Throughout my four years of journalism, I constantly repeated the line ‘I could never work in PR’, the pressure, the long hours at events, the quick-thinking responses to difficult questions and accommodating journalists; from arranging interviews with experts to knowing their exact dietary requirements. ‘I could never work in PR’. I now work in PR.
It’s been nearly 2 years since I leapt to the darkside of PR and I haven’t looked back. At first I was expecting girls in 80s shoulder padded Prada suits with looks to kill, however I was relieved to meet friendly faces and not a scare-mongering blazer in sight. PR seemed extremely hard work when I was on the other side of the beauty press fence, and I wasn’t wrong, but deadlines, pressure and pace have always been essentials for my desired career, so it works for me.
True, I have no PR degree, and had little PR experience (apart from breakfasts at Dean St Townhouse with all my favourite PRs). So, my training was observing and learning from the PR agencies and executives I had worked with in the past. Luckily, my memory is quite sharp, so I remember events I attended as a journalist, creative mailers and invites, and PRs who had the right balance of friendliness (without the ‘OH MY GOD I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN AGES LETS MEET UP! When I’d never met them), and the right balance of pitching, (if I had a pound for everytime a PR phoned with the dreaded line ‘what are you working on? I would be sipping a cocktail on my very own island somewhere). I have taken these very good and very ugly examples of PR to mould my own way of working. My writing experience is extremely useful for daily alerts and press releases; in fact, I get to write more now than when I was a journalist…you do the math.
The line between Journalism and PR is as blurred as a Miley Cyrus video, and I believe if you have experience in one area it’s easy to translate this over. Another feather in my journalist cap was my little black book of beauty journalists. Over the years of sharing canapés and moisturiser samples, I managed to build friendships with a lot of other journalists. Since being in PR this has been extremely helpful, as my journalist pals seem relaxed with me and know that they can count on me if they need help and fast!
I believe that there should be one day a year where Journalists and PRs have to swap jobs, so they know what works best for the other and realise the biggest kept secret in this industry… (The two roles aren’t that much different!). This is why I’m so lucky to have experienced both sides, but for now I’m quite comfy where I am.
Elizabeth Doherty, CCD Beauty Senior Account Executive