Case study

PR and social manager — Kay Brown

Kay, a University of Leeds communication studies graduate, tells us about her role as PR and social manager at Blueclaw

How did you get your job?

I speculatively responded to a tweet about another job that someone in my Twitter timeline was promoting. This led to a recommendation from a friend, which in turn meant that our chain of tweets appeared in the timeline of one of Blueclaw's directors.

After seeing the tweets, the director found my contact details via my blog. We arranged to meet about the company's content and PR manager vacancy. I was offered the job in my first interview and started a couple of weeks later.

My job has changed since my arrival in 2015. Following my return from maternity leave, I've become PR and social manager.

What's a typical day like as a PR and social manager?

I start by working through any unread emails and scouring the social media channels we manage for any interactions - these are generally from journalists requesting comments and information. I also keep on top of any news pieces related to digital or our client sectors.

The rest of my day usually consists of meetings about campaign performance and future planning. This involves working up creative concepts and ideas for new projects with my team and reviewing internal processes so we're maximising opportunities across client accounts.

When I'm at my desk, I'm generally switching between numerous tasks. These include liaising and chatting with journalists and bloggers, reviewing press releases and pitches, and compiling reports.

What do you enjoy about your job?

No day is the same. Depending on which client I'm working on, I could be researching high-end luxury holiday concepts for a content marketing proposal or turning the latest football statistics into a news story.

I like that I'm able to make an impact across so many different industries. I'd predominantly worked in-house for arts organisations and festivals before moving agency side, so I've massively developed my knowledge of trends and industry developments across a range of sectors.

It's great to have a company full of creatives and marketers to bounce ideas off - in previous in-house roles or when running my own business, I was often the only 'digital' person in the room.

What are the challenges?

Our clients expect a lot of us, and we expect a lot of ourselves.

Continually improving campaign performance can be a challenge - each success leads to higher expectations. Reviewing and reporting on work is often the most beneficial task; when you're juggling diverse client projects and managing a team, it can sometimes feel difficult to step outside of our bubble. I quickly learned that blocking time out in calendars is a good way of making sure everything gets done.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree consisted of modules on the history of journalism, radio and media ethics. This knowledge has supported my approach when getting in touch with journalists for coverage.

It has also encouraged my interest in delving deeper into subjects for angles, which helps when we're seeking coverage for a project that might not originally be an easy sell.

Taking an analytical and critical approach, weighing up sources and being able to write persuasively and engagingly has definitely helped massively.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has become more specialised this year, which is allowing us to develop services that we've not offered clients before. We have more in-depth knowledge in areas such as data journalism and image-led social platforms.

I'd like to be more involved in the organisation of events, contributing to steering groups and working my way up to a creative director role.

How do I get into PR?

I have three key tips:

  • Be nosey - take an interest in what is going on in the city around you and learn who is connected, so you can understand how business networks collaborate.
  • Develop your writing skills - whether you set up your own blog, contribute to another website or write for yourself, it's important that you learn to write for different audiences and can communicate with a wide range of people.
  • Don't be afraid to phone people - relationships are central to PR and social media, and we often build better relationships when we can respond to the nuances in our voices or body language. One of the best things that happened to me on a PR placement when I was at university was that I was given the task of doing follow up calls. I had zero confidence to begin with, but it forced me to get over my fear and now it is second nature.

Find out more