I must confess that prior to my arrival at KC Communications, the prospect of a career in public relations held very little appeal. In public relations classes at university, if at rare moments you have stopped writing press releases it is because you have begun reading them. After three years of this, you can’t help but lose all enthusiasm you once had for the subject. But I was assured by people who had had experience in the industry that it is much more gratifying once you are immersed in it. Doubtful, and with much trepidation, I caught the bus and was on my way.
I would estimate that it took all of half an hour for my preconceptions to be confuted. I was introduced to my temporary boss, Katrina, who showed me around the office. It is a beautifully designed arrangement of quaint architecture and fancy computers. It occupies the top floor of Independence House in Lindley, and has in it the most impressive fridge I have ever seen.
After my tour and introduction to everyone, I sat down and sought to learn as much as I could. On my first day I was shown the different websites and tools that are used to run a PR business. Hootsuite, for instance, is a brilliant way to manage a clients’ social media profile. Canva is the loveliest website I have ever come across, and, after becoming accustomed to it, the Media Platform is a great way to discern how successful your company has been in giving publicity to its clients.
I have always preferred the writing side of PR, so I was delighted to learn that I would be writing a profile of the acclaimed cartoonist Tula Lotay. I was tasked with supporting Account Manager, Laura on working on a project for Kirklees College and, in particular, their Dewsbury site (where she had earlier studied), to attract more people to apply to its new education centre. This was when I first began to understand the mechanics of public relations.
Previously I had had no experience of marketing or publicity. I knew what they meant, but I didn’t know how they functioned. This is something university doesn’t teach. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that you learn more in two weeks of practice than in three years of theory.
My first piece of published work came on the Thursday of my first week, when I curated the weekly ‘Social Shoutout’ blog. This task comprised of selecting news pertinent to popular social media platforms, and then uploading them to the website. It was a great segue into the process by which websites operate, and it was demonstrated to me by Laura, who has been a great help whilst I have been here.
One of my biggest downfalls is my inability to pitch ideas to people. I was shown by various members of the team on the most efficient way to do this. Again, this is something that only hands-on experience can provide, and I will leave knowing far more than when I first arrived.
KC Communications even managed to somehow make spreadsheets appear interesting. This was one of the tasks I was asked to complete, and I was initially daunted by the prospect. Perhaps it’s the music, which plays incessantly throughout the day, that helped me to complete the challenge. If there is one criticism I have of this business it is their selection of music. It is inexcusably bad. But I love that it plays constantly in the background – it adds to the charm.
Today is my last day and I would like to offer my thanks to KC Communications for the opportunity they have provided. They have totally reshaped my opinion on the industry, and it is something I would now genuinely consider as a future career path. There is, contrary to the university doctrine, more to PR than press releases. The staff are some of the nicest and most approachable people I have worked with, and I’m very sad to have to leave so soon.
All the best, KC!
Written by Daniel Knight – a third year Journalism student from the University of Huddersfield.