Voices from… Marketing, Communications & PR

Wednesday, 18th November 2015
Written by: Jessica Trick

In this week’s “Voices from…” event, three speakers working in marketing, communications and PR shared their knowledge of job roles and the skills you might need to pursue a career in this area. Having worked in a range of jobs and sectors the speakers demonstrated the breadth of the opportunities available to those interested in marketing, communications and PR.  The speakers were Sinead Doyle, Marketing and PR Manager at the National Concert Hall, Fiona Gallagher, Subscription Product Consultant at LinkedIn, and Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at the National Youth Council of Ireland.

 

How did the speakers get into marketing, communications and PR?

After graduating in Music, Sinead Doyle went straight into working in PR as a secretary. Having worked her way up she decided to gain more knowledge of PR and marketing by studying for the Public Relations Institute of Ireland’s diploma in PR. Whilst working she spent a couple of evenings a week studying over a course of two years. Immersed in the world of PR and marketing, she felt the combination of work and study worked well and gave her invaluable knowledge and skills in the industry. Later, having seen a job advertised that she really wanted, combining marketing, PR and music, Sinead went into the interview well prepared with potential ideas, demonstrating her enthusiasm and commitment to the role from the start – she got the job.

Fiona Gallagher has been working for LinkedIn for the last ten months. However, at the start of her career she worked at a fine art auction house. Having developed her sales and marketing skills she joined an online auction house company, which, despite not succeeding in the long term, taught Fiona much about the online world and the skills needed in the digital environment. She went on to work with various media agencies – finding it fast-paced and rewarding. Negotiation skills are important in this kind of role and Fiona recommends anyone interested in this type of role to get comfortable with asking for discounts! She currently works as a Product Consultant, and emphasised that a 360 approach to marketing, knowing every aspect of what is involved, is essential to her job.

Daniel Meister is the Communications Manager for the National Youth Council of Ireland. After graduating from university in European Studies he taught English in Italy for a couple of years, before returning to Ireland to work for Tourism Ireland in a call centre. Despite neither of these jobs being for him in the long term, he was able to gain transferable skills, which helped him succeed in gaining jobs in NGOs.

 

What might a role in marketing, communications and PR consist of?

Roles in marketing, communications and PR can consist of a variety of tasks, however, these are some of the tasks involved in the speakers’ day-to-day work:

  • Writing press releases, sourcing quotes for them and sending them to newspapers with embargos
  • Organising television, radio and newspaper coverage of an event and ensuring that they get the best shots for promotion
  • Creating publications or leaflets to help promotions
  • Ensure sales and promotion of event or activity
  • Educating or training others in marketing and the use of digital media (companies, other members of staff, young people)
  • Sales
  • Manage and plan investment in media for marketing purposes
  • Use SEO to drive sales and grow digital media organically

 

What kind of skills and experience should I develop and gain?

The speakers described some skills, which they felt would be useful for anyone interested in this job area:

  • Experience (writing and work). Get writing experience – whether this is for a small blog or something bigger. Get some work experience, an internship or volunteer. Experience is key in these types of positions, you can prove to potential employers that you are able to work to deadlines and achieve the tasks asked of you. Try volunteering for Arts events or festivals – be proactive!
  • Get connected. Use LinkedIn and contact anyone in the industry whom you particularly admire and see if you could meet them to talk about their job role and the type of experience they might feel would be useful.
  • Get some experience in digital media specifics, such as SEO and channel marketing. You can learn about them through self-study sites such as Lynda.com and Google’s Analytics Academy (links at the bottom of the page).
  • Know about digital media. Write a blog and then use social media channels to try and encourage traffic for some experience.
  • Data journalism is a growing area as we gain increasing amounts of data. You can use online courses to practice looking at data and pulling out the parts that would make interesting journalistic stories.
  • Develop your organisational, management, communication and teamwork skills.

 

Some final advice from the speakers:

  • Remember to look at job descriptions as job titles are changing. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is now a growing role within companies, as is Brand Ambassador. Roles such as Community Engagement Executive would consist of working with social media, so don’t rule out jobs that don’t include the words marketing or PR!
  • The charity sector’s budget has been cut of the past years. However, it has stabilized and will hopefully continue to do so as the economy improves – hopefully this will lead to more job opportunities.
  • NGOs can be great to work for but you may need to do some work experience to get your foot in the door (and bear in mind that they are unlikely to be the best route to increasing financial benefits).
  • Your first job is unlikely to be perfect, but you will learn something! Looking back on a job he once found trying, Daniel recognized that he gained skills and became familiar with databases and systems, which was beneficial in the future.

 

Useful sources and information:

Recommended sites where you can develop your skills:  

 

Recommended sites for job advertisements and marketing news:

 

Sources of information about the marketing/advertising industry and digital marketing (both here in Ireland and abroad):

 

Link to download the ‘The Marketing Skills Handbook’ (report by LinkedIn and Hubspot) here:

 

Sites recommended for students interested in attending marketing conferences/events:

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