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A creative insight into PR

September, 2016

Newcastle University student Olivia McDaid, 19, spent a sunny week at Kent-based PR firm Maxim, learning about the industry and how creativity can be applied in the real world.

As an English Literature student, I am well aware of the importance of writing as a means of communication (I wouldn’t get a degree without it), but I wanted to gain an understanding of how creative writing is utilised by businesses in the real world.

This is why I became interested in PR, as it is an industry that involves a lot of written (and verbal) communication between all the stakeholders in a business – the client, business, consumer, public, community and local authorities. Maxim, a highly successful and established marketing and PR firm, therefore seemed the perfect place to gain some experience.

Let’s impress the press

Nerves were running high on my first day, but soon disappeared when I met the team. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and seemed to care for what I wanted to gain from the experience.

After making sure I was very well acquainted with one of Maxim’s most valued, fluffy haired members, Alice (no, not you Andrew), I was thrown straight into the work of PR. Andrew gave me a brief for a press release on Bewl Water’s successes of 2016 and asked me to draft it.

Maxim looks after the PR for Markerstudy Leisure, the company that owns Bewl Water, so I had a lot of helpful material to do my research. I could even turn to the press, as many of the recent goings on at Bewl had coverage in papers such as the Kent & Sussex Courier. Seeing Maxim’s press releases in the recent news was encouraging as I knew I was working on something topical. 

Writing in the style of a press release was very different to what I’m used to, most notably in the way that I was now writing for someone other than myself. The format of a press release was also something unfamiliar to me, but I was given plenty of examples to look over.

Once I had finished my draft, Andrew made amendments that highlighted the importance of being concise and factual in a press release, while also retaining the reader’s interest - a skill that I can transfer to my essays at uni.

A varied week

Over the next few days, I was given more writing tasks, each with a different style and brief. As Maxim has such a huge variety of clients, I never felt that what I was doing was monotonous. One day involved writing an article for London Array’s website, the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, before writing an article that revealed what you can buy with £2.50 for the website of bus operator Arriva.

I also got to accompany Andrew to a meeting with a Tunbridge Wells-based client. The meeting was very interesting, not only because the conversations touched on topics regarding my hometown, but also because it allowed me to see how PR works on a face-to-face level.

I learnt the importance of fully understanding the client’s work and aims, and how a good relationship with a client can pave the way to a successful PR campaign.

A pleasantly riveting PR experience

I learnt so much from my week at Maxim and got exactly the kind of experience I wanted. As everyone was willing to take time to look over my work, showing how it could be improved while also explaining the reasons for doing it, I came away with a genuine understanding and knowledge of successful PR.

The team have been great to work with, particularly Rachel and Alison who put up with my humming and crazy cooing over Alice (which occurred on some of the hottest days of the year) and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with them all. 


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