Chandni Unka talks to Chris Twigger, S&U’s PR Director, about his thoughts on PR and if there is such a thing as a typical day.
How would you describe a normal working day?
Like many of us, the first port of call is the checking of e-mails, either at the PC if it’s an office day or on the iPhone if I’m out seeing clients. It’s a chance to see what has cropped up and might need immediate attention, particularly with overseas media and clients where the time differences mean that my working day doesn’t necessarily tie in with those of everybody else. Once the ‘panics’ are hopefully sorted, it’s down to the business of the day. That can range from taking a briefing for a feature article through to setting up an interview with an editor (and a lot of variety in between).
Are your mornings busier than afternoons, vice versa or both the same?
There is no particular pattern in terms of mornings or afternoons being busier. PR is very much a service industry and it’s about responding to clients when they need it. Planning is important in PR but so is flexibility. You have to be able to respond to requests and opportunities as they arise, always, of course, with an eye on what was originally planned in terms of the day’s objectives.
How did you first get into PR?
I had always been interested in PR and marketing as a career but didn’t want to go down the vocational route in my studying. Having completed a degree in English & European literature, I got my first break in marketing which gave me a good grounding in the various disciplines. While working I also studied to get a CAM (Communication Advertising & Marketing) qualification which I would recommend to anybody looking to get a foot in the door. PR is one element of the marketing mix but it is good to at least have an understanding of how it relates say to advertising, direct marketing or exhibitions. It gives you a more rounded approach when dealing with both clients and the media.
What do you most like about your job?
The variety. No two days are the same and agency life in particular exposes you to so many different industries and experiences.
Do you have any particular rules when it comes to working in PR?
If you say you are going to do something then do it. Following through on commitments is, I think, one of the most important attributes in PR. Quality of content is key to developing a good relationship with the media, as is the ability to hit deadlines. Editorial teams will turn to those who they know they can rely on to deliver.
What advice can you give to anyone who may be interested in joining the PR industry?
Make sure you understand what is involved in PR and the diversity of roles it can represent. Agency life can be very different to an in-house position and consumer PR is certainly not the same as business to business, for example. Also, don’t be put off by rejection – PR is a competitive environment but perseverance will hopefully win through and give you a career in what is a very rewarding industry.