It's been a while since we've had a "Why Work in PR?" interview but today we have Angharad Welsh sharing with us her PR career story and offering some very actionable advice for students and young professionals who want to learn more about the industry and how to get into it.
Angharad and I have never met before but I discovered her article for the #FuturePRoof book project where I also wrote a chapter and I was intrigued. I found that, in addition to #FuturePRoof, we had a few other things in common, like Cheltenham where she lives and where I used to live and Muddywall - a magazine we both used to write for.
I dug into Angharad's online presence a bit and I found that she had an interesting story to tell, coming from a broadcast journalism background. So I emailed her and I invited her to do an interview for the series. She accepted and I was delighted.
Why Work in Public Relations: Interview with Angharad Welsh
1. As a short introduction, can you tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
Sure! I’m Angharad; Senior Account Manager at Gravitas PR, a health and environment comms agency based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Writing is my first love and I’ve contributed chapters to both My #PRstack books, #FuturePRoof and various PR blogs in the last 18 months. I’ve also written a lot of unpublished fiction, but we won’t talk about that just now! Fun facts – the English translation of Angharad is ‘much loved one’ (make of that what you will), and you can find me tweeting from @Welsh_PR.
2. Why did you choose a career in PR?
Honestly, it was a happy accident. I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and started working in radio. Let me tell you, video definitely did not kill the radio star and I’m still a big fan of the medium, subscribing to more podcasts than I can ever hope to listen to. I ended up as the newsreader at a local station in South Wales, which had limited marketing and PR resources, and I started looking for opportunities to reach out to listeners. Before that, I wasn’t even aware of what PR was (Ab Fab was not the greatest teacher on that front) but it turned out I was good at it and the exposure started having an impact so I decided to investigate further.
3. How exactly did you get into PR and what experiences have you gathered so far?
I had speculatively applied for PR jobs before I graduated (I offer my sincerest apologies to anyone that received a garbled application from me circa 2007/08) without really knowing what the job entailed.
Once I'd taken the PR and marketing reins for the station when I wasn’t on the air, I began enjoying that part of my job more and more.
Now for the embarrassing confession, my decision to get into PR wasn’t purely based on my experience of the industry…it was also for a boy.
Word to the wise – never do anything for a relationship in your early 20s!
Having said that, my choice, for whatever reason, led me to where I am now and I've been able to build a career I love and am very proud of (I'm afraid for the romantics reading, the same can't be said for that early relationship!)
In terms of experience, I’ve worked for the BBC, various commercial radio stations and magazines like All About Soap and The Cheltonian. I will be forever grateful to my first agency, Leapfrog PR, for taking a chance on me and giving me my official start in PR.
4. What's your biggest professional achievement so far?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. There’s so much I want to do still that I guess I wouldn’t say I’ve had a ‘biggest achievement’ yet.
I don’t give much weight to awards, especially with what happened at the Cannes Lions this year and PR Weeks recent campaign of the month winner, but I am pretty chuffed to have worked on some fantastic, award-winning campaigns in recent years.
I am also immensely proud of being part of both the #PRstack and #FuturePRoof communities and to have contributed chapters to the projects. There’s so many great things ahead for the industry and I’m excited to play a small role in it through these inspiring groups.
5. What advice would you give to students considering working in PR?
I’m not wholly convinced by PR degrees; many of the best thinkers and practitioners I know don’t have them, but a degree can be very useful. So I guess my advice would be to do something that has the right transferable skills and that excites you.
Other than that, work experience all the way! It doesn’t have to be with a big name London company to make a difference, but you do have to commit to it. If you start a blog, blog at least once a week. Follow the right people on Twitter and join the conversation, and dedicate time to reading great industry books, blogs and resources. Research companies you want to work at and people you want to work with and see what you have to do to get there.
Greatest piece of advice I could give you is volunteer your time. Say yes to as many good opportunities as possible. You won’t be great at picking the good from the bad in the beginning (trust me!), but stick with it and it will truly help shape your career.
Oh, and if you’re a woman? Don’t be afraid to be ‘bloody difficult’!
Wondering if PR is the right career for you? Try the PR Profile Fit Test and find out! Download it for free by clicking on the image below!