten gifts for the PR practitioner in your life. Secret Santa, we’ve got you covered.

1 ) Best. PR Intern. Ever. T-Shirt, £12.49 – £14.99
For the shining star in your comms team, this t-shirt comes in men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes and a choice of black, blue or red.

 

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Taylor Bennett Foundation appeals to PR community

TBF TraineesThe Taylor Bennett Foundation has been around since 2007, and is widely regarded as being at the forefront of taking action on the lack of ethnic diversity in the PR industry – in other words, we get results.

In the world of non-profits we’re considered a small charity, with an annual turnover of less than £300,000 a year. Much of our funding comes from our generous PR agency sponsors but that only covers about half the cost of running the organisation, our training and mentoring programmes, and supporting our alumni. We have to fundraise for the rest. To expand our programmes and increase the number of young people we help, we have to fundraise even more.

So when Stephen Waddington offered to brainstorm ideas for fundraising in his influencer session at #PRFest, my colleague Anne jumped at the chance to ask if the Foundation could be the focus of that work.

As you’d expect with a room full of creative comms people, lots of ideas came out of that session. Some we have used successfully in the past, some we have previously discarded as non runners, but one idea in particular struck us as something we’d not yet had a bash at and so, we’re giving it a go.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal was born.

We’re aiming to raise £50,000 by the end of the year with our Just Giving campaign which will enable us to continue to run four training programmes next year, expand beyond London and launch a profile raising campaign in BAME communities to promote PR as a viable career choice.

Everyone I talk to about the Foundation tells me what great work we do, that the industry needs us, that the graduates need us and that we are making a difference not only to the diversity in communications, but importantly offering opportunities to young people who would otherwise not have access to PR as a career.

We have honed our programmes so that they get fantastic results. Over 70% of our alumni work in communications. Over 700 graduates have attended our assessment days and had detailed feedback to help with their job searches.

We have the skills, knowledge, passion and experience to deliver brilliant teaching, mentoring and work experience to BAME graduates, but none of it is possible without the funding.

So we are asking you, the PR industry, to demonstrate your commitment to improving diversity in the industry by digging deep and giving to our fundraising appeal. Your donation will make a real difference to a young person’s life.

Thank you.

You can donate to the Taylor Bennett 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal here.

This blog has also been published on #PRfest

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