The beauty of PR


This is an article by Abigail Johnson.
You could write for Behind the Spin too. Find out how here.

Abigail Johnson: seeking entertainment

The beauty of PR is the variety it offers, the excitement it exudes and the results it produces.

Everyone is attracted to some sort of PR, from the challenges of crisis management to the glamour of fashion PR.

For me, it has always been entertainment PR.

I know people will instantly make their own assumptions about this sector but entertainment PR is just as challenging as others but for me it is fun and fast paced and offers everything I am looking for.

The last few weeks have been spent filling in endless applications, selling yourself in covering letters, all in the hope that an employer will want to hire you. It’s stressful, time consuming and tiring but worth every minute.

Sian Floyd at UKTV

To find out more about this sector, I spoke to Sian Floyd, a Leeds met student currently on placement at UKTV, one of the most successful multi channel providers in the UK, attracting 39 million viewers each month.

Guaranteed you will have watched one of their channels at some point or other, whether it is ‘Mock the Week’ on Dave or improving your student meals on Good Food.

But what should we expect when we enter the working world?

Sian found her placement via the placements office, which offers some amazing placements and opportunities.

Studying PR is obviously very different to being immersed fully into the spin world, something we face this year. We learn the theories and skills but how will this fare when we’re being paid to represent some of the biggest companies?

A typical day at UKTV consists of orchestrating the distribution of pictures for press clippings, contacting companies and even helping out with photo shoots and events, which all sounds quite glamorous on paper.

Put aside the visions of the luxurious perks of the jobs, the fashion and finer things, what does it really take to make it in a cut throat industry?

‘A passion for entertainment PR is so important considering the competition, so know your stuff and stand out’, says Sian. Also, ‘patience’ is a virtue when it comes to this sector, dealing with talent takes time!

UKTV is based in the heart of London and while that’s exciting, it is also quite daunting. I’m a northerner through and through and whilst it would be nice to escape the constant bad weather, I wonder how I will adjust to the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Sian faced this same situation, worried about not knowing many people, she packed up and moved down south and with ‘so much to do, it’s impossible to get bored’, and the staff at UKTV are some of the friendliest people you can meet.

London is where entertainment PR thrives, it’s where all the magazines/newspapers and broadcast journalists are based, according to Sian, so making that move could be one of the best decisions and opportunities you take.

UKTV offer great opportunities for students looking for a placement and amongst her portfolio, Sian has scored some major coverage for the company, including a slot on Harry Hill’s TV Burp and Fearne Cotton’s show at Radio One for one of her clients, a massive achievement, and this could be you next year.

The beauty of PR is that one day is never the same to the next; it provides amazing opportunities to learn about new things and meet some of the best people in the business.

Sian Floyd Case Study: A Very British Party

Series Overview

A Very British Party (8 x 60mins) is the latest output of award-winning Big Fat Gypsy Weddings indie, Firecracker Films, and will deliver a collection of characters who feel like a real-life version of a comedy sketch show. The intimate and observational series follows the great British public as they put the Lambrusco on ice, prepare to let their hair down, and celebrate the landmark moments of their lives in most unusual ways.

Transmitting in October, viewers will find out what’s cooking at an exclusive nudist dinner party; how multi-millionaire pensioners celebrate their four-year-old’s birthday; what motivates a former city trader to spend £30,000 on a party for a dog; and what two hundred fourteen year-olds get up to at a sleepover.

Press Strategy

Several team members worked on different aspects of the press strategy for this campaign. The approach I worked on was to isolate and draw out the extraordinary contributors with tightly targeted placement.

Therefore, it was my responsibility to place a contributor from the show in a publication that suited them best.

How I Approached It

I was given the responsibility of looking after the contributor Chanel. Chanel is an eighteen year-old, fun-loving Bristolian who loves to party. For her party, she hosted a Burlesque night to launch herself as a club promoter.

Our initial strategy with Chanel was to place feature interviews with her in women’s weekly magazines such as OK!, Star and Now. However, this didn’t seem too successful, so we tried a younger approach.

What I Did

Harry Hill’s TV Burp

As the series was comical, we decided to approach Harry Hill’s TV Burp to see if they would feature the show on their programme. I sent the producers at the show several viewing copies to gain their interest. This seemed to work and after three episodes, they featured A Very British Party on three separate occasions, each time Harry giving a TX credit. Each feature lasted for approximately 10 minutes.

Fearne Cotton – Radio 1

We got in contact with the producer of Fearne Cotton’s show to see if she would be interested in talking about the programme on her show. Again, we sent her several viewing copies so she could preview it and get to know the characters well. Again, this seemed to work as she started talking regularly about the show and in particular, how much she loved Chanel.

Jumping at this opportunity, we asked her if she would like to do a live interview with Chanel. They agreed and we gained a 20 minute interview slot on Fearne’s show. By this point though, I had built up a good relationship with the Radio 1 producers and got them to agree to have Chanel be Fearne’s official Christmas party organiser. This entailed Chanel ringing up celebrities and inviting them to Fearne’s party. Clips of Chanel doing this were played out on Radio One for two weeks. In each clip, Chanel mentioned that she was from the show, A Very British Party, meaning we got a great brand credit.

Results

Gaining coverage on Radio 1 and Harry Hill had fantastic results, as the total reach for these pieces of coverage was 14, 708, 000.  

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