As the newest recruit at Gough Bailey Wright, one of the Midlands oldest PR Agencies, I thought I would share some insight into the world of PR and my journey so far, as an inside scoop from behind the scenes.

Public Relations or PR is the strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their public. Our job is to execute a strategy, helping a business cultivate a positive reputation through channels such as print, broadcast, social media and events.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in PR & Social Media

Natalie Kelly – PR Executive

I always knew I loved communications, I had always excelled in English at school and as soon as I saw a module at college for Communications and Culture, I was intrigued. The course felt as if I had taken the red pill in the Matrix, my eyes were open to the world and I loved it. The course did what it said on the tin, it covered all levels of communications (face-to-face, social media, political, strategic etc.) and cultural studies exploring societal groups and impacts with the crossover of the two. Once I started this course, I knew I had to continue, it felt as though I was able to look behind the curtains of society and started my excitement to work in the marketing field. So, it was a no brainer once I saw Communications, Society and Media as a joint honour available at one of my desired universities.

I got accepted to university and developed all the skills I had unearthed at college. We continued communication studies and really grasped the subject in a deeper capacity. Being a part of a generation where social media is as important as the air we breathe, the media studies came second nature. Each module unknowingly to us at the time realised academically possible career paths.

In my last year at university each student had to do a work placement, to use our learnt skills in a practical setting. I found a placement in a local building society in the marketing department, this was so insightful, and I took a strong interest to the PR role and all that it entailed, this solidified all my career aspirations, I knew this was for me. Once I finished university in the midst of a global pandemic, I knew I had to expand my skills before commencing my job search. I volunteered in a retail communications and marketing role at a big British charity – finally I was allowed to show creativity to drive traffic to the store and decided to organise an event for the store. Its success was so rewarding, and I knew that this was the career I wanted to continue. And so my passion for PR was born.

Is it what you expected?

No! As a graduate, during my degree we learnt and practised textbook PR methods and of course this is a big part of the role. Blog posts and press releases are an important task to promote clients and spread their message, this is something we do almost daily, however the reality is so much better. It’s much more glamourous, we can be creative, work on new campaigns, explore PR stunts and so much more. Every day presents totally different challenges, and it is so fun to work through them all. Media relations has also been a key part of my role and has built my confidence enormously. I know the contacts I am making now will be journalists I use for stories far into the future. Having an extensive ‘little black book’ is a huge part of this job.

Favourite part of the job?

Seeing my work published! Getting to see the story I have created, the words and photographs that I went out and researched, being put together in a newspaper is such a good feeling. It is so fulfilling knowing that the client will be happy and gives a great worthwhile feeling that I am doing my job well.

PR effectiveness takes time to evidence in terms of reporting for clients, however seeing your work in print or online is instant gratification for a young executive, it helps build confidence and gives a huge boost.

What is your least favourite part of the job?

This may sound cheesy but nothing. Every day holds a new task or challenge, and we are kept on our toes by client requests. Whether it’s researching opportunities, creating social media posts, or going out and creating a story to write a press release, the days are never boring and the ‘To Do’ list is never a chore.

What is something unexpected you have learnt?

Confidence is key, there are no bad ideas, just learning curves. As soon as I started gaining the confidence to voice my opinions, share work that I had written and send important reports to a client, I noticed that it came with less errors and more positive feedback. It is just important to get involved as even a simple idea is worth brining to the table as it just may be ground-breaking!

What would you tell someone who is interested in a career in PR & Social Media?

Go for it! I have enjoyed every moment I’ve experienced so far and am learning new skills every single day. This role is challenging, rewarding and really enjoyable role and great to wake up in the morning knowing that it’s never going to be just another day in the office!

I’ve now settled in and I know what is expected of me in my role as PR & Social Media Executive. I’m excited about the future and the growth opportunities that await me. It’s very early days but I intend to watch and learn from my colleagues, to absorb what’s going on around me and understand the wider role of communications.