Six months ago our first PR trainee joined us straight from Salford University. Jo had persuaded us with some quirky and well written emails (without typos!) to do some work experience late last year and I was suitably impressed, certainly enough to recognise her potential and offer her a place in our team. Read about her early experiences of PR at Firework PR, in her own words…
Starting my PR journey by Jo Molloy
My first six months working in PR has flown by. It feels like only yesterday that waking up at 12 was classified as early, ready meals were the height of exotic cuisine and watching Netflix until the early hours was just part of life. However, since May, my whole student life routine has gone out the window and I now constantly refresh my emails and (at the start!) found myself struggling to stay awake past 11.
Recently, I thought it would be a laugh to sign up to do Born Survivor, a 10k mud assault course. It wasn’t until I had completed the 2 hour long nightmare, that I realised there were quite a few parallels between throwing myself into a career in PR, and the gruelling army obstacle course. Using the names of some of these ridiculous obstacles, let me take you on the assault course that has been the last six months.
The Suffering (50m crawling uphill under barbed wire)
On 6th May, for the first time in 3 years at least, my alarm went off at 6:30am. I thought it was a joke or a bizarre mistake. But no, this was my life now. Getting into the routine of a professional workingwoman was a bit of struggle, but I will admit, a welcome one. The 12pm-3am days of a student were getting a bit boring now and I felt slightly out of touch with the world. Instead of immediately checking no embarrassing photos had been uploaded to Facebook, I now wake up reading business alerts and checking my junk folder. PR – and life at Firework PR – has taught me that you always need to be on the pulse and instead of spending hours on celebrity gossip sites, I now (rather shockingly) find it interesting to read the newspaper, blogs and clue up on the latest news stories.
The Klingon (balancing on a small plank on a wall suspended over muddy water)
(I’ve taken a nerdy Star Trek approach to this one)
Learning the language and lingo of PR was a high priority. I wouldn’t be fooling anyone if they asked for a white paper and I just handed them a white piece of paper. I think it took a good month or so before I felt I knew what everything meant. ‘Coverage report’, ‘KPI’, ‘press kit’, ‘ROI’, it was all a bit of an alien world at the beginning, but if you don’t fully immerse yourself, you’ll just be on cloud clueless forever. Talking of clouds, I am now so clued up on technology terms that I can hold a discussion about the importance of cloud computing for at least 5 minutes.
Drop Zone Alpha (monkey bars above water)
I was truly dropped in at the deep end and learnt an incredible amount in my first few weeks. I now write business appointment stories, blogs on charities using social media and organise spa reviews, and that’s just a glimpse. I love it. My writing skills are improving and I am learning so much about the real world. Succinct and relevant communication is key in PR and I now understand how important it is to maintain relationships in the professional world. A quick check-in email here and there, even if you have no new feedback, shows you are on the ball and in control, whilst uncovering new opportunities all the time.
The Blitz (running up a gigantic wall)
Over the summer, it was sometimes quite hard to concentrate. It was my first summer working full time and there were times when I did hit a wall and wish I was sat on the sofa for 6 weeks. Although on some days things weren’t going quite right, it was the highs, rewards and support from those around me that kept me going. Whether it was securing a great piece of coverage or receiving positive feedback on a piece of content – without too many amends – I can safely say I have climbed that wall, (both physically and metaphorically).
Around the 4-month point, I had achieved regional and national pieces of coverage, helped organise my first event and seen all aspects of PR from writing a proposal to weekly conference calls updating clients. We had won new clients and I finally felt the nerves go. My first event was very rewarding and I enjoyed establishing relationships with prominent figures in the media. I had reached the top of the seesaw.
The Finish Line
I am now fully settled into the routine of a 9-5 workingwoman and I am still loving everyday. I have learnt the basic ins and outs of an industry that is exciting and unpredictable. Although I have reached the finish line of Born Survivor, I know that my career in PR is just beginning.
Now onto my next obstacle, the tax return!