I got skills, they're multiplying...

Posted on January 11, 2018


What are the key skills needed to succeed in a bustling PR envoirnment? 

Our Press Office Manager, Daniel Lynch, is the fulcrum in a busy media and content team and spins hundreds of plates every day. How does he stop them from smashing? Daniel talks about the important skills to develop if you fancy a career in PR. Take it away, Daniel...

1. Interviewing

This is something only journalists and recruitment panels do, right? 

Wrong. 

As part of our work with many of our clients like the Amazon Marketplace team, we regularly chat to entrepreneurs and sellers about their businesses. Very often, the stories are based on the growth of a family business, or a business seeing a new lease of life thanks to selling online. But, ask the right questions and you might just find a nuclear physicist selling jewellery from his home in rural Scotland! Knowing how and when to ask questions during a conversation can be the difference between striking or missing the detail that makes a story a hit.

2. Geography

At Clearbox we work with a lot of regional media outlets all over the UK and Ireland. When a journalist asks about the geography of the story, it’s important to know exactly where it happened, where that is in relation to where the journalist is and whether that area is in their patch. Pronouncing place names correctly is key too - Google is your friend if you have a story in Bicester or Slaithwait. 

3. Negotiating

Working with suppliers, clients, journalists and influencers puts us at the centre of some interesting relationships. Being able to negotiate an outcome that prioritises our client’s interests but ensures suppliers, journalists and influencers aren’t neglected is a key part of the job. Sometimes it’s just a case of managing expectations on all sides, but it’s always good to have a cool head and a calm response to any tension that might pop up.

4. Quick Maths

We learned a lot from Big Shaq, not least that two plus two is four, minus one, that’s three. Being able to run numbers quickly in your head can be a lifesaver. Managing budgets might be in the job description, but can you work out what 35% of something is in your head when you’re on a client call and hesitation could make it look like you’re not on the ball?

5. Proofing

Can you spot a wayward apostrophe at 200 paces? We often get asked to proof read each other’s work. Having a second set of eyes, with no prior knowledge of the work, can be a great way to make sure your writing makes sense and communicates what you want it to. Getting used to quickly wrapping your head round copy you haven’t seen before, critically analysing it and checking for grammar is an important skill.

6. Videography/Photography

We’re no strangers to the bright lights and a chalkboard clacker at Clearbox, whether it’s making videos for clients or snapping office shenanigans ‘for the ‘gram.’ Being a dab hand with a camera and some editing software is a great skill to have, and if you aren’t directly using the camera, being able to explain your vision to whoever is using it comes a close second.

7. Selective Hearing

With different projects happening all the time, Clearbox is a vibrant and busy office, but now and again that also means the noise level could make Motorhead sound pretty tame. We have breakout rooms and meeting rooms for when you need to get your head down and block out the other goings on, but sometimes selective hearing (and patience) is required when the office is at its busiest.

8. Excel - ent

Excel and Numbers are two programmes I find myself using every day at Clearbox, but didn’t have a lot of experience of before. They’re great for building media lists, keeping progress tables of how campaigns are going, creating budgets and lots more. It’s well worth spending time getting familiar with both programmes and how best to arrange the information you need. I just wish I remembered all those Excel formulas we “learned” in GCSE ICT...

9. Chill

Like many offices, Clearbox has some strong personalities. Throw in some high profile clients, a wide range of different projects going on simultaneously and our passion for doing the best work we can and things can get a bit heated. It’s a healthy and natural part of working in an office, and it’s all because we’re ambitious and working towards the same goal. 

With that in mind, it’s important to know when to bite your tongue and make sure everything stays professional. It’s a skill needed in many work places and professions, but at Clearbox, industrial quantities of tea (see point 10) and lunchtime yoga classes help keep everything pretty zen.

10. Biscuit Analysis

Last but not least, can you explain the virtues of a Rocky over a Wagon Wheel to a group of your peers? Do you know when a biscuit becomes a bar? We love a round of tea at Clearbox and nothing goes better with tea than a good biscuit. This usually leads to some heated discussions about which biscuits are best.