How to get into the PR industry!
Here, Toni, our PR & Social Media Executive, takes a look at how some of our PR team got into their roles, which will hopefully provide a useful insight for graduates and anyone else looking for a role in this industry.
“We were at a networking event a couple of weeks ago, specifically for marketing and public relations professionals, and I noticed one thing really stood out…most of us hadn’t started out on courses or direct career routes into this industry, we just ended up here!
If you ask around a room of PR consultants how they got started in the industry, there will be a whole host of answers: journalism graduate, marketing intern, magazines journalist, blogger, local newspapers– the list goes on. Most of us have found our way into this industry through sheer hard work and determination, or simply good luck!
My story is that I started out studying journalism, and I loved it…still do. I had done endless work experience in the industry and knew for a fact that it was where I would end up. Then, in my final year of university I did a Public Relations module, and I knew it was the career for me. I then did work experience at any agency that would take me (and most of them did!), and here I am, 2 years into my public relations career!
At Dragonfly PR, we all started out in the industry in different ways…
Marina started off in journalism on local newspapers, before being headhunted to Leeds to work in a Public Relations agency. She enjoyed the work, handling many large blue chip b2b companies, but after a couple of years, was fed up of the commute from Sheffield to Leeds, so started looking for opportunities in South Yorkshire. She was made aware of a PR Manager job in Sheffield for a full service marketing agency. She secured the role and within 12 months was running her own PR department, she stayed there for six years before leaving to start up Dragonfly Public Relations.
Her advice to anyone wanting to get into the industry: Be resilient, you will get plenty of doors close on you but use each interview to your advantage and learn from it. Do your own research, start writing your own blog and learn about social media for business. Take whatever work experience you can in the industry as that is what PR agencies look for and it will make you stand out.”
John, an Account Manager at Dragonfly PR, said his career path into PR began from a marketing background. He’d always had a flair for writing and so it was a natural progression to move from writing marketing copy to PR, where he was really able to develop his writing skills.
John explains that specialising in PR for B2B clients offers much more to write about than consumer PR. For instance, we work with a number of manufacturing and construction clients not just in South Yorkshire but across the UK and the world, and there is always some legislative update that forms that basis of a white paper, comment piece of thought leadership article. It’s great when we can highlight, through a well written piece of content, how our clients’ building product or engineering assembly, is an essential part of a larger system. It can range from a whole new building development to manufacture of a machine for pressing metal.
Graduates who take up work experience with us often ask for guidance on their chosen career. The best advice we can give is to get some practical experience, keep up to date with social media trends and look at training options for SEO, such as Google Digital Garage. Search Engine Optimisation is an integral part of most PR campaigns these days, so it helps to get ahead in this area if you can!
In addition, candidates who have gained work experience in a B2B PR agency really stand out because it gives them a better understanding of what the role will involve.
Sam started her career working in the marketing department of a large e-learning company in Sheffield. Over the course of five years, she developed her skills by working in a number of different roles, including Website Editor. As she progressed in her career, she took on PR and marketing roles in a number of social purpose companies and ended up running her own marketing team.
In 2011, Sam had her first child, and in a bid to achieve greater freedom and flexibility, she decided to work as a copywriter – and has never looked back! Sam writes copy for a diverse range of Dragonfly PR’s B2B and B2C clients, across South Yorkshire and beyond and really enjoys the variety of every day being different.
So, if you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, or looking to switch over from a different industry, the world really is your oyster. With some work experience, passion and research, you will be all set to take the leap!