Last week, Hannah, Harrison and I volunteered to help run a taster-day workshop for Year 10 students from across Leeds, about PR.
From personal experience, and from my time working in a high school, I know having to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life, when your picking your options at 14 is completely ridiculous. I didn't even know PR existed until after I had finished my A-Levels, my careers dept. weren't overly creative either - the only options I were given were teaching or journalism if I was good at "writing." It seems they don't have a lot to say about jobs or courses that are a little different or new.
We didn't have a lot of time to prepare and with only an hour per session, we decided to focus our workshop on social media. We thought this would be the best topic to get the students engaged and it would also show them that they could make a career out of tweeting! (sort of!)
We kicked off with brief introductions and a definition of PR, explaining some of the key words associated with PR - Crisis Management, Press Releases, Internal Comms, Reputation etc. We followed this with general skills and tools that PR Practitioners use every day which the students would have experience in too!: Media, Social Media, Youtube, Newspapers & Magazines, Celebrities, Events.
As an ice-breaker we asked the students to introduce themselves to the group in 140 characters.. we wanted to demonstrate the challenges of getting all the important information into such a small allowance! They came up with some great intros. with some of them using really fun creative hashtags too.
We asked the students to then work in groups and put together a brief social media campaign for the launch of a new product. They chose their own products - from a new mac lipstick, to a tongue bar range to a new playstation game - whatever their interests were - and we gave them a few questions as guidance..
What social media platforms would you use?
Who would you want to tweet about it?
Which celebrities would you want to be involved?
What Youtubers or Bloggers would you want to work with?
How could they incorporate your product into a video/ blog post?
Which Hashtags would you use?
Would you have a launch event? Where would it be? Who would be there?
Which magazines/newspaper would you work with?
It was awesome to see the students really engaging with the activity, they had lots of creativity and some of them really considered their target audiences and the best way to speak with and reach them. It's also fun to dream about how great it would be if it was *that* easy to get Kylie Jenner and Nicki Minaj on board with your campaign!!
Of course we couldn't do social media without giving them a few Paris Brown and Justine Sacco horror stories about using social media sensibly - but we kept it brief and rounded off with a few facts about studying PR at Leeds Beckett, the work experience opportunities, study abroad options etc.
It was impossible to tell them everything we have learnt in one hour, but it was great to have the opportunity to hopefully inspire some potential future PR students, or just encourage young people to consider further education. Giving a brief reflection also reminded us that there is so much opportunity in the PR industry. With such a mixture of skills and an increase in commergence between Marketing, Advertising, Customer Service and HR, PR really is a limitless and exciting industry to be getting into!
If you are thinking of studying PR at University, Check out my post on Recommended Reads for PR Students - for more information on PR and Comms!