A year of PR lessons


By Amy Metzelaar, PR account manager

A little over a year ago, Harris opened its doors to me as its new PR account executive. With no formal PR training or qualifications before I started at Harris, the idea of working on real PR campaigns for real clients seemed daunting, but it’s true what they say: nothing beats hands-on experience.

From my first week on the job, I was given tasks for our clients under the supervision of the rest of the team, and I truly believe that no amount of classroom-style learning would have taught me all I now know about PR as much as being involved in the work from the very start has.

Here are the five biggest lessons I’ve learnt in my first year in PR:

1. The value of teamwork

PR is so much more than sitting and writing an endless stream of words; it’s collaborating with the whole team to make sure the best possible results are achieved. Whether it’s getting different ideas on how to promote a story or proofreading someone’s press release, working as a team rather than an individual is essential for delivering, or exceeding, a client’s expectations.

2. No idea is a bad idea

At Harris, there’s very much a culture of taking everyone’s ideas into consideration, which is what allows us to deliver award-winning campaigns for our clients. Working as part of a team means that plenty of ideas can be considered and built on until we’re confident they’ll get the desired results – and I’m proud that a number of my social media campaign ideas for 2019 are already in practice.

3. So much goes on behind the scenes

Working in PR is more than simply writing press releases and scheduling social media content. Tasks such as creating media lists, monitoring coverage, analysing social media results, engaging with followers and building relationships with journalists might not be what come to mind immediately, but they play a huge role in the end goal: client satisfaction.

4. To-do lists are your best friend

Because there’s so much going on, and it’s not unusual for priorities to have to shift at the last minute, organisation is key and it’s important not to forget the seemingly minor tasks. While I’ve always been organised, the past year has taught me the value of meticulous planning in my professional development.

5. There’s always something to learn

Before joining Harris, I’d previously worked in roles which involved doing the same set processes day in, day out. While these roles taught me valuable skills and allowed me to gain workplace experience, there was a limit on how much else I could learn within that role. PR is the complete opposite of this. I’m always learning new things about PR and social media, as well as the construction industry – something I never expected to be knowledgeable of!

The past year with Harris has been challenging, rewarding and exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.


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