Diary of a PR newbie
If a regular news fix is a non-negotiable part of your daily routine, you enjoy writing and you are looking for a career where the challenges are varied and the pace of progression is brisk, PR, and Farrer Kane & Co may be for you.
Our office is in Clerkenwell. Close to London’s financial and legal centres, it’s a characterful corner of the city – one of its ancient historic parishes – though now known as home to architects and design agencies, as well as colourful cast of independent shops and restaurants. As a team of more than 20 working a hybrid pattern of home/office days, Bowling Green Lane is always a buzz of energy. Here Emily Brazier, Farrer Kane & Co PR Assistant walks us through a typical day…
I arrive at the office, grab a coffee (Nespresso pod of choice: Caramel Crème Brulee) and sit down for my favourite task of the day – media monitoring. While you would probably be hard-pressed to find anyone who embarked on a career in PR without a prior interest in current affairs, I have found that reading the day’s stories with client agendas in mind has completely refreshed my perspective on the news.
Since starting at Farrer Kane & Co, I’ve gone from casual scrolling through news apps on the train or whacking on an FT podcast at the supermarket to consuming news in a much more active way.
Every morning, we collaboratively review key national papers in order to flag any items that might chime with our clients’ insights – offering an opportunity for comment, a hook for a new article, or background knowledge for us. Putting on my lawyer/accountant/HR manager hat allows me to find new context and consequences in stories that I never would have thought of on a pedestrian scroll.
Now to the inbox, which at 9am, is all go. An email from an editor at an export control trade magazine, a note from one of my managers about the role of women in tech, a reminder for a webinar about Capital Gains Tax – a small snippet of the seemingly hundreds of topics and tasks involved in my slice of agency life.
As caffeine reaches my brain, order reaches my Outlook. I file my emails and update my action list. When I first began my role, the variety of each day was overwhelming, but with careful organisation in place it now feels fast-paced, comfortable, and perfect for my Gen-Z length attention span.
Media outreach time.
On my first day at Farrer Kane & Co, I was tasked with calling an editor – a frightening prospect even with coaching and support from colleagues on my account team. The practice I had gained during a PR internship seemed impossibly long ago and I just knew I would stumble on the technical vocab in my pitch. I bravely pressed ‘dial’… and was sent straight to voicemail.
From constructing the pitch to selecting media contacts, outreach is a collaborative process so while securing media coverage can be a war of attrition, the pressure to yield results is never on one individual. As the months have gone by, I’ve gradually taken on more independence with my part in the process, but it’s reassuring always to have a second pair of eyes where I need it.
I’ll admit outreach is still sometimes nerve-wracking, but playing a part in gaining coverage in national newspapers and top-tier trade titles is an incredibly rewarding part of the job.
I blink and a morning of calls, emails, research, and reporting has run into lunch time.
Clerkenwell is a delightful place for a mid-day stroll and we’re very lucky to be within walking distance of some outstanding food spots – so choosing what to go for can be a challenge.
This afternoon is for writing – something I’ve always enjoyed, and a key factor that put me on a (meandering) path to a role in communications.
After graduating from university, I spent three years working for an educational charity in Hong Kong, before starting at Farrer Kane & Co. While I had held some communications responsibilities in my previous role, shifting to a fully PR-focused role felt like starting from square one.
With 6 months of agency life behind me, I realise that this was far from true. The writing, organisation, and communication skills front and centre on my CV provided an obvious starting point but the other overlaps have been more surprising.
I start my afternoon writing an article for a sector publication, which involves shifting my tone of voice to suit the target audience, flexing a muscle strengthened by years of adapting my phrasing while teaching English as a second language. Afterwards, as I draft an activity update for a client, I am reminded of how I structured impact reports for charity donors when I held a management role.
While I have changed continent, sector, and job title, I’m grateful to be making use of a toolkit that I have been building since I started work.
Home time. I send one last email and check my calendar to see what I’ve got on tomorrow. Client meeting at 10am – must remember to wear my nice shoes.