How much does experience matter in PR?

When I started out in this journey, I never thought my experience would be a problem. I’ve got loads! Coming from a senior position in a prestigious agency, I thought my varied expertise would stand me in perfect stead for a solo career. But at times I’ve felt like a graduate again: “how can I get experience if people don’t give me experience” should not be going through my mind at 35 (I think I’m 35…ask my husband…I forget these days…)

To explain: I knew that going it alone would mean stepping away from my strategic, client management role for some consultancy positions and getting back to the coal face of PR and really, that’s one of the big reasons I’ve made this move. I couldn’t wait to do PR again.

But as I’ve been pitching and proposal writing for potential new clients, I’ve found myself loosing out quite a few times to other individuals who have done that exact same thing a million times before, even though I know I could fulfill the brief too and do it very well. This is not about me being a sore looser (see previous blog post, it’s all about collaboration, not competition) it’s just a point about some clients’ understanding of what PR is and what a suitable PR professional needs to look like.

A good friend and colleague of mine put it really well…it’s PR that’s the skill, not having a Mastermind-worthy knowledge of every possible sector we may choose to work in. We make a career out of knowing very little about something, learning about it quickly, extracting a story and then taking the audience on the journey with us. That’s what we do. It shouldn’t be a competition in who’s opened the most hotels in York/launched the most apps for mums/written the most blogs posts for lawyers. I’m making all of this up but you get my point. Appoint the same and you’ll get the same. Employ some different thinking and you might stand out a bit.

This is a long-winded way of saying that I’m really chuffed to have been appointed to manage the PR for Manchester Folk Festival. Shockingly, I’ve not done the PR for a folk festival before, but I’m confident I’ll be able to do a flippin’ good job. Thank you for giving this thirty something, non-graduate a chance.