Georgia Callahan is a friend of Agency Iceberg’s and is starting her career in Public Relations. When the time came to get some tactical insight into the PR industry, she sat down with me to chat about the industry and what students could expect on graduating.
In today’s contemporary media landscape it is difficult for new PR graduates to know what to expect when entering the workforce. Will this be like other jobs I have had? Or is working in communications on a whole other level?
Georgia: “What are working conditions like for media professionals in todays media landscape?
Anna: “Competitive. Getting cut through in media is increasingly competitive, so PR’s are required to be honest and constructive with their clients as to what content they need to be relevant. They need exceptional communication skills and the ability to be adaptable.
“The industry is incredibly fast paced. What is newsworthy one day is not news the next. Media professionals are aware of this and don’t take rejection personally. Even when coverage is secured, it can get bumped for a bigger news story (breaking news, high profile story, emergency).”
Have these conditions changed over the past 10 years?
“News moves at such a rapid rate and how people receive and share news has completely changed. News is instantaneous and media professionals need to be comfortable in a fast paced environment and respond to major news if it aids their clients objectives.”
How has social media influenced the work/life balance of media professionals?
“News is generated 24 / 7 and media professionals know opportunity could strike at any time. Managing boundaries around work / life balance can be exceptionally challenging for a PR who needs to be constantly on the look out for opportunities for their clients (as well as proactive creative media opportunities).
“PR and media professionals are especially prone to overworking. In an industry that doesn’t sleep, PR’s can find this very challenging to switch off.”
Could you provide me with any industry specific examples of how social media influences media professionals?
“I know that I need to be flexible to attract and retain the best staff in the industry.
“At Agency Iceberg, we have a team of contractors and part timers who work at different times that work with their schedules and around parenting requirements. This means they are able to balance their work with the important things in life while getting the job done. We also have working arrangements that allow people to work from home.”
How does Iceberg combat over working?
“At Agency Iceberg, we’re incredibly cognisant of needing time out, regardless of industry. In recruitment, especially for PR’s, we are often required to deliver results at a moments notice so need to be firing with all engines. We therefore encourage our team to take quarterly breaks; pens are always down at 4pm on Fridays and team members are encouraged to take longer breaks during the day or leave early to make time for exercise or time out to balance it out.”
What can PR graduates expect when entering the workforce?
“PR is a very fast paced industry requiring confident professionals who have a thick skin and creativity.
PR’s need to be aware that their clients pay for placements and don’t always understand the process. A good PR will educate the client while balancing that with delivering results.
“PR’s also have to remember a high level of detail across lots of different industries and be able to retract that information at a moments notice, so must be comfortable working on the fly. On any given day, PR’s can be working across a number of different topics so need to be well read and across their clients messages intimately to relay this to a journalist at a moments notice.”