As a relative newcomer to the world of PR – having just finished my first three months as an account assistant – I’ve had to face a steep but exhilarating learning curve.
PR is much more challenging than people seem to realise, requiring a huge amount of flexibility, a willingness to turn your hand to anything, and a hefty dose of self-confidence. By my second week I was pitching to the national papers, which terrified me, but I survived!
The payoff is learning a lot incredibly quickly,. This ranges, from how to keep clients happy to writing a press release or byliner on a subject you have little knowledge of. I’ve gone from knowing next to nothing about technology to being able to chat casually about cloud storage, IT resellers and data centres; I can practically recite the names of the national education correspondents in my sleep; I can handle Tweetdeck like a ninja, zooming around columns to spot client mentions or journo requests. I’ve survived conference calls, major meetings, and I’ve even had the fun of PR networking events where the wine is flowing (and free!) and you have the opportunity to meet some of the industry’s key peoplebest and brightest.
For anyone trying to get into their first PR job, it can seem daunting – a path of internships and fierce battles for the entry-level jobs, with andand no clearly-defined entry requirements. While a degree in a subject such as English or Media might give you a slight advantage, you really can get into PR from almost any discipline and background. I got into PR with a hotchpotch combination of an English degree, some publishing internships, some temporary admin jobs and a three-month stint as a barista under my belt. All taught me skills which have come in handy, such as how to handle a tetchy demanding client customer and how to proofread.
If you want to make a good impression, enthusiasm will take you a long way. You’ll be asked to do daunting tasks such as calling up journalists you don’t know, and who have little patience tolerance for with PRs, but if you can put your hand to it with a good attitude and confidence you’ll win both the respect of your office and (hopefully) coverage for your client. Another important factor is creativity, especially in business PR. You have to come up with interesting ways to promote themclients, angles to make their stories accessible to the general media, and ways to get people engaged.
Like many people entering into PR, I had no real idea what to expect from the B2B world, as my main perceptions of PR came from B2C. Luckily I took to it like a duck to water, and relished the challenge to work with businesses. I’ve enjoyed my time in PR from the very first day and never feel bored or unchallenged. Right now is an exciting time for the industry as social media grows ever more important, and so if you’re hoping to get into PR there’s never been a more interesting time to go for it.