Authored by University of Sunderland PR and French graduate Arianne Williams to practice her working skills in university holidays, PR Professional in Training is an online portfolio and advice blog. In this spotlight, Arianne, who recently appeared on our top 10 UK PR blogs by women, chats to us about how she got into blogging, working in PR, why she is optimistic about the inequalities faced by women in the PR industry, and why she thinks PR software companies like Vuelio are important.
Can you introduce yourself and speak a little about your professional background? I’m currently an Account Executive at KOR Communications, a PR and communications agency based in Exeter. I graduated in July 2016 with a BA Hons in Public Relations and French from the University of Sunderland and worked for a digital and PR agency in Newcastle before deciding to return back to my home county of Devon.
How did you get into blogging? I started my blog as I was looking for a way to keep my mind working and to keep practising key skills during the university holidays. After getting a positive response to my work, I decided to carry on alongside my degree and keep up a regular stream of posts.
I started out blogging about industry news, key skills and interesting campaigns, but over time it has evolved into a blog that also offers advice for PR students
What do you most like about working in PR? What are the challenges? The thing I enjoy most is that working in PR requires so many different skills and encompasses pretty much every single industry, so every day is different. I thoroughly enjoy copywriting and still get that buzz seeing my work for clients in print and online. I am also really interested in the digital side to PR that is becoming more and more prevalent.
I think one of the main challenges that I have faced so far is getting to know a client’s industry inside out. In order to provide them with the best service, you have to become an expert on whatever sector they work in, which may not be something that you know so much about initially.
Why should people read your blog? What makes your blog different from other PR blogs? I’d encourage PR students to read my blog as I give really honest and real opinions on what doing a degree is really like and how I made it through. Hopefully people will learn from my challenges and struggles! I also share my thoughts, opinions and ideas on key trends or news in the industry, so anyone with an interest in PR should find it an interesting read.
Even statistics show that women make up the majority of the PR industry, there are still inequalities that face women such as the gender pay gap. What are your thoughts on this? The fact that there are more women in PR I don’t think this is the issue, it’s an industry that perhaps suits women more and that more women enjoy. However, the gender pay gap is a real problem in the industry and quite simply isn’t fair – if you’re doing the same job, you deserve the same wage. In my experience, working for smaller agencies, it fortunately appears to be less of an issue than what you hear from the wider industry. Perhaps this is where these larger organisations can look to the smaller ones as an example on equality and structure.
Aside from the gender pay gap and diversity in PR, what other challenges are currently facing the industry in 2017? The pace at which the industry is changing and evolving is a challenge for practitioners, having to keep on top of new disciplines, trends and updates. There’s no question about the fact that PR is moving more towards digital, however I personally feel there is still value and life in newspapers and the more ‘traditional’ PR tactics, it just needs to be carefully integrated as part of an overall strategy.
What big trends do you think we will see this year in relation to PR? I think we’re going to see a huge surge in video content – even more so than in previous years. It presents a way to reach new audiences and share messages in a different way, which is a great opportunity for PR.
What is the best way for PRs to demonstrate ROI in 2017? It’s difficult to say as I think different clients see value in different things. Agreeing a set of communications objectives that align with overall business objectives, then monitoring, analysing and reporting based on that, will demonstrate ROI in a way that is relevant to that client.
What do you think about PR software companies like Vuelio? I think they are great! With software and tools like these, it allows PRs to work more accurately and efficiently, which can only be a good thing. Many also provide a space for bloggers to reach out to PRs and vice versa, assisting with collaboration and, quite simply, great content opportunities.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any exciting new projects? I’m currently working on a new home for my blog on my own website (rather than the current WordPress site.) This is giving me the opportunity to re-vamp the design and refine what content I am sharing, so hopefully you’ll be seeing bigger and better things soon!