Our trainee PR executive, Molly Geddes shares her journey from graduating university to starting work in a fast-paced agency environment.
“Just six months ago I was still a registered student, creeping closer to the looming deadline for my Master’s thesis. Fast forward six months and I have landed national news coverage, been trained by media professionals and attended four awards ceremonies celebrating the best UK PR and Content industries have to offer – which is just an ordinary six months at BrandContent!
“I was very sure I wanted to begin my PR journey working within an agency. I was excited by the prospect of working on different tasks for different clients day-to-day, and life at BrandContent has certainly been no disappointment.
“Nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Llandaff just a few steps from the cathedral, BrandContent doesn’t look out of place on the quaint High Street from the outside. However, the atmosphere inside the office feels worlds apart from the street outside: it’s lively, busy and energetic. There’s always something going on, a campaign to work on or a meeting to be had, and there’s truly never a dull moment.
“When I began my role as trainee PR executive, I was not only new to agency life, but the world of comms full stop. Coming straight from University, I was starting from the beginning. In just half a year, I’ve developed a tremendous number of new skills and gained a much deeper understanding of the PR and Comms industry than I could have imagined when studying for my degree.
“One week, I might start on a Monday by collecting desk research, writing a press release or calling national news desks trying to secure media coverage. By Wednesday I might be attending client events at local landmarks and I could be contacting celebrity agents by Friday – no two days are the same!
“Working in an agency with such a diverse range of clients has also provided me with experience in a vast range of sectors and industries. I’ve worked on client campaigns spanning from tech, to financial services, to third sector and beyond.
“Having studied for four years at Cardiff University, studying both a BA in Journalism and an MA in PR and Communications, I felt equipped with strong foundations to enter the world of work. My journalism undergraduate provided me with a strong knowledge of the media landscape, such as how to identify newsworthy stories, understanding media laws and regulations and exposure to a range of media outlets.
“Studying PR at MA not only deepened my knowledge of the industry but allowed me to work on live client briefs under the supervision of my tutors. During the year long course, we were tasked to create a two-month, multi-platform digital campaign for a local business. This introduced me to maintaining good client relationships and meeting client briefs and expectations.
“Although my time at Cardiff University gave me a strong background to begin my role in PR, I’ve still found myself learning new things every single day for the last six months. PR is every bit as exciting and fast-paced as I expected, if not more!
“I’ve harnessed many of the skills required of a successful PR practitioner over the last 6 months, but I’ve also been able to assist on projects with a heavy focus on content and social media. I’ve worked on campaigns that use traditional PR, and some that have digital elements, for clients that focus on both B2C and B2B.
“One of the many perks of my job is the unlimited training budget available at BrandContent. I have the freedom to identify areas requiring professional development and the resources to be able to act on this. So far I’ve undertaken account management training, digital PR training, lessons about pitching from a national journalist and SEO training. Looking forward, I have Google Analytics training, selling-in training and personal Financial Advice booked into my calendar. Knowing that I can receive training in an area I am less confident in has played a huge part in my growth.
“I was not expecting agency life to include so many workplace perks. The culture at BrandContent is fantastic. The team has private healthcare, weekly fitness bootcamps and fresh fruit deliveries to keep fit, healthy and engaged. I’m also really motivated by the agency’s commitment to sustainability and tackling climate change. Our membership of the Climate Perks scheme, that allows us to take two paid journey days if we take an alternative method of transport to flying, is a workplace perk that I find extremely exciting.
“If I was able to give advice to myself six months ago, or to anyone starting out in PR and comms, I would say “always be confident”. When you are working in a new environment, in an area you have very little experience in, it’s very easy to hold back an idea or an opinion in fear that it’s not good enough.
“One thing I’ve learnt is that no idea in PR is a bad idea; even the smallest, most undeveloped ideas can spark inspiration that lead to something stronger.
“Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to anyone! Whether you need to contact a talent agent to get a public figure to work on your campaign or if you want to get a journalist to cover your piece; a phone call goes a long way.”