Stop and listen to the birds!

May 19, 2015 by

Wood PIgeons

It was just one of those weekend days that I stopped and actually listened – I keep trying to remember that I have two ears and one mouth, so I am trying to spend more time focusing on the ‘two‘ rather than ‘one‘.

My Mum still lives in our wonderful family home with a magical garden,  and there is still that smell in the garden that I recall as a child – it smells of hope and being grateful for lovely happy days.

Arthur Ransome - Pigeon PostI remember thinking I hope heaven has a garden like this (I was probably 6) – as I looked up from reading Arthur Ransome’s “Pigeon Post” under the trees.

So there I was a few weeks ago and I stopped –  and heard what sounded like the same wood pigeons, on the same branches, on the same beech trees  – having the same conversations.

Whoo hoooo whooo hoooo ho ho” the four long throaty tweets followed by two shorter tweets. Then cousin pigeon replies with exactly the same four long throaty tweets followed by two shorter tweets. It was exactly the same noises the wood pigeons made years ago, and again I had the same feelings of hope and being grateful.

The pigeons have no clue about their tweeting and how their conversations made me feel.

Things have changed a lot since “Pigeon Post” but the tweets on the branch made me smile, and made me feel better on a day that hadn’t started so great.

Sometimes it’s good to just stop and listen..

Aisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

Announcing Networking hub for Entrepreneurs – NOTwork!

May 19, 2015 by

DKANE 18/05/2015 REPRO FREE. Ernest Cantillon, Director at BTS Recruitment, Eabha OÕLeary Fitzpatrick, BTS Hospitality, Edel Cox, Fuzion Communications, Gillian Keating, Chair Cork City Centre Forum, Raymond Alcom, Exceedence, M‡ire Ni Cr—in’n, Manager Gateway UCC Business Incubation Centre, Alice D'Arcy, STEAM Education at the launch of NOTwork, a new social hub for young entrepreneurs. The first event which is being hosted by Ernest Cantillon in Sugar Cube from 6pm to 7:30pm on Thursday 28th May, will be free of charge and will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to come and mix with like-minded local and international entrepreneurs, all at various stages in their businesses. ItÕs the brainchild of Gillian Keating, Chairperson of the Cork City Centre Forum.  ÒThere is a growing momentum to show just how much is going on in the city centre, from recent high profile commercial and retail developments, to businesses connecting more with festivals and events and I just thought that with so many young entrepreneurs working and living in the city centre, it would be a good idea to bring them together in a strictly social arena to enjoy each otherÕs company and the buzz of activity on the South Mall. Pic Darragh Kane.

A new social hub for young entrepreneurs is launching on the South Mall, called NOTwork.  The first event which is being hosted by Ernest Cantillon in Sugar Cube from 6pm to 7:30pm on Thursday 28th May, will be free of charge and will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to come and mix with like-minded local and international entrepreneurs, all at various stages in their businesses.

It’s the brainchild of Gillian Keating, Chairperson of the Cork City Centre Forum.  “There is a growing momentum to show just how much is going on in the city centre, from recent high profile commercial and retail developments, to businesses connecting more with festivals and events and I just thought that with so many young entrepreneurs working and living in the city centre, it would be a good idea to bring them together in a strictly social arena to enjoy each other’s company and the buzz of activity on the South Mall.

Gillian added “For the first session we are going to bring some well-known entrepreneurs to the event, who are really excited about having the opportunity to just hang out and chat to the people, we will have some music, a few board games and cards, table tennis going on, no real agenda just a chill out space which encourages rather than forces connections, chat and a bit of craic.”

“I got the idea from talking to a few people who feel the same as me; that if we put on activities, people will come; and where better than in the heart of our business district, the South Mall.  When I approached people like Greg and Deirdre from Fuzion and Ernest from Electric they immediately came on board as all are strong advocates of promoting just how great a place the South Mall is to work and to play.  Myriam Cronin, Manager of the GATEWAY UCC’s Business Incubation programme also has been very proactive in her support as has Ronan Murphy from Smarttech who is also Chairman of it@Cork, Jerry O’Brien of Radisens Technology and Pat Phelan of Trustev who have already agreed to come along on the night and connect with other Cork entrepreneurs.”

Entry to NOTwork is free of charge, but as space is limited people are being asked to pre-register for the first event on Thursday 28th May.  Just follow @NOTworkHub on twitter and facebook for further information and to book online go to https://notworkhub.eventbrite.ie

Five things my mum taught me about business and life!

May 11, 2015 by
My mum at 18, modelling with style her dad's cap, glasses & walking stick!!

My mum at 18

I was feeling a little lonely last week as it was the 5th anniversary of my mum passing.  My mum, Joan Waldron was the first female entrepreneur I came in contact with and the older I get the more I appreciate her work ethic, her tenacity and her passion for business.  

Here is what she taught me, that has helped me become a better business person:-

Lesson No 1: Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Around 1969 my mum and dad moved to Tralee after their business went bust in Mallow.  Mum would have been In her late 30’s with five kids under the age of 13, with no job and no real prospects, apart from the most tenacious approach to business I have ever come across.

Dad wasn’t working and they were both still licking their wounds from the failure of their business, but she knew she couldn’t wallow for long, knowing she had seven hungry mouths to feed.  In the town on Castle Street she spotted a grotty, near closed down chip shop.

Even though she had no money, she knocked on the door of the house nextdoor to see what the story was about the place, found out that they were the owners and on the spot made a sweetheart of a deal to take over the business – including negotiating for a ton of potatoes thrown in on the deal for good measure!!!

With absolutely no funds, wearing her only “good” suit she visited the bank manager (a family friend) who gave her a small collateral free business loan.  (Ah, the good old days of banking!!!)

Dad had thought she had lost the plot by opening a chip shop and I think he thought by discouraging her, she would come up with a plan B.  She didn’t.  She just rolled up the sleeves, negotiating with tradesmen and suppliers to make the place respectable,

The opening day, came, dad still refused to entertain the notion, so she went off and she opened on her own.  Within half an hour, dad same in, said nothing, just rolled up his sleeves, went behind the counter and started serving up the chips!!!  And he remained by her side in the various businesses that they had until he passed away in 1991.

Mum and dad would always say they never made more money than they did in that little chip shop!  Mum spotted an opportunity, it was really tough going, but it made her stronger and even brought herself and dad closer.

Lesson No 2: The value of networking

Mum and dad thrived in Tralee, moving from the little chip shop to “The Central Grill” one of the first restaurants in Tralee in the early 1970’s on a prime corner location in the centre of town and in 1984 bought a little hotel in Fenit, which had an excellent restaurant and bar trade.

Mum and dad didn’t do much advertising, had never heard of PR, but were brilliant at promoting their business through networking with the local business community and people.

My mum joined the local Bridge Club; after a few years she became President of the local Soroptimist Club and networked to an inch of her life!  She encouraged my dad to join the local Rotary club and he went on to be local President of that organisation the same year she was President of the Soroptimists.

I swear Frank Underwood would have been very proud of her – in a positive way!!!.

She organised meetings on our premises, held bridge parties, where members could sample the food and get into the habit of considering our restaurant for any family or business events.  The Central Grill and later on the Lighthouse in Fenit became one of the leading places for family occasions and a lot of that was down to my mum’s ethos of networking and using her personal contacts to bring in more business.

Back then it’s the same as it is now – people like to deal with people and the best way to close a deal is the same and its to engage with a client or prospect on a one to one basis.  My mum taught me that.

Lesson No 3: Make sure they leave with a smile on their face

Growing up in the hospitality sector gives you great abilities around reading people – the good tippers, the stingy people who would order hot water and bring their own tea bag (seriously!), the couple who were on a first date or in the middle of a fight; the people who you could tell even by the way they walked in the door whether they were going to be nice or difficult.

We could also always tell a bluffer, where people would try anything to get out of paying for a meal. Mum taught us how important it was to listen to our customers complaints and handle them all with courtesy and if at all possible make sure they left feeling that their grievance was heard and dealt with.

She would say, if they have a good experience they will tell two or three people but if they went out feeling negative (even when at times we knew they were in the wrong), they would tell 100 people!  She always had the ethos, that the customer was always right – even when she knew they were in the wrong!!!

Photo 9

Mum and Dad by the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Lesson No 4: Work hard but play hard!

My mum always loved to throw a great party and she loved her holidays with my dad – the good times balanced the times when it was heads down, working at top gear.  They both were two of the hardest workers I have ever known – I think the only one that could beat them is my husband Greg!

During high season they worked seven days a week, from 8am until after 9pm, but then they made sure to treat themselves to really nice holidays in far flung places.  They also had nice weekend breaks together, were great customers in other restaurants in town and just loved having people over for parties and dinners.

Mum very much taught me that if it is all about work, it’s not success.

That if you work hard, it’s important to spend some of that hard earned money creating lasting happy memories and treating yourself to nice things. Mum had lots of happy memories of herself and dad in Rome, travelling along the Amalfi Coast, having a glass of wine in St Mark’s Square in Venice, visiting Russia when very few Europeans were going there.

I must get my love of Italy from her – you can’t keep me away from the place!

No matter what business was like during the turmoil of the last few years I always made sure Greg and I had some downtime together, with some sun on our faces for a week or two.  There are always a million reasons why we shouldn’t take the break from our busy business – but we have gathered an amazing Fuzion family around us who watch our back and our business when we are away and we come back with a renewed sense of vigour for our business, with fresh ideas and energy.

Mum with one of her greatest friends - and bridge buddy - Monica Kelly

Mum with one of her greatest friends – and bridge buddy – Monica Kelly

Lesson No 5: Mind your friends, they will become family

Mum had some strong friendships going back decades to when she first came to Tralee including, Maureen Deane, Monica Kelly, Phyllis O’Sullivan and Noreen O’Sullivan.  Her friends loved her and our restaurant on Castle Street was the meeting point for all her buddies.

Even though she was very busy she always made time for her friends and they always knew they could count on her for a chat, a piece of advice or just an ear to listen.

We would come home from school and there she would be in the middle of them, at table one in the right hand corner of our restaurant, hatching some plan or just shooting the breeze.  We would roll our eyes up to heaven and disappear to our home upstairs, knowing that we wouldn’t get any attention from her until her friends had left.

She loved bridge and loved her weekly bridge club.  I remember once asking her not to go to the club and stay home with us as I probably had a bad day at school or something.  She explained to me that she had committed to go; that she would be letting her friend down who she was paired with for bridge that night.

She told me that it was so important to cherish and respect your friends; that they provided  support and balance to her life and that when the chips are down and when all us kids had left the nest, they would still be around.

It was so true; her five kids very soon got on with our own lives, but she still had her friends, her bridge and her Soroptimist club and later the Probus club.  And those same friends formed her guard of honour at her funeral.  She was so right, they were there for her, right up to the very end!

I always remember what my mum said and really cherish my friends. The older I get the closer I get to my friends and know that I will have most of them in my life forever. We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but they know I’m there for them if they need anything as they are for me – they are my family every bit as much as my siblings are.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

10 Factors to consider when choosing a PR company

May 9, 2015 by

Confusion

So you’ve recognised the value of PR and have made the decision to engage with a PR company so that you can take your business to a new level of success – with many PR options out there how do you decide which one to go with?

Time and time again we hear from people and businesses who have had a bad experience with PR agencies and this is often down to them selecting the wrong one for them. Price may often have been the deciding factor but it may have been something else.

When choosing a PR agency we suggest that you need to look at the overall agency and take a number of factors into consideration.

1. Experience

Does this agency have the experience to get you the results you need for your business?

Look for evidence of this experience but also make sure you know the experience of the team that will be assigned to your account. Make sure you meet them as part of the pitch process.

At Fuzion we have a team of 12 professionals and each one of us brings different expertise and experience from a variety of industries.

Our team is made up of PR experts, social media experts, former journalists, bloggers, event management specialists, graphic designers, media trainers, crisis management professionals and people with senior management experience in industry.

For every client we pick the best mix from our team to work on that particular account. Your work will never be outsourced.

2. Sector experience versus potential conflict

This can be a tricky one. You need to be convinced that the agency understand your business and will be capable of delivering for you.

Sometimes a lot of experience in a particular sector can be a big advantage but it is not always necessary.

For example if an agency works for 30 hotels this means they know the sector well but it could mean that you could end up competing for coverage within the agency itself.

Look for good solid examples of previous and current clients to assure yourself.

3. Location

Where the agency is based can be quite important. Think about who and where your target market is as it’s very important you choose a PR company that can reach them and has good relationships with both national and regional press.

Their location is also important for your meetings with them – you can achieve a lot with email and by phone but you can’t beat face to face meetings.

For this reason we have offices based in Dublin and Cork so we have coverage in the two biggest urban locations in Ireland and have developed relationships with media here and across the country.

4. Testimonials

Who better to turn to than clients who have worked with the PR agency before?

Look for testimonials from current and former clients and see if the PR agency achieved good results for them and whether they would be happy to recommend them.

5. Price

Price is always going to be a factor, but always bear in mind you get what you pay for. Going for the cheapest option is not always the best option.

Make sure how much work is being done for the price and be sure about what happens if extra work in required.

Its important to check the seniority and expertise of the people that are working on your account – price can be quite relative.

The most important thing here is not getting the cheapest quote possible, it’s getting value and results for your money.

6. Personality

Does the agency have a heart and soul? What are the personalities of the people in the agency like? Can you trust and depend on them?

At Fuzion we pride ourselves on going the extra mile and going above and beyond for our clients. That’s an easy thing to say but it really is true ..look for those testimonials!

One thing we never do is give up or switch off just because we have worked all the hours allocated or the work day is over. All of us on the team have all had sleepless nights when big client events are approaching or gone through blood, sweat and tears for clients that may have been difficult to get coverage for. We don’t give up!

We do this because we genuinely care and want to make sure our clients get the results they are expecting and we get the satisfaction of doing a great job. At Fuzion when you engage our services you become part of the Fuzion family and this sets us apart from competitors.

7. Agency Size

Will the agency be able to cope with your workload and if there is an unexpected peak for some reason can this be catered for?

In your initial briefings try to assess the workload of the team and try to assess if you will get the time and attention that is promised.

8. Pecking Order and exclusivity

Will your business be of sufficient interest to the PR agency? Are you the type of account that they are excited about or would you be one of many and down in their pecking order of ‘importance’?

I once heard a successful entrepreneur give a clever piece of business advice “Employ a Big 4 accountancy firm and a hungry PR agency“. One gives you automatic credibility and the other will fight hard to win you even more!

9. Full Service and Social Media

Does the PR agency offer more than just PR?

With many agencies this is not the case. Our approach is that we offer a solution and not a range of services.

We build and execute plans for our clients that will achieve their objectives and we do this with a comprehensive toolkit, which we apply as required.

The client should brief one service provider not half a dozen to achieve their objectives.

Expertise in social media, or parallel media as we refer to it is a critical part of all plans that we execute for clients. To assess the agency expertise in this area have a good look at their own social media presence to assure you that they do know what they are doing.

10. Passion test!

This really is the big one and if this doesn’t exist then don’t even bother taking into account the other factors.

When you have your initial briefing meetings with the PR agency you need to assess how passionate they were about your plan.

Do you see enthusiasm, do you see creativity and do you see real evidence that the team who worked on your plan put in a lot of effort into something that was written just for you.

Make sure they didn’t just show you credentials and made their pitch solely on previous work and clients.

Good luck with your search and it goes without saying …you know where we are!

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Driving Change and clever campaigns

April 29, 2015 by

audi drivers

Every day we see brands rolling out new campaigns, launching a new initiative, promoting something.

Social media is awash with hashtags and promoted posts and PR photocalls feature in the papers. It is part and parcel of most brand communications and while largely necessary, often not very imaginative.

A lot of the communication can be easily classified as ‘thinking inside the box’ and in fairness, anyone would agree that a brand talking about how great their product is, isn’t exactly ground breaking.

But, every now and again, a brand does something really smartThey come up with a concept that is truly ‘outside the box’ and when they do, it can have a fantastic impact and be pretty powerful.

Audi launched a new campaign and, pardon the pun, it is really about driving change. Using the hashtag #womendrivers Audi, have taken the age-old joke of women’s drivers and flipped it on its head.

From a post on the Audi twitter page, with a car parked up a tree and the hashtag #womendrivers, you follow the link and expect to be directed to some more hilarious meme’s of women who’s driving/parking/reversing/whatever-you’re-having-yourself skills need some serious improvement.

What you find is very different. Its women drivers alright, but not as we know it.

The video does a better job of illustrating the impact of the campaign far better than I can, but for me, this move by Audi is a great example of how you can take a simple concept and harness your ‘brand power’ to make something that is not only smart and witty, but different.

That’s key if you want to stand out.

In a crowded market, being brave in the delivery of your brand messaging is where you will rise or fall. #womendrivers has done a better job of showing me how innovative and forward-thinking Audi are than any amount of expensive advertising or carefully chosen press release wording.

Nicely played Audi. And judging by some of the reaction online, there is a lot of women in Ireland today who are proud to be women drivers!

fuzion pr pic1Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes is a PR Account Manager in the Fuzion Dublin office

Can you have Profit without the Passion?

April 21, 2015 by

Passion

These two guys came into us, full of confidence about their new project.

They were introducing a new range of ready made meals to the Irish market, which they reckoned were going to be a huge success.

The market in Ireland was huge and growing and according to them poorly serviced with inferior products. They were going to bring restaurant quality meals with recipes designed by a high profile chef using the best of Irish ingredients.

These meals were going to be well packaged and would be ‘on shelf‘ at competitive products – this was their recipe for success!

By their reckoning they would conservatively capture a share of the market and even with moderate success they would make a fortune, it was guaranteed.

They had the listings with some of the multiples and our job was to launch the new range of products. They also had a good budget for the promotional campaign – success guaranteed?

I had a few nagging doubts ..

These guys had no history in food or experience in the industry. They had no passion for food – I tried and I tried to find it. I couldn’t see a genuine love for Irish ingredients and great food – this was just a way of making money and they reckoned they had all the necessary ingredients for success.

The high profile chef was equally unimpressive – I started to get the feeling that his ‘name was on the box‘ and that was about the extent of his passion for the project.

Of course he did the interviews and said all the right things but I just didn’t feel the passion for the project.

The launch date arrived, there seemed to be trouble with distribution, the products didn’t look well in the packaging and there was nothing special about the taste. It certainly wasn’t the superior restaurant quality ready-made meals that we were promised.

In no time at all the partners were fighting and the chef pulled back from the project. Effectively before the whole project got going they shut it down and many people including ourselves went without payment.

If there was genuine passion you would taste it in the end product, you would work hard to overcome any problems and you would dig deep and do everything to keep your dream alive.

Without passion you just give up ….that’s easier!

Passion is the single must important ingredient in your meal, your restaurant, your products, your service and your organisation.

Profit without passion? … I don’t think so 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

My sister and her special brand

April 9, 2015 by

West Cork

I was chatting to a friend of mine recently and mentioned that my sister, whom she’d never met, was home to visit.

Instinctively, I felt the noun ‘sister’ didn’t do her justice, so I followed it with a few words that I felt encapsulated her as a person “she’s a do anything for anyone, a loves to laugh, strong character but she’s also a complete softy”. I smiled as I said it, naturally because of the feelings and memories that her ‘image’ had evoked.

Branding’ can be disregarded cynically as corporate speak for manipulation and trickery but in reality emotional evocation through identity applies to everything and everyone – even sisters.

Reputation/branding is one of our most valuable assets.

When building and managing a company or an organisations’s identity, it’s incredibly effective to personify it so that it elicits the same positive thoughts and feelings among its consumers. A solid brand identity is established through brand values that are built and communicated with passion and consistency and, importantly, over time.

We work with not just companies and organisations, but individuals and even regions to help them define and harness their brand. We do this by helping them tell their stories, by mapping out their core values and by highlighting what makes them truly special.

That then helps us to devise and implement strategies/a unified behaviour that represents and firmly establishes and illuminates this brand. We explain how it needs to be carried through everything; logo, signage, marketing materials, CSR activities, internal and external communications and its people.

West Cork brochures

The power, potential and evocative nature of branding hit home to me again recently when I was wrapping up on a tourism project for a destination branding initiative, which involved the creation of two tourism brochures for West Cork.

Throughout the project the goal was to convey the region’s sense of identity as distinct, authentic and compelling, encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in the landscape enriched with a deeper knowledge of the region’s past and present. During the course of my work I learned so much myself about West Cork’s history, folklore, landscape and sights and how woven together they create this truly compelling, evocative and inspiring identity.

Each of those tens of thousands of brochures, distil not just information, but they tell a special story, they convey an experience, a unique identity, a reputation and a promise.

Branding is where the tangible and the intangible meet.

She’s a lot more than my ‘sister’.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

 

 

Dunnes Stores – Building your Reputation

April 2, 2015 by

Dunnes Stores Strike

It was a strange thing – I heard news of the Dunnes Stores strike first thing this morning on Newstalk and immediately without hearing any of the detail I was on the side of the workers.

I wondered why did I think that automatically?

The truth is I never hear any good things about the company.

I don’t hear about charities they support, I don’t hear about a focus on Irish products,  I don’t hear about how they work closely with suppliers, I don’t see them being helpful on social media, I don’t hear about how much they contribute to the Irish economy and I don’t hear about new jobs that have created.

Instead I remember the strikes of old and the trouble and controversy that the company has had down through the years.

This doesn’t mean for a second that they do none of these things – it just means I don’t know about the good things they do and as a result when I hear a negative about them I tend to believe it.

When we use the words ‘building your reputation‘ it is a powerful analogy because your reputation is something that is built over time.

It is a culmination of all of the things you do; how you look after suppliers, your team and most importantly your customers. It also includes how you interact with the general community – while we are all in business to make a profit it is vital that we respect our environment and those around us and genuinely try to be a good, responsible corporate citizen.

Besides doing good it is vital that this is communicated clearly and effectively so that people understand that this is a business that genuinely cares about something more than just making money.

When an ill wind blows it is vital that your reputation has been built carefully and robustly so that it can withstand it easily and that you will have the support of your customers, investors, the media and the general public in these circumstances.

There is a strike at Dunnes

If a good job was done here our first thought when we hear this should be “They are a great company who are really responsible and fair – there must be two sides to that story

Build your reputation … it will protect you

Greg Canty

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

 

 

 

Mr Motivator

April 1, 2015 by

Mr Motivator

There is just one Greg Canty and he is special and don’t you forget about it” he said

Just keep being the best ‘you’ that you can be” ..ok, I will.

It had been a while since I had chatted to him but it is always great when we do. He always leaves you feeling ten feet tall and better about yourself than before you had spoken.

I called him out of the blue just for a chat but he always has this knack of saying something that makes you feel better about yourself.

I remember years ago we had him over at the house for grub and at the time we were feeling a little but low because we were struggling to get some sponsors signed up for our Catwalks event. This was a high end fashion and beauty event that we used take on tour around Ireland.

I think he picked up that we weren’t as positive as we usually were and after a while he grabbed a flyer in his hand from a previous Catwalks event that we had run and he gave us one of his magical pep talks.

Do you see this?” he asked “You and Dee created a national event from nothing. You have already signed up some top brands and its been a huge success to date. Never forget that it is only you two who could have pulled something like this off

After he left we were punching the air, feeling special, full of motivation and determination, ready to take on the world … sure enough we signed up more sponsors.

We all need people like that in our lives, the ones who make you fell better about yourself, the ones who you can call if you need that little gee up …they are precious.

Pat Dolan Thank you Pat Dolan..

Who is your Mr Motivator?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Tips on how to secure your first PR job

March 30, 2015 by

PR - Fuzion

Anyone working in PR has been there… that place you find yourself when trying to secure your first job in PR.

Having been with Fuzion since 2007, I have been involved with the hiring process of several interns and team members. Being on the other side of the application and interview process has taught me a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do when looking for your first PR job, so I’ve decided to share a few tips.

Update your CV and cover letter

Make sure your CV is tailored to the job, well written (good grammar, no typos), and most importantly, up to date. Oh, and don’t lie!

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t let yourself down at the first hurdle. Whether you are a graduate or are interested in a career change, we understand that you’re not yet an expert in the field of PR, but we do want to know what you can bring to the table.

Whilst you might not have anything that directly relates to PR, I would suggest that you try to highlight specific achievements and areas you do have experience in, and show how these are transferable to PR. PR is about pitching and this is your first opportunity to pitch yourself to us or any potential employer.

With cover letters, make them cover letters!

As in, send it in the body of your email and not as an attachment. Also, we know if we’re getting a generic cover letter, so specifically tailor it to the job for which you are applying WITH US… there’s nothing worse than getting an application in which you tell us why you would be a valuable asset to the team at “A.N Other Company”.

Of course, we know we’re probably not the only company you’re applying to, but if you expect us to take the time to review your application and respond to you, please have the courtesy to get our name right.

A simple trick here is to check our website beforehand and to personalise your application to the person you think might be doing the recruiting. If you are not sure who that person is then ring in advance and ask.

Check your online presence out before we do!

Google yourself – what do you find online about yourself. Hopefully you should find a Twitter and LinkedIn account, but if you don’t, set them up now! If you can’t be found on Twitter, and especially LinkedIn, it means you’re not taking advantage of these platforms, and they are where you need to be.

Online presence

With Twitter, follow key players and influencers in the media, learn about the industry, and make connections by retweeting posts you find interesting or relevant. A LinkedIn account is pretty important for anyone on the lookout for a job in the industry. Why not ask college professors and former employers to write recommendations for you – let them tell us how good you are! Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

If you fancy yourself as a writer (we love people who can write well) then start your own blog and start writing about your favourite things – make sure you include this in your CV.

Yes, we do check all of this!

Connect, and stay connected

During the interview, we like to get a feel for you, and so often ask about who you follow online, what papers you read, what journalists and news sites are you a fan of. Educate yourself on the industry – we’re not interested if you follow the guys from Geordie Shore, or Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, so try to be relevant!  Tell us why certain blogs or news sites interest you.

We’ve done our homework on you, now do your homework on us

You’ve secured an interview, now familiarise yourself with our company, our clients and campaigns, and have some sort of idea about our company ethos. Tell us why you’re interested in this position, and particularly in Fuzion, and why you think you are a good fit. Don’t get caught off guard, these are obvious things we will look for, so be prepared. Knowing your stuff will not only calm your nerves for the interview, it will also show us that you have initiative, and are enthusiastic and serious about working with us.

Be able to tell us what you could bring to the table, have some ideas of how you would put a PR plan together – as I’ve already said, we know you’re not experienced in the field, but have a think about this in advance. Do you have a dream client? What would you do for them if they were launching a new product or had some important news to share? If you want to work in PR, you’re going to need to be able to do this on a regular basis, so show us you can.

And most importantly be yourself. Trust me, we want to hear your personal story and we want to hear your opinion about things. Be honest and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

Ok, you didn’t get the job this time, and you ask “Do I need a specific degree to get a job in PR or what do I do next?”

If you have excellent communication skills, then you have some of the basic characteristics for a career in PR. A relevant qualification is not always necessary, but it can be an advantage and provides you with the competitive edge against other applicants—at least on paper.

Persistence

At Fuzion we don’t specifically look for a degree in public relations – our team is made up of experienced PR professionals, ex-journalists and producers, media trainers, social media experts, and graphic designers, as well as individuals with senior management experience.

So don’t be disheartened that you didn’t get this job. Go out there and get some hands on experience – volunteer for a non-profit or charity, PR your local festival, help out at community events, write a blog, do some freelancing;  and don’t give up on your PR dream. Show why you can become an invaluable member of any PR team.

Make sure that we don’t forget you by sending us a nice email and thanking us for considering you in the first place. One of our team got a job with Fuzion on the third attempt – we love persistence, another great trait for a PR person!

The very best of luck with your PR career ..

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

 


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