Working in PR: An insider’s view

By Maddy Birtles, Account Executive

Name, title and how long you’ve been at Whiteoaks

Maddy Birtles, Account Executive, have been at Whiteoaks for 1 year 9 months

In your current role, what does a typical day look like?

Every day can be different in PR, but a typical day in my current role usually starts with reading the morning papers and looking online for the latest headlines and news stories. From then, my day will involve a couple of weekly catch-up calls with clients, team meetings and brainstorms and speaking to lots of journalist in media to secure ops for clients; ranging from press releases, thought leadership articles, briefings, features and news hijacking.

How did you get into PR?

I worked as a marketing assistant prior to my first PR role at Whiteoaks. Having experienced marketing for a couple of years, I was keen to explore another avenue and I was always intrigued by the buzzy fast-paced environment surrounding PR. I saw Whiteoaks was recruiting for a Junior Account Executive, and the rest is history.

What did you study and how has it helped you grow your career?

I completed a marketing apprenticeship while working at my previous job, which not only gave me some great workplace experience, but also gave me the confidence to get myself out there and explore new opportunities and a career path in PR. I think the knowledge I gained and confidence I built helped me right from the interview stage and kick-started all the new skills I have learnt now.

Why PR?

I’ve always kept myself up to date with the news and what’s going on in the world, which plays a huge part in PR. I like getting creative and being able to use that creativity towards building a brand, and I like being part of that brand’s journey. Being in a PR agency environment also gives you such a variety of different clients and sectors to work with. I enjoy building my own knowledge on the wide industry landscape, as well using it to secure opportunities for clients.

What is the best part of your day?

Receiving good feedback from a client always boosts my day. Knowing that the results you and the team are delivering are having a positive impact for the client and making a real difference to their business is definitely a motivator for me.

What advice would you give to people who want to get into PR as a career?

If you’re keen to get into PR but don’t necessarily have the qualifications, don’t let this prevent you from getting your foot in the door, work experience goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to get creative, keep up with the news agenda and touch up on your social media profiles if you haven’t already – these are a great way to connect with journalists and others in the PR network, as well as build your own personal PR profile.

What do you like most about your current role?

Being in the thick of the excitement when you secure a great opportunity for your client has to be one the most enjoyable parts of the role. Collaborating with the team and coming up new ideas is also something I really enjoy.

If you didn’t work in PR, what would your ideal job be?

I’d be an interior designer and own a bakery on the side.