Name: Lucy Hayball
University: Bournemouth University
Course: BA (Hons) Public Relations
Why did you choose to study PR?
This is always the question I laugh to myself about. I never set out to study PR, it took me a while to even understand what it was. I have always been creative and fascinated by the media so I knew that I wanted to do something along that line. Because of this, I was led down the PR/Advertising/Marketing route. I attended open days at Universities, researched career prospects and the ‘ideal PR person’. PR is crucial for organisations and looking at my research and skills, I decided that the PR route was most suited to me.
What has your course involved?
Bournemouth’s course covers a range of important aspects of PR. The first year has a strong focus on the basics of the PR industry with the skills and knowledge that will help support learning later in the course. The first year included the basics of PR including writing skills, The link between the media and society, The psychology of opinion and persuasion, reputation and campaign analysis. The second year has been all about building upon these skills. So far the course has included digital communication strategies, a creativity unit with Edelman, media management, a research project and stakeholders. All of the units complement each other really well.
I’ve developed a strong interest for social media and how influential it is
What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
The most interesting aspect of studying PR is understanding how powerful the media is. I’ve developed a strong interest for social media and how influential it is in today’s society. How easy it can be for reputation to be crushed and how much power we now have as consumers.
Will you do a year in industry placement?
The PR degree at Bournemouth has a compulsory placement year. I have been lucky enough to have been offered a placement. From June, I will join L’Oréal as a PR and Comms intern. I am so excited to see the differences between in house and agency. Experience for me is the most important thing. You can study a PR degree but putting it into practice is the most important thing. I cannot wait to explore the industry and build upon my skills for an entire year.
I had the best time of my life on work experience
Have you any other PR experience?
During the summer of my first year, I spent five weeks at Frank PR in London. I knew I would have to start looking for placements so I wanted to see what working in PR was like. One of the most interesting things was seeing how my knowledge would be applied and applying it to clients that wanted a result. It showed me a new way of looking at PR.
I had the best time of my life on work experience. I learnt so many new skills including generating media lists, working with influencers, what working on a filming shoot was like, selling in and lots more. I didn’t only grow in PR skills but myself too. It boosted my confidence so much and I would actively encourage any PR student to undertake work experience.
What are your aspirations for after university?
After university, I definitely want to work in the communications industry. I have absolutely fallen in love with PR so getting a job within this field would be a dream come true. I absolutely loved my work experience which has excited me for my placement and grad jobs. I’ve always been someone who plans ahead so if you asked me what my 5-year plan would be, it would definitely involve a communications job in London or Bristol/Bath.
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I do try my best to read as many publications as possible, but I tend to find much of it on Twitter. PR Week is a firm favourite to catch up with what is going on in the industry. But if I am being honest, I follow many industry professionals such as Stephen Waddington. Many of these professionals and the agencies will have their own blogs and publish their own content. Often, it is on current issues and I regularly find myself reading these.
Who is your PR inspiration?
Before I started my work experience I never had considered who my PR inspiration was. But since leaving Frank they have all inspired me. Andrew Bloch (Founder and Group MD), Alex Grier (MD), Lou Such (Senior Strategy and Planning Executive) and Paddy Hobbs (now Head of Sport at Pretty Green) all inspired me. I know that it’s not exactly one inspiration but collectively, these people made me realise my love for the communications industry. They gave me the opportunities and confidence I needed to feel inspired to reach my goal and start a career in the PR industry. They helped me believe in myself.
don’t be afraid to use Twitter
What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
I think you need to research the industry and know yourself more than anything. Think about what you are good at what you are interested in and compare it to what is currently going on in the industry. The biggest tip that I could share is don’t be afraid to use Twitter. Follow industry professionals and the #PRStudent hashtag – see what is being talked about. The #PRStudent blog community aren’t scary – feel free to drop us a message!