Four PR Questions (#4PRQs) today go to Lanson‘s Michael White. Michael is a digital and social expert. His blog, that has been run since 2009, has been called one of the most influential ones in the industry. He is PR graduate from the University of Gloucestershire. In his notable resume, we can find companies like Microsoft and variety of the communications agencies. He is also the associate editor of our beloved Behind the Spin. Michael shared some really interesting insights into his career with me. His ideas and hints can be really useful for media students.
MK: What was your way to the industry?
MW: After deciding a computer science degree wasn’t for me, I attended an introductory lecture on journalism at Lincoln University. Despite struggling with dyslexia when I was younger, English language had always been a passion. From that moment I was gripped and chose to study a degree in public relations at the University of Gloucestershire. I worked hard and played hard, gained a number of different work experiences, and eventually got paid-for contracted work. The first company I worked for was Microsoft in online advertising; it was a huge learning experience.
What piece of advice, regarding career, would you give your 20-year-old-self?
I hope my 20-year-old self would listen! I would tell him that you will spend most of your life working, make sure it is something you enjoy doing. Although it seems improbable, I would tell him that a lot of his views about life would change over the next six years. Don’t feel like you need to jump for the first job offer; do approach each company as a sceptic; remember there is much more to life than money.
You will spend most of your life working, make sure it is something you enjoy doing.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
Graduates have an opportunity to build their own brand online, like you have done with your blog. Blogging is a valuable way to improve your writing skills, show industry knowledge, and discuss activities you’re getting involved with. More importantly, an active social media presence shows potential employers that you enjoy the industry and this speaks volumes more than a CV can portray. It’s important to not use social media in isolation though, get involved with CIPR groups and get plenty of work experience.
If you’re really keen to get in front of employers why not find their email addresses, create a custom targeted advertising list on Facebook, and spend £10 targeting them with your blog and asking for a job? Sounds fun.
Blogging is a valuable way to improve your writing skills, show industry knowledge, and discuss activities you’re getting involved with.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
My interests are with emerging or disruptive technologies and their effect on society. So the impact of automation on media relations or how SEO skillsets impact public relations programmes.
Make sure you visit Michael’s webiste and blog. Michael can be also found sharing some insightful thoughts on Twitter, under the @ handle. You can also find him on LinkedIn. In addition, you can go and follow Lansons and visit their website.
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!