Oh the sun is shining in Devon, my coffee is steaming on my desk in my favourite Sara Miller mug, and Emma Hull is on stage talking about her life in the PR world.
Over to Emma……….and read to the bottom, I love her motto!
Let’s get started by you tell me a bit about you and your work.
I work in digital PR for Foundation and its parent brand, Liberty Marketing. I work with clients in a number of sectors including eCommerce, property, beauty and finance with the main goal to get my clients some seriously hot backlinks, giving their website some authority and ultimately boosting their rankings. I do this by creating content campaigns where we collate unique bits of data and push it out to the press, working on thought leadership and opinion pieces for relevant websites and working with bloggers on a range of guest posts and product placements.
What is your morning routine before you get to your desk?
Nothing too exciting – check Instagram and the news (briefly – usually through Twitter and BBC!) before getting up to shower and get dressed. When working from home, I still make sure to shower and get ready for my day so that I don’t feel slugging and sloppy.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk?
COFFEE! I settle down with a morning coffee and then spend the first half hour of my day actually checking the news a bit more broadly. Different news outlets, different industries, different PR sites. This is so that I know exactly what is happening in the world for my clients to comment on, and so that I know what’s going on in the lives other PR professionals. I love seeing what campaigns other agencies have been working on!
Tongue in cheek question, what does a typical day look like for you?
No two days with me are the same, which is why I love it! As mentioned, my day always normally starts off with checking the news and going through my emails, followed by going through journalist request services to see if there are any requests that my clients could help with. Once that’s all over, it changes day by day. Some days, I can spend hours gathering data and putting together a campaign for a client, with press lists and press releases, but other days can be fairly bitty. Other days can be spent by prospecting future backlink opportunities, doing a load of competitor research and pitching products to journalists to include in some of their review pieces. It really does depend on what I feel like doing that day – which is what makes agency life so enjoyable!
What do you see as the biggest challenges for PR at the moment?
Over the past year, I’m getting a lot more ‘sorry I no longer work here’ emails. There have sadly been a lot of redundancies in the past year amongst journalists, which makes pitching campaigns much harder. Those that would once have their work load split between two or three others in the team, are now single handedly trying to produce the same amount of articles, but also receive three times as many pitches from those in the PR world. It makes pitching a lot more competitive and you really need to make your pitch worth opening with a catchy subject line, and also something that’s worth covering over everyone else’s story too.
How do you deal with the stress of your work?
Sometimes, it’s worth reminding myself that I’m working in PR and I’m not a surgeon. I do get stressed, but some of the pressure is relieved by reminding myself that the worst thing that can happen in my job is that a campaign may not get picked up, or someone may say something mean about a client online. There are a lot worse things that can go wrong in other jobs!
We know working in PR can be stressful, how do you look after yourself, as well as your clients?
Making sure to actually switch off! At the beginning of the pandemic, and working from home, it was so easy to just work through my lunch, and then at the end of the day, log back in for an hour or two. This was a time that I was starting to feel really overloaded with work, but realistically, that was all my own doing. I now take walks in my lunch – I’ve just come back from one! – and after work I ensure to leave my laptop at the office now that we’ve returned, or to put it in a bag and away. Now that I’m taking these regular breaks, I don’t get any afternoon slumps and I definitely feel like I’ve got my free time back!
What plans do you have for the rest of 2021?
I’m happy where I am at the moment as I’ve recently become a senior at Liberty and I’m able to help and guide new PR professionals that we take on. It would be nice to take on some new clients in the beauty sector for Foundation and be able to help them push their brands even further, through both PR and affiliate links. Beauty clients are always fun for me because not only is it something I’m passionate about, but it means that I get to work with publications that I actually read and love too!
What advice would you have for someone looking to start a PR career?
Make sure you have some knowledge in the digital sector, it will really help you exceed more than if you only have knowledge in traditional PR. Traditional PR is great, it’s where I started, but digital is definitely becoming more of a need and desire for businesses and brands. Know the basics like backlink building, what makes a great backlink and how backlinks work with SEO.
What motto do you live and work by?
“If Britney can get through 2007, then you can get through today” – I have both a mug and a frame on my wall that says this. I love Britney which makes this quote extra applicable, but it’s really important to remember that there are people going through things that are a lot worse than you most of the time, and never to let stress get on top of you too much. Easier said than done – but it’s definitely something I think about when I’m having a crying moment!
Massive thanks to Emma, and if you would like to be part of this series, drop me a line and let’s chat.
Have a great day,