Name: Jessica Suranyi-Hammond
Job title: PR Manager
Employer: Milner Strategic Marketing Ltd
Find Jessica on Twitter @jessicasuranyi
How did I get started in Public Relations?
I originally went to college in the US to be an English teacher, but after a year I decided it wasn't for me. I then took a basic PR course, which led to a journalism class, and then a magazine writing class, then a second PR course and then an advertising course…it went on from there and I was hooked.
What do I do?
I work in a small technology B2B strategic marketing consultancy – but I am the only person doing PR. I handle four different technology-related clients and my client side work might consist of anything from writing PR plans, researching publications and contacting editors, managing social media accounts, writing and editing content for websites and e-newsletters, to writing press releases and case studies. I am also building up and managing the PR function for our own company, which includes social media and website management, drafting content for our company e-newsletter and researching networking and speaking opportunities.
What other PR related roles have I had?
I have been at Milner Ltd as long as I have lived in the UK (going on 5 years). Before 2008, I worked as the Communications Aide for a New York State Assemblyman. There I wrote weekly columns, press releases and advisories for the media, and attended community meetings as a representative for the Assemblyman. I also dealt with the Assemblyman's schedule, juggling fellow Assemblyman and Senator meetings, as well as lobbyists and constituent appointments in the capital and in the Assemblyman's own constituency.
What motivates me about this job?
The company atmosphere at Milner Ltd, my work colleagues and our clients are great to deal with. I think that a good working relationship with the people around you is key to happiness and motivation at work.
What skills do I need to do my job?
I do quite a bit of writing and editing in my job. But also the ability to multi-task and to switch between client work is vital. In any given day, I might switch from writing a case study for one client, to editing the web content for another, to drafting an e-newsletter, to contacting editors. Being flexible and able to work under tight deadlines is also important, because you never know when a crisis might arise.
Why did I choose to enrol in CPD?
I enroled in CPD because it helps me keep abreast of best practice in the industry, which I am then able to pass onto clients. My employer also feels a high regard for qualifications in the industry. Almost everyone in the company is a Chartered Marketer, CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) trained, or CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) trained or registered.
What advice do I have for someone starting out in Public Relations?
I would recommend getting qualified and continuing learning, with new things happening in social media and SEO, etc. there is always more to learn. Something like the CIPR CPD scheme is a great way to do this. It's a hard balance "doing the doing" of client work and keeping up with the changes in the industry, but you won't regret it; being "in the know" also sets you ahead of your competitors, which helps win new business. I would also highly recommend working in PR for both in-house and agency side and also try working in different sectors as well as both B2B and B2C to get a feel for what is best for you.