Taking the path to a new form of creativity
“Are you going to be a teacher?”
The words every English student hears at least once in their life. Ironically, I did enter into my first year at university thinking I would become an English teacher. That was until I visited my old school and a teacher bluntly told me, “Don’t do it!”
After this, my mind turned to marketing. I wanted to be able to use my analysis and creative writing skills in my future career, and this seemed like a logical path to take. At this point, PR hadn’t really crossed my mind. I’d always been on the shy side and the thought of phone calls made me recoil. Copywriting was the obvious choice.
However, then I got a PR internship. The interview was for a general intern role and I had no idea where they would place me. It was purely by chance that I was put in the PR part of the agency, and I haven’t looked back since.
Many people don’t know what PR consists of. I didn’t either at first. It’s portrayed on TV and in films as a parodically glamourous lifestyle full of dinners, drinks and demanding clients. This isn’t wholly accurate.
I didn’t realise how much copywriting was involved in PR. It’s allowed me to further develop my writing skills and taught me how to make any topic engaging.
Plus, the variety of clients you come across means you’re constantly learning as you write. Your brain is always soaking up new information, giving you a ridiculously varied, if rather niche, collection of knowledge. From telematics to intellectual property, the world of PR is certainly never dull.
Seeing the article, or even the social posts, you’ve written published is amazing. It’s an instant feeling of accomplishment, and I think that’s rare to find in many jobs. Being able to create interesting content about a topic that you initially had no clue about is incredibly gratifying and knowing that people are reading your work gives you the feeling of being an author, without having to write the novels.
Writing was my comfort zone, making phone calls was not. However, I’ve become relaxed about them surprisingly quickly. As a generation, 20-something-year-olds seem to have a fear of ringing people. It really isn’t as scary as I thought. In fact, I actually quite enjoy it now. I’ve had some great conversations with journalists, including one about the birthday of a publication’s office dog. Even the less successful calls can bring a bit of entertainment; my personal favourite was being told “We deal in NEWS not OLDS.” It seems that being 30 mins behind the curve for this journalist was not ok – not every story is going to work for every journalist!
If you are about to graduate, whether an English student or not, and you know that you want to be creative, then consider entering into PR. Creativity isn’t limited to being a poet or a screen-writer, it can certainly be found in a communications role too.