Career Scoop: Press / PR Manager

Career Scoop file, on what it's like to work as a Press / PR ManagerIn a nutshell, what do you do?

Plan and manage my organisation’s global PR strategy and communications activity. This includes managing 5 PR agencies to achieve this.

I also have a more general role managing daily comms activities in the press office and helping develop new systems etc.

Why did you decide to become a Press / PR Manager?

It’s a real ‘people’ industry. Plus I love dealing with the media, and enjoy communicating. It’s also an industry with a real buzz about it.

It’s a great feeling when you have worked really hard on achieving a positive story and you see it the next day in the newspaper or on the TV.

What path did you take into it?

I was originally a journalist, but didn’t seem to get the breaks or have the right contacts because I only moved cities after university.  I took a job in PR and marketing, and that has been my career path.

What, in your opinion, is the best bit of being a Press / PR Manager?

The variety, being able to transfer my skills to different industries, being at the hub of an organisation (the press office always know what’s going on), meeting loads of different people (internally and externally), learning about the media and industry in different countries, and developing great long lasting relationships with media and colleagues.

Every job has its downsides. What do you think are the worst bits?

The endless to-do list, journalists who don’t care about what you are saying, and just want to write something negative and reporters calling you with a story at 5.00 pm.

Also complicated, negative news, and when someone internally hasn’t told you about something important that could have a reputation risk…

Is it what you expected when you first started out – and what’s different?

Pretty much as expected, the big change is the focus on social and online media.  When I started out, we didn’t even have our own computers – never mind internet and email! That makes me sound a complete dinosaur…

What do the public least understand – or mistake – about what you do? 

They think it’s all spin and propaganda. They don’t realize how proactive I am, they think I sit and wait for a reporter to call me. They don’t know how strategic it is.

What kind of people tend to do well?

A cliché – but great communicators. People who understand the media. People who can adapt to change. It’s not a job for shrinking violets.

Finally, any advice you’d offer to people looking to get into this line of work? 

Don’t close your mind to different roles and industries.  There’s a perception that in-house PR is dull, or that financial services is dull, or that you have to work in the capital or very biggest cities.

I have worked both in-house and agency, in the police, government, military, real estate and now fund management, which demonstrates that you don’t have to be pigeon-holed in one sector.  If you have good core comms skills you can take them into most sectors and companies.

I never wanted to work in financial services, but I’m really enjoying it, find it fascinating and have achieved a global role whilst still based in one city. Oh and I have only ever worked here, but have had some high profile and very fulfilling jobs.

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