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A week at Maxim: An insight into the world of PR

July, 2017

Durham University student Jack Reed, 19, spent a week at Kent-based PR agency Maxim, learning about the PR industry and going out for breakfast with Director Andrew Metcalf.

As a history and politics student, language and communication is vitally important to me. It forms the bedrock of my degree, since I have to be able to convey my ideas and thoughts clearly and effectively on paper. However, I wanted to learn more about the significance of adapting the way we speak to suit different audiences as well as improving how I write to present the key messages in the simplest form.

I saw PR as an ideal industry to gain experience in these skills and Maxim, a highly successful PR firm with a broad range of different clients from different sectors, seemed the perfect place to gain this experience.

Entering the world of PR

On my first day, everyone in the office, who seemed keen to ensure I made the most of my week at the firm, warmly welcomed me. I was delighted to meet Maxim’s most valued member Alice, who went from scampering energetically around the office to lying on the windowsill staring out at Tunbridge Wells.

While there are many work experience horror stories of making tea and filing documents, I instantly knew this wouldn’t be the case at Maxim. After a quick chat with Andrew, I started working on a major development project that Maxim was involved in. 

I was tasked with doing lots of research and looking through previous press releases to build a story for the latest release and gather a sense of the style and structure. The writing style required is different to that used for essay writing, but, fortunately, I used my experience of writing for the Durham student newspaper to try and write as factually and concisely as I could.

After writing the draft and checking over it for any errors, I gave it to Andrew who made some changes, notably cutting out several words and phrases that added very little to the content of the release – a skill I can take with me into my second year at Durham.

My trials, tribulations and PR revelations

Over the course of the week, I was then handed many similar tasks, in terms of being handed a brief for a press release and having to write it, but there was also a considerable degree of variety in what I did. The large amount of clients that Maxim works with means every piece of writing was different and interesting in its own way.

One of my most enjoyable pieces of work over the week was a task involving the introduction of renewable technologies. This particular job involved having to work from the initial stage of researching about the technologies and thinking about the possible story for the press release before then actually gathering statistics together and drafting the release.

This gave me a real sense of working from the start to the end of a task for a client and, overall, I learnt that, by understanding the client’s aims and ensuring you have a positive working relationship, a successful PR campaign is much easier to achieve.

A week ‘Maxim’ised to its potential

Working at Maxim has been a thoroughly enjoyable, beneficial and positive experience that I would recommend to anybody looking at a career in PR or in a related industry.

The team have been fantastic to work with and have always been willing to look over my work and talk through any changes they’ve made rather than just handing it back and sending me away again. This developed my understanding of how to be successful in PR and I am very thankful for all they have done for me throughout the week.

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