Paddy Blewer, who I’m very fortunate to be gaining insights from today in #4PRQs (Four PR Questions), is an incredibly experienced PR professional. He’s currently a head of communications of an international oil trading company. Paddy says that content creation skills, especially at the beginning of career, can really make you stand out from the crowd.
What was your way to the industry?
I had never considered PR and didn’t know anything about it. After a brief career in investment banking and a swerve into geopolitics I put my CV into a very slow, hamster wheel powered computer in the University of London Careers centre. It suggested Investor Relations.
That was my way into communications, as a research analyst with Taylor Rafferty; very much at the specialist end of communications. I’ve since spent the majority of my career developing up from this foundation and learning new skills. I’ve spent a long time advising energy and resources companies on their strategic communications; with a particular focus on interaction within capital markets and managing geopolitical risk in and around emerging markets and sovereign communications.
What piece of advice, regarding career, would you give your 20-year-old-self?
I’m ingrained as a corporate rep person. Can’t pretend to know much about consumer / marcoms. Within this context, I’d suggest that my 20 year old self learn as much as possible about as wide a range of subjects as possible. Know as much about a number of vertical industries as you do about PR. It’s obviously vital to understand the latest communications practice and techniques but you’ve got to understand the context into which they are applied. We should all have a working understanding of how a number of vertical industries function and how they interact with the connected industries of finance and politics.
Know as much about a number of vertical industries as you do about PR.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
Demonstrate your capabilities across of a number of vital skill sets. Whilst we all want to be strategic, at the start of your career content creation skills can really help you stand out. Blog about subjects relevant to the comms industry and potential employers. Comment on campaigns that you’ve admired; or where you think there have been failure that could have been avoided. Demonstrate an understanding of how to create a corporate persona through your multiple social media channels. Comment carefully on (geo)political issues and how perception matters to and effects this dynamic.
Whilst we all want to be strategic, at the start of your career content creation skills can really help you stand out.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
Whether communications advice and programmes have genuinely helped drive / create positive strategic engagement (including multi $bn investment which is often the nominal objective) with previously challenging emerging markets, or whether a multi $ communications campaign is simply an extension of the ego of local stakeholders?
Learn more about Paddy on his about.me page.
#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!