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What I have learnt at Maxim

July, 2015

Student Isaac Dennis, 16, spent a week with Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim to find out more about the world of public relations. 

During my week’s work experience at Maxim PR, I learnt about some of the core tasks crucial to success in public relations.

One of the most important tasks to be done was updating the extensive database of contacts that Maxim has, making sure that the journalists, and their contact details, working for a particular paper is all correct. There is no use sending a press release to a journalist who no longer works for the paper you want the story to be published in. Equally, they could have a different phone number or e-mail address to the one they had last year. If you do not have the correct contact details to hand, it wastes valuable time, trying to contact the person you want. Time is very important in PR, as you always have to work to strict deadlines.

Writing a press release

I learnt the basic structure of a press release this week, and how to make it appealing to be published. It is important that you give the journalist all the important facts that they need to write the story, but also that you do not make it too long, as large amounts of your release will be cut from the article. You also have to make it interesting, with a snappy headline to attract attention and a good introduction paragraph to make people want to read further.

I thought it was interesting that, in a PR company, you draft quotes for people and then clear them with that particular person, instead of taking the quote from something that they have previously said.

I have also learnt about another aspect of PR; I was asked to improve the responses that a spokesperson from one of Maxim’s clients had written to a magazine about why pubs should use its products. I could rewrite the answers that they had given, as the magazine was yet to receive them. It is important that I made the responses more suitable for the questions and the magazine, but without changing what they had said too much. Without these changes it is possible that the article in the magazine would not have convinced many pub owners to use their product.

The most important task

However, perhaps the most important aspect of PR, or indeed any office, is making tea for colleagues. It keeps morale and hydration at a sustainable level. At first I had not fully grasped its significance, and I found myself not making any tea myself, after all, other people had offered to make tea. As a consequence, I had only made two rounds of tea in the entire week. I think this is an area that needs improvement, or I think it will be difficult to gain employment in my adult life.

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