I remember my first day in Digital PR like it was yesterday, bright eyed, excited… and not really knowing what Digital PR was.
The digital PR industry is still new, but it’s thriving and it’s become a great starting point for those looking to begin a career in communications and marketing, with most agencies offering junior or graduate PR executive roles.
However, there’s a lot to consider when hiring juniors and graduates – as someone who started working in digital PR, fresh from university two years ago, these are the things I think you should take into consideration.
Don’t expect them to know what Digital PR is
As much as we don’t want to admit it – digital PR is still regarded as a ‘niche’ industry, one that you’re probably not aware of unless you’re either working within the likes of traditional PR, marketing or advertising, or you’re a business looking for digital PR activity.
I have a master’s degree in PR, and I still didn’t know what digital PR was when I graduated – it hadn’t been mentioned once in my entire course, not even when I’d learnt about SEO!
Especially for graduates, many university courses haven’t caught up yet, with PR, marketing and journalism covering a lot of different digital PR tactics under the guise of digital marketing, traditional PR and SEO, without actually calling it digital PR.
So, whilst you might have a future press release writing, prospecting, link building whiz sat across from you in a job interview, don’t expect them to be able to give you an explanation of what digital PR is.
Don’t skimp on the training
This might be a given, but it’s vital to give any entry level execs as much training as possible – starting with a detailed run down of what digital PR is, what it involves and its benefits. This should be followed by guides on how to ideate, prospect, outreach and write press releases, alongside training on SEO.
Whilst this might be applicable to any new starters, another great training resource is what each client expects, the kind of campaigns they run and their tone of voice.
Don’t pigeonhole them
If a new starter thrives in one area and not in another, they can easily get pigeonholed into that one specific area of PR by focussing just on their strengths, whether it be outreach, research and data collection or content writing.
However, it’s important to remember that these employees are at the very beginnings of their career, they’re still learning the ropes and what they might feel confident doing now, and what they might need a little bit more training on.
Stopping them from writing content or doing outreach, because they seem to be thriving more in data collection, or prospecting, not only stops them from becoming the all-round PR experts they’re capable of being, but can also set them back professionally.
These are my top things to consider when integrating junior team members into your PR team. If you have any others I’d love to hear them and if you’re a recent grad make sure you check out our top tips for getting a job in digital PR.