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What has my first nine months in PR taught me?

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By Lydia Skerritt

    Tags:

  • Marketing
  • Nielsen McAllister news
  • PR
  • PR experience
So, here I am. It’s been nine months since I first stepped into the office at Nielsen McAllister – then a recent graduate, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, entering the exciting world of PR.

It recently occurred to me that the pile of magazines on my desk nine months ago, many on subjects I knew nothing about, were now full of articles I’d written myself. So, I thought this would be a good time to look back on the blog post I wrote during my first two weeks on the job and reflect on my journey in PR so far.

A typical day?

My first thought was to give you a little glimpse into what a PR account executive gets up to on a typical day – a sort of ‘day in the life’ blog post. From office newbie, with a morning full of research tasks, to fully-fledged PR professional with an afternoon filled with writing double-page features. But then I thought to myself, is this really the most honest way of depicting how my role has differed since I first started at NMPR?

The truth is, as most PR professionals will acknowledge, every day is different. Now, this isn’t intended as some vacuous cliché to boast about the dynamic and thrilling life of a PR professional. Every day genuinely is different, and not just in the not-getting-your-morning-coffee-and-gossip-bang-on-9am- kind of different. Each day varies in a way where the tasks you are faced with require you to adjust more than just your calendar for the day. So, inevitably, a blog about a ‘day in the life’ just wouldn’t cut it.

A look back

Instead, I decided to remind myself of the blog post I wrote back in July 2019. Something that particularly stood out to me was my overwhelming excitement and enthusiasm for what I was going to learn in the upcoming months. This struck a chord with me because – and please brace yourself for another apparent cliché – you never stop learning when it comes to PR.

Yes, it was great that I came to NMPR equipped with relevant and transferable skills from my time at university and during work placements. Yes, it was wonderful that I was ready to engulf myself in as much information as I possibly could, as quickly as I possibly could. But what I didn’t quite realise back then was that a successful career in PR requires more than jumping through a few initial hoops to reach a promised land of knowledge. A career in PR involves much more than that. You are continuously evolving, picking up new tips and tricks, nurturing your writing style and generally moulding yourself to fit the specific task at hand. And this is the most significant thing I have learnt over the past nine months.

Black and white?

The way I like to look at it is that PR isn’t black and white. It isn’t a textbook you can sit and revise and there isn’t one set way of doing things – and there’s always more to learn. In an ever-changing industry, handling multiple clients, often vastly different to one another, and with no day in the office ever the same, a willingness to learn and keep learning is key.

Now equipped with a more mature outlook on the PR industry, my ‘typical’ day is looking a little different to what it looked like in those first two weeks.

It’s already different 

The colossal stack of publications perched on the side of my desk – which I once trawled through to frantically learn all about the sectors NMPR specialises in – now consists of the client news and features that I am proud to have written myself. My morning scan of social media channels now involves witnessing my own creative visions come to life. And the events and client meetings I attend now draw value from my support and input.

While I suspect that some of you may have been keen to read about the daily routine of a PR account executive, I wanted to take this opportunity to say my ‘day in the life’ is different now than it was nine months ago, nine weeks ago or even yesterday. And this is for so many more reasons than just my set tasks and responsibilities.

The holy grail…

The reality is that there is no finish line for knowledge, no holy grail of understanding. It’s about accepting that each day throws a curve ball – but that it’s ok because there is always a lesson to learn. After all, there’s huge payback when you see your client’s social media followers double in numbers, your social videos attract enquiries, your press releases hitting headline news or the hard work you put into a feature present itself in a glossy magazine.

All of this makes the hectic job of a PR specialist so worthwhile. I’m sure that, in another nine months or even nine years, when I look back on this blog, my day will have changed once again.

One thing that will remain unchanged though is the passion I have for the industry and, ironically, the complete knowledge that I will never have a truly complete knowledge of this exciting, ever-changing and fast-paced world of PR.

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