Agency life: My first year at Absolute PR & Marketing

My career started at full speed with an insight into broadcast journalism, working alongside BBC Radio One to create a series of documentaries for a national bullying campaign. From there on, the idea of a fast-paced career that involved helping people and companies create impactful campaigns, was what I strived for. In the second year of my Journalism degree, I soon realised my creative skills could be well placed in marketing, so I tailored my course work to focus on PR and marketing to develop my experience ready for the workplace and my chosen career.

I always knew I wanted variety in my job role, as I love being busy! So, working in a PR and marketing agency with a variety of clients was right up my street. Before agency life, I had worked in the marketing department for a private travel agent and then a local charity, so I had little idea of what it might be like to work in a full-blown agency environment. My expectations consisted of a juxtaposition of memories from my work experience week at a local marketing agency and the interpretation of a PR company from binge watching a certain BBC comedy series. With a full year in a PR agency under my belt, I can say with confidence that although there is a lot less Bollinger than one might assume, I think working in a PR agency is absolutely fabulous.

Since joining Absolute PR & Marketing back in September 2018, it’s been a whirlwind of activity. Every day is different from the last. One minute I will be creating a tailored Facebook advertising campaign for luxury residential properties, and the next I’ll be writing a blog about scientific research gleaned from sensors attached to marine mammals’ heads. My favourite part of the job is the variety, and you do not get much more varied than that!

To commemorate my first year at Absolute, I’ve compiled some of my highlights from the last twelve months. It’s been a thrilling introduction into the world of PR and marketing.

Full steam ahead

I remember my first week at Absolute so well. One of my first tasks was to distribute a press release announcing that the Flying Scotsman would be joined on its maiden trip through Devon into Cornwall, by an engine used on the ‘Harry Potter’ railway line in Scotland. It was a hugely popular story (who doesn’t love a Hogwarts connection) so from the moment the release went out, coverage started to appear left, right and centre and the phone was ringing off the hook. It was in that moment that I realised how rewarding – and fast-paced – working in PR would be.

A crisis averted

When I say that no two days are the same here, I really mean it. In this particular case, it’s unlikely I’ll ever have another day like it! Back in February, we helped a client defuse a national communications crisis by creating statements and liaising with journalists from national media outlets including the Daily Mail, Sky News, The Telegraph and The Guardian – to name just a few. The pressure was seriously on to be cool, calm and collected to portray our client’s key messages and safely manage their reputation. What seemed at the time to be a stressful, edge-of-the-seat day in the office, is now a highlight of my career and my biggest learning curve in PR so far.

What hit me the most from that period of non-stop phone calls and emailing national journalists, is how quickly a story can become headline news, and ‘tomorrow’s fish and chip paper’ even faster! It taught me just how important it is to be timely and on the ball, because before you know it, the story could be done and dusted. The news agenda moves on so rapidly, that if you don’t get balance to a story swiftly, it can get left behind.

Teamwork makes the dream work

I’ve learned from my first year at Absolute how well we work together as a team. Everything we do, we do as a team and it creates a really smooth, positive workflow and environment. No matter who works on an account, we like to bounce ideas off each other and get excited about the achievements for each of our clients. I personally think that’s the beauty of an agency, we’re all driven to deliver great results for our clients.

The icing on the cake

One of my favourite aspects of working in PR is the sense of achievement you get when securing national coverage for your client. Not only are you relieved that all your hard work has paid off, but you get to watch your client benefit from the results! An example of this is a piece of coverage secured for a property client in The Daily Telegraph which resulted the next day in a walk-in cash buyer – does it get better than that?

Another favourite feature of my role is planning and implementing highly targeted campaigns across a network of digital channels for our clients. Thinking up new and innovative marketing solutions and messages that put our clients in front of their target audience gives me a real buzz. From designing effective e-marketing campaigns and growing databases with focused lead generation Facebook adverts, to writing SEO optimised blogs to increase website traffic – there is so much variety and opportunity to make an impact. It’s so rewarding to watch how our diverse marketing efforts collectively increase the visibility of a client’s brand and quickly meet their commercial objectives.

My advice to anyone thinking of embarking on a career in PR and marketing would be to just get stuck into any opportunity that comes your way. I’m a firm believer that the best way to learn is to do! As well as my degree, voluntary work has played a huge role in shaping my career and I am thankful for that every day, so don’t be afraid to get out there and volunteer your time in a local business’ marketing department. You’ll then be able to add your experience to your CV and grow your confidence to start applying for PR and marketing jobs. If you’re anything like me and love being busy and productive, then working in a PR agency might be for you too!

PR and marketing is a fast-paced industry and in one year alone, so much has changed across both print media and the digital landscape. I’m looking forward to building my experience and seeing what my second year holds.