With the evolving world of social media and consumer dependence on the internet, more and more companies are using online resources to promote their business. Many brands, that may have traditionally hired PR Executives to help them gain press coverage, are now looking to online experts who can help them master the search engines.
Scott Malthouse works in Online PR and in this exclusive interview with Jobulo he shares an insight into the industry and gives some tips on how candidates can gain a job.
Tell Us About Your Career Background
I graduated not too long ago with a degree in Journalism and from there I worked in the Leeds City Council doing admin work while doing Freelance Journalism on the side. I started getting some work doing press releases for videogame developers through a magazine I regularly write for before moving into digital marketing as an off-page SEO Executive. From there I moved into online PR, which is where I am at the moment.
What Made You Want to Work in PR?
PR is a really fascinating industry and ever since I got my degree I knew I could either go into Journalism or PR as a career. The fact of the matter is that PR jobs tend to offer a nice amount of stability while letting me do things that I love, like news stories, interviewing interesting people and coming up with creative campaigns. I also get on well with people, so it seemed like a natural career path for me.
In Your Opinion Do You Need a Degree to be Successful in this Industry?
Most positions look for some related degree or another, whether it’s PR, Journalism or Marketing. It’s possible to learn on the job, but to really shine it’s beneficial to have a fair amount of training up your sleeve. You’re going to need to know things like media law, how to write news and what makes a great story – which are things that you’re generally taught in a degree. Personally, I don’t think I would have got where I am now without one. However, saying that experience is also important, perhaps even more important.
What Is It Like Working for An Agency?
It’s challenging! You don’t just handle one client. You are generally going to be juggling many at a time, leading multiple campaigns in different industries. It’s definitely not for people who can’t cope with pressure, but working in so many different industries gives you a wealth of experience running different kinds of campaigns. One hour you could be brainstorming a medical client, the next you’re writing press releases for a real estate client. It really keeps you on your toes.
Tell Us About Your Daily Role?
I work in online PR, meaning I focus almost purely on getting brands coverage on the internet. On a day to day basis I research campaign ideas, run competitions, pitch ideas to Journalists and monitor media coverage. It’s my job to lead on creative campaigns, promoting and evaluating their success. It’s also important for me to build relationships with Journalists, either by simply giving them a call or getting together with them for an informal coffee.
How Does Online PR Differ to Traditional PR?
Online PR is integrated with digital marketing, so while it’s a similar role, we also need to make sure that our campaigns have a positive SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) benefit for the client to help with their visibility on major search engines. That means that the way you evaluate a traditional PR campaign will be slightly different to an online campaign because you’re also looking at social shares, natural pick-up and links as part of the campaign.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Wanting to Work in PR?
The best advice I can give is to ask yourself whether you like people and whether you’re a creative person. If not then PR may not be the best route for you. But if you are, then get some experience through an internship or some voluntary work. A course, whether a degree or otherwise, will also really help you understand how the media ticks and give you the practical and theoretical knowledge to start a career in PR.
What Do You Think Is the Most Important Thing to Show on Your CV If You Are Applying for a Job in PR?
Experience. Showing that you have volunteered or taken on an internship will set you apart from others who have perhaps got a Marketing degree but haven’t done anything since then. Showing that you have the drive and passion to work in the industry will do wonders – so definitely persist and get some experience under your belt, paid or not.