Where are you based?
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I was in my early twenties and just finished a training on the job at a real estate company. I took a year off to spend in London, where I took several internships, I was interested in so many different things and I knew deep down that I want to work self-employed. Back in Berlin I started working as a freelancer in the music industry, supporting independent record labels by implementing their musicians’ branding. I organised photo shootings, brought in stylists, made collaborations with fashion brands to dress the artists and supported the promotion of their gigs. At that time, the people in the working industry I met who I found most fascinating were publicity experts. One final day, I just turned 25, I realised that what I am doing and where I want to head to is Public Relations. Aside from taking in my first PR clients, I accomplished studies in journalism to bring more profound knowledge to the table. As of today (I’m 33), I would say that Public Relations is what I will be happily doing all my life.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
You hear a lot of people starting out in Public Relations, but change jobs after one year. It is a tough job from the point of view that you are solely valued by the (published) results that follow your work. Also, you got a lot of clients that do not understand how Public Relations work. It is a long-term effort. I am proud that I found ways to prevent frustrations with clients and therefore ensuring that my work stays enjoyable. My solution: I put the focus on the consultation. The aim is to make my client, mostly a CEO of an innovative venture or an artist, a partner in all public relations efforts. I teach them passionately about my skills, e.g. how the process of getting publicised works, that they start to get passionate about Public Relations, too. They basically start coming up with stronger communications ideas for their ventures. I am the partner to implement those.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
Apart from my great efforts in consultation for making my client work towards the same direction with me when it comes to comms, and understanding Public Relations and the value of our different tools, e.g. generate mentions, I would identify the one person in the venture that would represent the company best, and establish an industry expert status for her or him. Mostly, this is the founder or CEO of the company and with this person, I work closest. By setting up a content strategy and publicise articles for the expert, the company participates in getting more personalised (in marketing you’d say the brand becomes a soul), and the company participates from a lot of mentions. Most organisations I worked for weren’t aware that by putting themselves out there and making their knowledge accessible, this would boost the company’s brand awareness.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
Understanding that most clients have an idea of Public Relations, but that you would make them truly understand your job in order to make them work efficiently with you, also make them realise that Public Relations needs to be seen as a long-term effort.
Another challenge I faced when realising that a lot of founders in the creative industries who come up with highly innovative ventures, e.g. architects or product designers, quite often lack the budget to actually be able to pay my fees in the launch process. This is why I started the platform PRontheGO.com, which is a FREE Public Relations initiative for Digital Startups and Creative Entrepreneurs.
PRontheGO.com is an online-service-portal which delivers actionable PR tips and inspiration in a do-it-yourself format. I am just getting started, but you can already find some relevant PR content such as tips and links for press coverage, as well as journalist contacts. I find any solution where creative founders get the support to take marketing and communication efforts in their own hands, highly important. This way, they get the opportunity to establish themselves on the market, grow, and bring jobs one day. Branswer follows a similar direction, and that is why I really like the tool!
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Find your niche! The more you focus on finding out what you are truly good at (better than the rest), the easier you will find the right niche to market yourself in. The more you do what you are best in, the more you will enjoy your work and the easier it will be for your clients to find you.
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