Name: Dan Slee
Job title: Director
Did you go to university?
I went to Newcastle Polytechnic in the North East of England. This turned into the University of Northumbria part way through. I got a 2.2 in English & History. Not knowing what I wanted to do I ended up on a newspaper. When I realised I wanted to be a journalist I completed an NCTJ Pre-Entry certificate in Journalism at Darlington College.
What was your first job in PR?
Walsall Council as a press officer.
there was a real sense that the rulebook was being written and we were all writing it
How did you get from there to your current role?
I was there for eight years and while I was there the internet happened. Or rather, we discovered the internet. This was around 2008. As we were experimenting in how to use the social web for local government we came across like-minded people. There was a real spirit of ‘JFDI’ at that time. That’s Just Flipping Do It. So I started to blog and attended unconferences where there was a real sense that the rulebook was being written and we were all writing it. I’d been blogging for several years and I’d be nagging my colleague Darren Caveney to follow suit. So, we started comms2point0 together as a place to share ideas and blogs. Eventually, people asked us to do things and this became both our day jobs.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
It can be drastically different depending. I’ve worked everywhere from Aberdeen to Dorset so this could be delivering training or events or working from home. I have co-working space at Impact Hub in Birmingham.
What do you like most about working in PR?
It’s an exciting time. Things are changing and evolving. Being able to put some bright ideas in front of people and see a light bulb go on with them is amazing.
PR to most people is a toxic word
What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
People often don’t value it and I tend to think of what I do as ‘communications’ rather than PR. I tend to think that PR to most people is a toxic word.
Who is your PR inspiration?
There’s too many. Nick Booth. Although, he’s not PR at all. He’s digital engagement. But he was the first person to show me the social web and that really fired the starting pistol. Tom Fletcher. Although, he’s not PR either. He was the UK’s Ambassador to Beirut and a brilliant thinker on how the web is changing how states and individuals operate. Stephen Waddington the former CIPR President for being consistently original and challenging in his thinking. Robert Phillips the author of ‘Trust Me: PR is Dead’ for his original thinking.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
‘You no longer have to go through the Priesthood of journalists to talk to your residents.’ This was Nick Booth.
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
Every working day on comms2point0 we post six links a day so I tend to be quite a voracious hoover of new content. It’s easier to think of channels rather than individuals but I find LinkedIn just as helpful for great stuff as Twitter.
Be open to new ideas
What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
Don’t stop learning. Be open to new ideas. Ask for advice. But know that if you stop learning you’ll come a cropper.