This week I had the amazing opportunity to go back to Southampton Solent University to lecture about what PR students should expect on their placements and how they can maximise the opportunity while they are there. I wrote about the lecture on behalf of Lee Peck Media:
Placements, internships and work experience are all part and parcel when it comes to getting onto the PR career ladder. Having experience continues to be an important pre-requisite to entering the PR industry. It’s the chance to impress, network and find out what the industry is actually like at the same time as adding vital skills to a CV.
In 2015 alone the amount of placements rose by 10.2 per cent, according to a survey of leading employers by High Fliers Research. Although employers are offering more opportunities the number of applicants has also increased with some roles attracting thousands of candidates. In a competitive job environment experience can provide the edge required to beat off those other candidates for that sought-after first job.
This week Lee Peck Media’s Rebecca Henderson was invited by Southampton Solent University to give a talk to second year PR students about being a PR account executive and what to expect when on a placement.
“Embarking on a work placement or PR role for the first time can be a pretty daunting prospect whether you are fresh from graduating or not. Having some relevant tools and advice before starting will help you stand out from the crowd and impress your potential future employers, which could help you land your first proper PR job,” said Rebecca.
Rebecca undertook placements at a number of different companies at the start of her career, including time at the Clinique press office and the communications team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue. Here she shares her top five things to expect on placement:
Admin – This may not sound like an integral part but this is the bread and butter of PR and what justifies our work. Media cuttings, reports and keeping plans up to date are an important everyday essential that, if not done properly, will catch you out later down the line!
Press releases – Practice, practice, practice! Don’t feel down if you get critiqued; use it as a valuable learning experience to improve. Remember your managers will have been writing for years, so don’t be disheartened.
Events – Be prepared. Carrying around essential tools, i.e. stationary, spare press releases and contact details, could avert disaster and prevent you from missing that important PR opportunity.
Selling in to journalists – Get that telephone manner down! Use your charm, wit and guile to hook a journalist on to your story.
Be ready to learn – Ask questions and get involved. There are some topics like budgets and crisis management where the best form of learning is from others on the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can learn why that’s the approach to take in that instance.
Rebecca added: “All these tips will help but your attitude matters. It may sound obvious but be proactive and enthusiastic. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t and how much it matters!”
Well this is a lesson in PR if ever I saw one. Unless you are creating a witty parody on what not to do in a situation, the likes of which you see successfully done in Vanity Fair and Tatler, then this sort of article is just asking for trouble.
There is a PR lesson here. ‘Epic fail’ are the words that spring to mind, but it’s all about how you recover. I mean, try not to make these mistakes in the first place, but if you do it’s time for some crisis management to take place to rescue or limit damage to your reputation. Your reputation is very important don’t underestimate its power, protect it to protect your integrity and the trust between you and your stakeholders.
So if you missed this, I’d like to draw your attention to the outrageous article posted by Glamour Magazine entitled ’13 things that can make a man fall for you’. As if modern dating isn’t hard enough than offering some ridiculously manipulative tactics to ‘lock down’ a guy (their words not mine!). Anyway, angry girl rant over.
Vice, in response, wrote a very funny article totally shredding Glamour to pieces, well done Vice. It was mockery at its finest and my oh my they had some material to work with.
Glamour in response to the online back lash they received from the general public and other publications such as Vice, removed the article and replaced it with a pretty good apology, openly admitted their fault.
When you are in a crisis and are caught very clearly red handed, then being honest and saying sorry can stop the back lash in its foot steps. Clear, honest and concise communication goes a long way. It was also dealt with swiftly, time is of the essence.
I think my biggest question is why did Jillian Kramer write this for Glamour in the first place? Was she given a brief – just another page filler? Or did she come up with the idea? Did no one really think this would not cause uproar amongst the female population? How did this make it past the editors? This really concerns me when it is a popular magazine with so much influence on a young female demographic. What are your thoughts?