Speaking as a graduate fresh onto the PR scene, I can vouch for the fact that the PR industry hasn’t escaped the challenge of being a competitive job market. We all seek that exceptional edge on our CV to stand out from the crowd; I went about this by studying for a PR master’s degree. So now that I’m working at a B2B PR agency, I guess it’s time to reflect on what my master’s taught me and whether it was a worthwhile route into PR.
Joining Skout at the end of last year, I was keen to apply the skills I’d learnt on my course. Being taught by PR pros with many years of experience in communications at Manchester Metropolitan University really gave me an expert insight into the industry.
One of the key advantages was the business context of the course. Lectures were held at the MMU Business School, so naturally I got a good understanding of PR from a business perspective. In other words, I learnt to appreciate where PR sits in an organisation’s structure and all the different stakeholders that there are. With the presence of stakeholders comes the need to communicate; that’s where the PR person steps in.
The biggest eye-opener during my time studying there was how many stakeholders a business or organisation has to communicate with. Before my studies I would have probably given public relations and media relations the same definition. Now I know that the P in PR can mean more than just the media, and part of my job is to decide how best to target each individual audience. From conversations I have with family and friends, it seems that they too only think of the media when somebody mentions PR, proving that old stereotypes are still rife.
One challenge that I’m relishing now that I’m working in a B2B PR agency is how to make a story compelling and likely to capture the attention of journalists. My course addressed this issue when it introduced me to the art of the news angle. It’s an invaluable PR skill to be able to look at stories from different perspectives and pull out the most news-worthy approach – and not just for the media as a channel. The projects I carried out in my master’s also involved working with clients and understanding their expectations. Equally, I gained practice in putting forward my own creative ideas to clients; after all, in the real world that’s what they’re paying us for. Now equipped with the theory and practice essential to working in PR, I’m confident that my master’s experience was time well spent that I’ll put to good use at Skout.
Alex Brown has just started his career at Skout PR and will be a regular contributor to the Skout blog.