For this week’s #4PRQs (Four PR Questions) series, I’m really glad to be bringing Amanda Coleman, who is a head corporate comms for Greater Manchester Police. She’s a trusted adviser to senior law-enforcement figures, and she’s also chaired the Association of Police Communicators since 2013. Beforehand, she’s been leading a press office of Merseyside Police. Amanda runs an award-winning PR blog. Last year, she’s been updating it every day (sic). She’s also been listed as one of the most influential people in the industry at the latest PRWeek Power Book.
MK: What was your way to the industry?
AC: I started my working life as a journalist working on local and regional newspapers. I have always loved writing so it seemed to be the perfect job. But after a few years I become disillusioned and then decided to move into public relations. My first job was with a small team at the Environment Agency covering the NW region of the UK. It was a perfect starting point and gave me an insight into all the aspects of PR and communication.
What piece of advice, regarding career, would you give your 20-year-old self?
When I was 20 I had only one thought in my head and that was to become a journalist. I will always look back fondly on my time as a reporter but I would have told myself to keep an open mind about what the future my hold. At 20 I would have told myself to spend a bit more time looking at other professions that involve writing and communication. I never knew anyone who worked in PR at that time so didn’t understand what it was.
[At 20] I would have told myself to keep an open mind about what the future my hold.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
The key is to be able to present yourself in a way that makes you an obvious asset to any team. For me it is more about the ideas you have and the interesting things you may have to say than anything else. Invest time identifying those agencies or employers you are interested in and get involved in discussions with them either through chats, commentaries or conversation groups. Above all be you and be honest in any discussions or conversations you get involved in.
Invest time identifying those agencies or employers you are interested in and get involved in discussions with them.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
There is a lot that could be written about the development and use of content. Social media is now such a key part of communication that we are only just starting to understand how to get the most from the engagement we have. It is time to start thinking about having a content strategy and identifying how to make the most from what you have to share. This is a key part of modern communication both with the internal and external audiences.
Four PR Questions (or #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!