Cameron Shaw, masters graduate and Engage PR co-ordinator
My past five months as a PR co-ordinator with Engage PR has been a hugely insightful professional experience. I was already confident in my ability to write, having done my degree in English and Linguistics, and masters courses in PR and Corporate Communication. However, I had to unlearn much of what I knew about academic writing, and take on board new methods for constructing impactful and informative media-ready copy.
Learning to write press release content in an active work environment was pretty daunting at first. Adapting the skills I had acquired at university and applying them to professional content was an uneasy process. It was a transition from writing long-form academic pieces to paring down paragraphs into succinct copy that would be read by more than my lecturers. Initially, getting the hang of the expected writing conventions was an ongoing discovery process. Yet knowing the areas where I needed to improve helped me to become better equipped for the tasks at hand.
Working fast, accurately and effectively is an asset when creating PR strategy and content. I had been used to taking my time over any writing I produced, so turning this around and getting stuck right into a task, doing the best that I could each time, was a lesson in letting go of control and focusing on the process of writing what is needed most by the client.
I’ve also learned the benefits of being proactive: of meeting the requirements of your client consistently, and of being a step ahead of what they expect from you. That way, you’re showcasing your value to them as part of an overall strategy for the business. Consistent communication with clients is important to maintaining a great relationship and improving your chances of delivering successful campaigns.
Within Engage PR, asking the right questions and making thoughtful decisions – whether right or wrong – gave me more confidence in my ability. I find I’m learning all the time.
Though most of my experience was focused on social media, and press release content, Engage PR has emphasised the need for innovative perspectives towards campaigns.
I’m grateful to James Donaldson, at Engage PR, for the supportive feedback he has offered during this experience, even through the limitations imposed during the covid-19 lockdown. It’s been surprising what has been achieved during this virtual engagement, but as the old saying goes: ‘if you never try, you never know’.
Cameron Shaw worked one day a week [paid] at Engage PR in the first half this year. Engage has supported a number of graduates with employment, short-term contracts and work experience in recent years. Cameron is now undertaking a business and coaching course. Good luck, Cameron.