Chris Lee, that features in this week’s #4PRQs (Four PR Questions), brings nearly two decades’ experience in technology PR, digital and journalism. He’s worked with Philips, Hilton, Xerox, Ubisoft and many other leading brands, and headed up digital training worldwide at Grayling for three years. Chris now runs freelance comms network Eight Moon Media, trains private clients and for the PRCA, is a visiting lecturer at London College of Communication, and writes for City A.M. He also works at Mash PR. “Not enough PRs or their clients think audience-first,” says Chris.
MK: What was your way to the industry?
CL: It was a complete fluke. I was working in a bar after university and went for an ‘office job’ for corporate experience. It turned out to be a tech PR agency and tickled my nerdy side.
I actually wanted to be a journalist, which I ended up being through a start in PR. Being a journalist was a really valuable experience for PR – you see the best and worst pitches and releases, and you really understand 1) what makes a good story and 2) how to relate to/write for your audience.
Not enough PRs or their clients think audience-first.
I keep this ethos alive by maintaining a non-work-related blog so I can practice what I preach in digital communications. Outside Write is my football travel and culture blog. It receives between 4,000-10,000 hits a month so I can technically claim to be a ‘microinfluencer’.
What is the biggest mistake of junior people you employ, and how can it be fixed?
Bring a willingness to learn. Ask questions and network hard. Remember to be a professional in your timing, appearance and outlook. If you bring a bad attitude into the workplace or think you know it all then you won’t get far.
PR is a people business and you’ll meet all sorts of good and bad in your career, but it’s too small an industry to make enemies. I am still getting referrals from people I worked with a decade ago. You will need your connections.
Bring a willingness to learn.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
You’re doing the right thing by blogging, for a start. A potential employer will look at a graduate’s resume and by having a significant digital footprint (blog, vlog, website, podcast etc.) they have an easy point of reference to understand who you are, what you think, see how passionate you are, how creative you are, and what an asset you could potentially be to their organisation.
Conversely, if you just have an old school CV or basic LinkedIn profile you are not going to stand out.
Learn to code, experiment with video and social, understand VR and AR and how they will impact everyday life. For more, read my blog post on how to get started in digital marketing: eightmoon.co.uk/start-digital-marketing
If you just have an old school CV or basic LinkedIn profile you are not going to stand out.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
The potential impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what can and cannot be automated in our industry would make a really topical subject. I’ll be blogging about this soon.
[You can see Chris’ post about this subject of matter here.]
#4PRQs (Four PR Questions) is a weekly series on the blog. I’m 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!