1. The name. I joined Maxim PR & Marketing in 2001. We dropped the ‘PR & Marketing’ in 2005 because we wanted to emphasise that we’re more than that. These days a lot of our work is in public affairs and my personal favourite, event management.
2. Email. When I applied for the job I sent my CV to the one email address that was shared between all eight staff. With hundreds of emails a day now being sent it’s hard to imagine how we ever coped without it. We used to print out hundreds of press releases, attach a hard copy of a photo and then lug them to the Post Office. I remember one occasion when a mistake was discovered on page two of a release - cue everyone staying late, removing staples and stuffing the correct version back into envelopes.
3. Photography. A good photograph can determine whether or not a press release gets coverage and how much space the story is given – professional photographers are worth the investment. With digital cameras becoming more commonplace, everyone thinks they can take a good press shot but that simply isn’t the case. (That said, I do remember being very proud when a photo of mine was published in Kent Business). Not that digital cameras are all bad; having hundreds of prints on my desk and placing a sticker on the back with the caption on is not a job that I miss. Fortunately I’m not quite old enough to remember transparencies.
4. The media. It goes without saying that the media have changed in the last decade. There are certainly fewer business publications these days and fewer journalists in general. Reporters are under increasing pressure to produce more content for constantly evolving media. It’s not uncommon for a reporter to turn up to an event (should they find the time to leave their desks) with a camera and Dictaphone in one hand and a mobile in the other so they can phone in copy to be uploaded to the website immediately – and of course keep the Twitter feed and Facebook page up to date. Obviously it’s part of our job to help and I like to think we make journalists’ lives that little bit easier.
5. The Internet. Another part of technology that it’s difficult to imagine living without now. At the agency where I worked previously, we had one computer that could access the web and we had to record every minute we were online and why – it was expensive back then. These days I have Hootsuite open all day to run the Maxim Twitter account and another window for general searches. When you have a job where you can be writing about playground equipment one moment, accountancy or bunkering (Google it) the next, you come to rely on the web for background information and contacts.
6. Social media. Something that barely existed 10 years ago but now a part of marketing that simply cannot be ignored. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and LinkedIn are all useful tools but keeping up with social media is a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one, in itself. Of course, these mediums allow anyone to post comments in public forums, so it’s part of our job to keep an eye out for anything that our clients might need to address.
7. Clients. Obviously our clients have changed over the years but I’m proud to say that we form long-lasting relationships with most. Seeing a project through from start to finish – such as the Little Cheyne Court wind farm on Romney Marsh which we worked on from planning through to the opening – is very satisfying. I’ve always preferred the b2b accounts (to the relief of some of my colleagues) but these days I’m kept busy with a play and fitness expert which I love. It was our work for Lappset Playworld that led to a trip to Lapland recently and an encounter with the real Santa – one of the highlights of my career!
8. Reputation. When I started in PR in 2000, most people associated the industry with ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and Edina and Patsy’s Bolly-fuelled lifestyle. I can safely say I have never spent the day drinking champagne and these days, I hope PR is taken a little more seriously with organisations recognising its value and journalists learning that we’re not all bad.
9. Personal life. My first day at Maxim was in July 2001. Three weeks later former deputy editor of the Sevenoaks Chronicle Tim Knight joined the team. After two years as colleagues and a few dates where I learned to tolerate Star Wars, we got married in 2007.
10. Colleagues. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some very talented people here, many of whom have become good friends. Tim and I got married on a Friday and the office was closed so everyone could come and celebrate with us – I don’t think that would happen in every organisation. My parents have always referred to Maxim as a ‘family’ and 10 years on, it has become my second home. Here’s to the next 10 years!
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