Editor to PR and back again

What a difference a few years can make. If someone would have told me two years ago that in 2018 I would be sitting in a PR role, I would have laughed in their face. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with PR,  but it was my understanding back then that there is no job in the world that can come close to being an editor.

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How wrong and ignorant I was.

I write this with now 16 months worth of PR and marketing experience as an Account Manager under my belt. Within that time I have travelled the world, discovered raw and original stories and made them into newsworthy headlines. I have helped to amplify whole islands and I have pitched a survey showing that 23 per cent of UK runners would eat caterpillar fungus in order to run further. I helped create, organise, manage and PR Barbados’ first ever beach and wellness festival and even led the pre-launch a nutritional mouth rinse in Hawaii. In addition, I also led a social media campaign in the attempt to make it into the Guinness World Record history books and not forgetting the time when I wrote and seeded the press release announcing Alistair Brownlee’s debut into long-distance triathlon racing. And yet still people call PR lazy.

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I have led a creative team at Sponge Marketing to help promote our incredible clients to new and wider audiences. In doing so, I have had the privilege of meeting the most incredible people – clients, influencers, ambassadors and journalists alike – who have made every day enjoyable and made every single email, phone call and wetransfer worthwhile.

Despite all the highs, and a few lows (every industry has them), I have to be honest and say that within my role and during my time here I have always missed the editorial desk – and it’s no secret. I miss seeing a byline, I miss interviewing the experts and I miss writing articles. Press releases just aren’t the same.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 13.05.17.pngImage credit: Sponge Marketing

Drum roll please… I am delighted to announce that I am the new editor of Hotel Designs. As former features editor of SPACE, I know the industry well and I am over the moon to be able to reconnect with old friends while being at the helm to steer the online platform into a new direction. Before I leave, though, I want to make a vow that I will never be ‘that editor’ who looks down on PR as an necessary evil. I will prove that not every editor suffers from ‘editoritis’.

I have lost count how many times I have heard people slate PR and marketing agencies. To be fair, I have also lost count as to how many times I have heard PR experts slate journalists. One thing is certain, other than me being terrible at counting, and that is that one cannot work without the other. These relationships keep media content exciting and relevant.

So before I hang up my PR hat, I would like to put a few statements straight.

1. “PR is easy.” False. I world argue that PR and marketing is the most challenging role in the media. While relationships are relatively easy to make and develop (if you are nice and genuine), securing press is a whole other matter. KPIs in PR are largely determined on column inches. Therefore, the big obstacle standing in between you and your client being satisfied is an editor making the decision on whether to bin your press release or publish it. This is somewhat frustrating when you know if your head that the piece of content would do wonders for their engagement. But seeing as “the editor is always right”, it doesn’t ever tend to be worth losing sleep over it, but we do anyway!

2. “Spending money on PR and marketing is unnecessary.” False. Behind closed doors of a PR agency are a dedicated workforce networking with key journalists and publications. The account managers passionately believe in the success of their client’s product/business and will almost stop at nothing to secure editorial coverage.

3. “People who work in PR are failed journalists.” False. I would argue that, as a PR Account Manger, I was doing more ‘journalism’ than many other journalists. Not to be read as dig, this is because I was selecting key and strong editorial hooks that were newsworthy and engaging. I was pitching to the journalists, so had to ensure that what I was putting forward was thoroughly researched and investigated. If I had a byline for every time a journalist copy and pasted my press release, I would technically be a freelance journalist myself.

4. “Anyone can do PR.” False. This simply is not true. You have to be organised, calm under pressure, have the ability to pitch to disinterested editors and always put your client forward. Even with all those skills covered, you also have to be able to make quick and sharp decisions most of the time on behalf of your client.

5. “Everything happens for a reason.” True. Despite how much I enjoy this fast-paced world of PR and marketing, I am delighted at the thought of checking back into the hotel design industry as an editor. I look forward to rediscovering trends, opinions and award-winning craftsmanship. I genuinely believe that my experience in PR and Marketing – being able to see the media from both sides – will help me to become an even better editor.

And in the words of everyone’s favourite fictional editor, “that is all.”

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