“Social media is a CCTV x 100 resolution,” I hear from today’s interviewee, Ella Minty, who kindly agreed to answer #4PRQs (Four PR Questions) this week. Ella is a PR expert, with over 17 years of experience in corporate reputation, stakeholder engagement, corporate governance, and other comms disciplines. She is also a published author and university lecturer, public speaker and an active member of The Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
MK: What was your way to the industry?
EM: I have always been fascinated by diplomacy, international and inter-governmental negotiations and ‘games’, as I would call them. I thought for a while, when I was in my early 20s that a diplomatic/intelligence career would be the right choice for me since I was so fascinated by both topics but, as I soon learnt, a career in diplomacy came with strings attached: political allegiance, crossing some lines that a woman in her 20s was expected to, and promoting concepts I was not always happy with. It was then when I learnt how crucially important ethics is, especially self-respect. One evening, during a formal reception, I recall asking a colleague what sort of studies one should undertake to have a career in international relations or diplomacy, and she told me: ‘Go for Public Relations – that’s the closest degree subject to what you like and it should provide you with an insight into the intricacies of international ‘games’ and how they are played at very high levels’. I went for it and, 20 years on, here I am.
What piece of advice, regarding career, would you give your 20-year-old-self?
Giving any advice to my younger self would imply that I have regrets or that I’d change something if I could. I would not give myself any advice whatsoever because everything that happened to me, good or bad, made me who and what I am today. There’s one thing I wished I had been aware then: not to take everything at face value and fall for it – I was very naïve then, believing in the greater good, higher purpose and all people wishing well to one another. I used to think everyone was like me or had the same solid principles as I did – but, youth comes with its own dreams and fantasies and they simply need to be lived through.
There’s one thing I wished I had been aware then: not to take everything at face value and fall for it.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
They need to stand out and be authentic – they need to research those they follow (agencies or people) and, put simply, profile them. Everything needs to be tailored and their engagement needs to stand out. Social media is a CCTV x 100 resolution; our digital footprint will forever stay there so if there is anything you do or say that would make a prospective employer embarrassed by having you as staff, don’t do it. Be nice, polite, make meaningful contributions to the various SM platforms you belong to and stand out in a positive way, not the opposite.
Our digital footprint will forever stay there so if there is anything you do or say that would make a prospective employer embarrassed by having you as staff, don’t do it.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
You made me smile with this question – in the current industry, the most unexplored areas are manipulation, disinformation and propaganda. The public and political discourse have significantly changed over the past years and now we are slowly returning to a public agenda dominated by lies, super-charged and emotions-laden images and narratives aimed to decisions being made with the heart, not the mind. It is a fascinating time we live in and the students may wish to embark on the much less explored and understood territory of mass-communication, especially when masses are moved by a brilliant (yet unethical and very dark) application of the principles of Maslow’s ‘Theory of Human Motivation’, and those of fear, hatred and failure.
You can find Ella tweeting under the handle @EllaMinty, she’s a must-follow PR pro.
Four PR Questions (#4PRQs) is a weekly series on the blog. I am on the mission to help PR graduates (including myself) make right decisions about their future careers, by asking industry leaders for an advice.
Would you like to give me a feedback or feature in the series? Drop me a line to kl.marcel [at] gmail.com or tweet me @marcelkl. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!