(Photo from Manifest PR website they have won lots of awards!!)
Last week we were lucky enough to receive a lecture from Alex Witham and Lizzie Marlow, both of whom are Leeds Met PR Alumni and are now working at Manifest PR in Leeds.
It was a really great, informal and conversational lecture and I thought I would share 5 key pieces of advice that I jotted down during their talk:
Alex told us, how in agency work, managing different clients and accounts is a little like managing your modules at University. It’s important to be really aware of your deadlines in order to prioritise what needs to be done and when, and also consider the value percentage to ensure that you are dedicating the right amount of time/energy in the right places.
TWO: SOCIAL MEDIA
We all know the drill about ensuring our social media is only showing our best side (or privatised if that’s a struggle!) to avoid putting off potential employers (Paris Brown anyone?) but these guys also spoke about the need to be engaging with those potential employers on twitter too. Speak to companies, blog and then get your blog out there. Make yourself known - from Agency Directors to Guest Lecturers, Get involved with those CIPR hashtags. As Alex said, there’s nothing better than getting to an interview and them already knowing who you are (in a good way!) or even better - being invited to interview in the first place!
Creativity is key in PR, when thinking up campaigns, or perhaps more importantly freshening up campaigns that aren’t working. It’s important to be aware of national days and events, and think up creative ways of how to get your clients involved in those things. I think this is a great idea for blogging too - if you are at a bit of a loss as to what to blog about - look at what’s going on in the world - how can you put your creative spin on, write about or express your opinion. That way you can link yourself or your brand to the hype and increase coverage.
FOUR: COLLECTING NEWS STORIES
Alex spoke about the buzz you get when you secure the coverage for your client, especially if it comes from somewhere unplanned, off the back of your efforts. They told us about companies that collate news stories and mentions, from papers and magazines to Radio shows, using key words - a bit like an extreme Google Alerts. It may seem obvious but it is nice to know that these things exist and the practical tools that PR Practioners use on a daily base. As well as collating all the coverage to present to your clients, Lizzie and Alex reminded us that it is important to keep copies of all your work to add to your active portfolios - even if it’s just for those Monday mornings that you need a reminder of how great you actually are!
FIVE: AGENCY WORK
I currently work in-house in Public PR and I was very adamant that is where I wanted to stay, but these guys have got me into thinking that perhaps I should be dipping my toes into Agency Work. They told us how fun and exciting agencies can be and the range of projects you can get involved in, from knowing all there is to know about bricks to taking shows on a country wide bus tour. I also love the idea of working in a team, supporting each other and brainstorming ideas. I am definitely going to try and secure some work experience before Australia, especially now I see how friendly PR Agency staff are! - Both Alex and Lizzie had jobs secured with Manifest before graduating after completing fantastic work experience placements!
It really is great to talk to actual PR practioners and be inspired by their journey and future plans, especially in the middle of assignment and presentation deadlines, it gave me a fantastic boost to power through - there are great rewards to be reaped if you work hard!
You can find Alex and Lizzie on twitter here: