Author: Jack Birtwistle, Digital PR Executive
I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University just before the pandemic came into full swing in early 2020. And this meant I hadn’t used any of the skills I’d worked so hard to learn at university in my everyday life. That’s up until about two and half months ago, when I began my journey in Digital PR. And boy, have I used them since!
To help you start your own digital PR journey after graduation, I’ve put together some tips on what to focus on while you’re still learning. These will help prepare you for life in this industry, and what you won’t learn at university that you’ll need to know for working life…
Everyone’s heard the saying, “teamwork makes the dream work”… and in digital PR, this couldn’t be truer! One of the biggest and most important parts I’ve learned from my short time in Digital PR is that you need to be able to work in a team and communicate effectively with others. Without this, you’ll go nowhere fast.
So, if you’re like me and at university you just want to do all your work by yourself with as few group projects as possible, try and force yourself to take up more and work on those teamwork skills. Your future career in PR will thank you for it, I promise.
If you find that you’re not very good at working in a team or you don’t know what you need to improve on to be a good team player, Forbes has some great tips which could really help.
At university, being a creative person is a massive advantage as it allows you to think outside the box for your essays and projects. Essentially, this helps you stand out from the crowd. The same goes for working in digital PR.
To get the best results and make your campaigns stand out, you need to be as creative as possible. If you’re not a massively creative person, try engaging in brainstorming sessions at university or socialising with other people who are different to you. As they may provide you with different outlooks on things.
If you still struggle with your creativity when starting in this industry, my colleague, Leah Peploe, wrote a great article on how to maximise your creativity for your clients’ campaigns. And this will really help!
All your work at university is organised for you at the beginning of each year. You know what needs doing and by when (in most cases, anyway). You never really have to react to anything happening in the world unless it’s a major event, like a worldwide pandemic.
Whereas in the world of PR, you have to be constantly reacting and adapting to anything and everything in the news. This approach keeps your content relevant, and you can take advantage of potential campaigns that could arise as a result.
To help prepare yourself for this while you’re still at university, try downloading the BBC News app or something similar that sends news notifications to your phone. Even just going on Twitter and checking the trending page every now and again will help you get in the habit of keeping up with daily news.
It’s safe to say that most of the time at university, when you put the hours and the effort into a project or an essay, you get a good result back in terms of your mark. Even if you don’t get the result that you wanted back, your professor will give you feedback on what you could’ve done better to increase your mark. This means you can improve further in future!
But when working in digital PR, it can be completely different. There are times when you and your team will come up with a really great idea, put sheer effort into gathering the right contacts and spent a boatload of time outreaching it… for it to not do as well as the campaign you put together in a day. The most frustrating part is that you very rarely get feedback from journalists on your campaigns, so you never find out why it didn’t take off.
Nevertheless, don’t feel disheartened; it happens to literally everyone in Digital PR. And also, keep going. Staying positive and continuing to do the right things will get you the results your effort warrants, even if it does take a couple of ‘flops’ to get there!
These are just some comparisons between university life and life working in digital PR, to give some perspective on what it’s like for anyone considering this industry after graduation.
If you want to find out even more about the PR world and what it’s all about, check out some of the other articles in the c3 blog.