My first two months in PR
The best laid plans sometimes go awry – and, in my case, I’m glad they did.
I had my goals and ambitions in complete focus. The plan was easy – study films and one day become a film director. At least that was the dream since I was 14. Little did I know my plans were going to change at 23.
Frankly, I really had no idea what public relations was until a visit to Bombay in India changed my life. I landed with a job as PR assistant in a very hip film production house, in my mind the first step to finding work as an assistant director.
The more I learned about PR the more I fell in love with it. I enjoyed it all - from buying coffees to liaising with media to promoting films and designing billboards. So yes, my passion for the industry grew, purely by chance. The next thing I know, I was back in Auckland studying Bachelor of Communications at the age of 24.
As I pulled up on my first day at Pead PR I had mixed feelings; nervous, anticipation, enthusiasm and excitement were all there. At last I was taking my first leap in to the real PR world - I had been aspiring to work for Pead PR; and no, I'm not biased.
I have to thank my amazing team for making me feel right at home and being always so patient with me. PR is collaborative work and when you have great workmates, nothing is impossible.
Now I'm two months in as a Junior Account Executive (JAE) for the lifestyle team. I feel a lot more confident, even more excited and I can definitely confirm – I love my job.
I feel as though I could write endlessly about all the things I have learned so far. But let me just share a few of the PR industry-related titbits I have picked up in first couple of months.
Get acquainted with your local media
- Do your research. Learn about the local media and most importantly keep up with current affairs. It is essential that you are aware of things and keeping yourself up to date. After all PR is all about managing and building relationships. You need to know and have enough understanding of who you are dealing with. Remember, it is all about who you know.
- Learn about top bloggers. You need to be quick. When your account manager or director asks you to forward a few names for a campaign, you need to be quick at naming bloggers. Although, I am big on social media, I had not familiarised myself with local bloggers and really didn’t understand their importance in PR.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
- The more you observe and ask, the more you will learn, eternal rule – period.
- Much of your performance is dependent on your well-being. If your health isn't in your favour, the work will not be either.
- Go for walks – I try going twice daily with my colleagues. Not only do you get some exercise, but it’s one of the best ways to bond with your workmates.
- I also try and add 15-20 mins of Yoga ritual daily - what works for me is the discipline of waking up early, doing Yoga and having a power breakfast.
Be well organised
- What really works for me is creating a daily 'to do' list. This helps me focus on my priorities and decide whether or not I can take more responsibilities.
- Be on top of the game – That doesn't mean I always get done with all my tasks, but it helps reduce the clutter and the stress.
- PR is one job that will certainly develop your organisational skills. If you’re not organsied, you are in the wrong field!
Academic vs practical
- My degree has given me a great foundation in communications in many aspects. However, even the three years of University didn't prepare me for the basic essential skills to start at an entry level.
- School doesn't teach you all the nitty-gritty tasks such as how to charge agency time.
- I have learnt the importance of 'clippings'. Learn now how important they are in the reporting process if you don't know what clippings are.
- How to write e-alerts (still an ongoing learning process).
- No matter how minuscule some work might seem, such as keeping your eyes out for emerging bloggers, new media people and of course adding them to your media databases – these are all the skills that will shape you to becoming a better PR executive.
No two days are alike
- What I also love about my job is no two days are the same. Yes, you will have days where you make a mistake and wonder why you chose the PR career path. But don't be alarmed because it's a learning curve and when you do get rewarded or even just receive that simple ‘well done' from your boss, it’s all worth it. Remember, patience is the virtue.
I am still a PR infant and I have so much to learn, but my passion and love for this job is as strong as the day I first joined. The anticipation of growing more in this industry is what determines my passion for public relations.