As always, our expert series gives an unrivalled insight into the creative, digital, and tech industries, and acts as a microscope into what a real job can look like. In this week’s sit-down, we chatted with Fourth Day PR’s, Danny Ward, as he told us everything there is to know about a job in PR. Here’s how it went…
AA: Hi Danny, thanks for joining today! Shall we get started?
DW: Yes, please.
AA: So, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
DW: I’ve been in the PR industry for about 5 years now but before I came into the industry, I finished a French and English degree at the University of Nottingham and that’s where my love for language and writing began. After university, I got into PR through a two-week internship with Fourth Day and from there it sort of snowballed! I worked at the agency part-time over the summer helping the team out and from that, I landed my full time job.
AA: Great! What does Fourth Day do exactly?
DW: So, we’re an international B2B PR agency, working primarily with tech companies. Our bread and butter is media relations: getting good stories out there for businesses and helping to raise brand awareness through PR campaigns. As well as this, a lot of what we do is actually creating and writing the content to be shared with media in the form of a press release or thought leadership piece. That’s the core, but there are a lot of different things around that! For example, managing clients’ social media accounts or LinkedIn profiles, and getting out to networking events. It’s quite a broad range of stuff that we do.
AA: Interesting! What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
DW: The first thing I’ll do is check my emails and make sure nothing urgent has come through, then scout over the news, which is a huge part of the job because we need to be aware of anything significant that has happened that we could perhaps latch onto. Then, generally it’s about keeping in contact with clients on a day to day basis, so it might be that they want to get a news story out on a certain day, in which case we’ll work with them to draft up a press release and build up a media list to send that out. There might also be an interview that needs to be set up between a client and a journalist, or planning campaigns for each account to make sure the content is fresh and cuts through the noise of everything else.
AA: And what skills do you think are needed to get into PR?
DW: I’d definitely say writing is a big one and although it’s not exclusive, it filters through the entire role in a PR agency. Good communications skills are key and having an awareness of the news, being able to keep on top of research, and making sure you’re aware of what’s going on is important. With this, it helps to constantly be building your relationships with journalists so that they know you’re a reliable person to get information from. Of course, social media is a big one now, so it helps to know your way around that. Overall, just the willingness to get stuff done and be proactive rather than reactive is massive in PR.
AA: Any advice for those looking to start their careers?
DW: I think building a presence online is key at the moment. LinkedIn has become a key platform for building your profile and even as a graduate, it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about the content you can use on there. Nothing cringey, though! Also, I think there’s value in practicing your writing skills through personal blogs – even if only one person reads it, you’ve got something to bring to an interview and show the company that you are a proactive writer.
AA: Amazing! Thanks so much for your time, Danny.
DW: My pleasure!