Case study

Publicist — Emily Payne

As a publicist working in broadcast PR, Emily's job can be fast-paced, challenging and very rewarding. Discover her top tips for getting a job in public relations

What degree did you study?

I studied public relations at the University of Greenwich, graduating in 2012.

How did you get your job?

I did various work experience placements in the entertainment sector of the industry before getting a full-time job at an entertainment PR agency. Following this, I applied for my current job as a publicist for a television broadcaster and have now been there for over six years.

How relevant is your degree?

My degree gave me a strong understanding of how the industry works, how your job can vary from sector to sector and the best practice for working with the media. I also developed important skills such as writing for different audiences. The knowledge and skills I gained formed a great foundation for the position I'm in now.

What's a typical working day like?

It can really vary depending on what you're working on and what point the campaign is at. It could involve writing a strategy, arranging press interviews, organising a screening event, media training actors, writing press releases or synopses, or dealing with a potential press issue.

However, the first thing I always do is check my emails and go through the press cuttings which are sent overnight. This means I'm aware of any coverage for something I'm working on or any possible issues for the wider genre/channel that I need to be across.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the variety of the job and how fast-paced and reactive it can sometimes be. You can plan your day but in the world or PR, things can often quickly change or issues can arise. It keeps you on your toes.

What are the challenges?

It can be hard to switch off from the job as the media operates 24/7 so urgent press queries can come in at any time. With programmes going out in the evening and over the weekend, it means you always have to keep an eye on things. This is just the nature of working in PR, especially in a job that works so closely with the media.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I always find this a really hard question to answer because the PR industry is constantly changing. We're much more focused on digital media, influencers and social media now than we were five years ago, making it hard to say how the industry could look in five years' time. However, I hope I'm still in a job that I am challenged by and enjoy.

What advice can you give to others?

  • Network - it's really important to get your name out there and show that you're interested in the industry. I think doing your dissertation on the sector you're hoping to work in is a great start as not only does it show your interest, but it will also help you to meet people who already work there and could be a potential employer.
  • Learn about the media - it's important to know about the different publications, how they work and what they're interested in. Take the time to understand how the press works: what is the news gathering process and what are the deadlines? It's also good to know about the latest digital platforms, social media and new ways of promoting content which don't just rely on print media.
  • There's not always a right or wrong way - while every job and organisation is different, don't overthink doing things the traditional or 'right' way. PR is ever-changing and audiences can easily get bored of the same old thing, so it's important to try new things and go with your gut feeling.

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