I was very fortunate to get on the Taylor Bennett Foundation which was a 10 week intensive training course which aimed to encourage more ethnic diversity in the PR and communications industry.
The Taylor Bennett Foundation provided me with the perfect opportunity to develop the practical skills needed to become a PR practitioner and to put my academic knowledge into action. It allowed me to build on my theoretical knowledge by writing weekly blogs, news reviews, press releases, interviews and so on. By the end of the course I felt more confident in my ability to produce these documents and get ready for my next step to find a job.
I took a lot from the programme and it gave me some great tips to start a career in the communications industry:
Read, watch and listen
Keep on top of current affairs. Not only in print but online and through broadcast. Whether you want to go in-house to an agency, they will expect you to be aware of news stories. These stories become news pegs which allow you to build your content around to make sure it is relevant to journalist.
Embrace the art of storytelling
PR and communication isn’t just about churning out what you consume, but how you can get creative and use these opportunities for your clients. When reading content or watching the news, think like a PR person: how could I turn this into an opportunity for a client? Diversify your communication skills, learn how to play with different ways of telling a story e.g. images, videos, written content.
Social media presence
Make sure you have an online presence and engage in discussions online. Follow journalist and publications on Twitter as most breaking news stories are posted on there. See what is trending and make sure you’re on top of it. Instagram and SnapChat are great tools for sharing visual content and building communities.
Create a blog to talk about what is happening in the news, past campaigns e.g. bad and good PR campaigns, crisis situations etc. This will highlight that you have an understanding of what it means to work in the PR industry. Not only that, it will develop your writing skills.
Have a personality
Working in the industry, your personality is an asset. It is a relationship building industry which means you need to be able to connect with people. This not only helps me build relationships with journalist, but also develop a positive rapport with clients.
Build you contact list of journalist, bloggers, previous employers etc. all which will help you through your professional development. LinkedIn is a great tool to get in contact with people and allow you to widen your network.
Consumer or corporate?
Have an idea of what kind of PR you want to go into. The list is endless: consumer, fashion, entertainment, fintech, financial, corporate, health etc. For me, I chose financial and tech because these industries interested me. The best piece of advice I got was, “you spend most hours of the day working, so make sure it is something you enjoy”. The reason I chose PR, was because of the diversity in task and the fact that I can be both creative and strategic in my day-to-day activity.
To get into the industry, you need to show commitment and the above tips are great ways to show you are the right woman for the job!