by Anne-marie Payne
In my time I’ve gained coverage for a huge diversity of products, services and companies. One of my first clients was PWT, which was the sewage division of Thames Water. So how as a 23 year old did I manage to find enough inspiration and enthusiasm in the subject area of human waste treatment to persuade a bunch of journalists to put on wellies and wade through poo? Because I found the story fascinating! It isn’t about feigning interest in the subject; to be truly successful and achieve fantastic results I needed to be inspired by the subject. And to be inspired I needed to do my homework.
To me knowledge is inspiration. The more you find out, the more you have to work with. The most successful people I have worked with over the past 20 odd years have been brimming over with knowledge. They do their research, find a hook, in sometimes the darkest most hidden corners of an organisation. Never ignore the quiet ‘geek’ in the corner, as they could be a mine of information. By being passionate about a subject you can find common interests that help you to engage with so many audiences. Moving away from what is termed ‘traditional’ PR to social media, this ability to find interesting common ground can transform a campaign from being ordinary to extraordinary.
If you are hoping to build a career in communications, I would recommend finding everything interesting. Become passionate about your clients and get under the skin of the business. Spend time with people who don’t necessarily have a marketing role. If you find something interesting the chances are so will your audience. The resulting energy and enthusiasm will become infectious to your audience and will probably inspire your client, or colleagues. Working in the agency world I have become more a jack of all subjects, rather than a master of one, but then my clients are the experts, I’m just the translator between what they want to say and what their audience want to hear.
It’s great being Jack and it’s made my career a joy. Do your homework, find something interesting in everything you do, and you will find success follows very quickly.