Six lessons from a “recent-ish” PR graduate

I was delighted to present at the annual Communications Conference run by the DIT PRPA Society recently. The title of my presentation was,”Lessons from a recent-ish MAPR graduate”. As someone who graduated from the MA in PR in 2010 it gave me a good chance to take stock of some of the tips and tricks I have picked since I graduated. Well done to the organisers of the event who I am sure have a bright PR future ahead of them, I was particularly impressed with the high turnout for a Friday afternoon!

Standing out

  • Do what you can to differentiate yourself, there’s lots like you who are hungry for that first job out of college.
  • ALWAYS adapt your CV and cover letter to suit the job. Get creative with how you apply for jobs.
  • Volunteer, round out your CV. Get involved with different organisations or projects.


  • This will always be one of the most crucial skills for PRs.
  • Write all the time. Hone your craft. Blog. Contribute to other outlets where you feel you can offer an insight or opinion.
  • In the ideal world you want what appears in print/online etc. about your client to be as close as possible to your release. Make the job easier by always writing with the journalists in mind.
  • Avoid stupid grammatical and spelling errors.

Knowing your channels

  • Read, watch, listen as much as you can.
  • Pick up random magazines, go to random websites you usually wouldn’t. You never know where inspiration for a pitch will come from.
  • Never pitch somewhere without doing your research on the recipient. There is no quicker way to annoy media.
  • Never rely on someone else’s media list without checking all the recipients first.


  • Network as much as you can, you never know where your next client could come from!
  • Online is a great way of networking. More and more relationships are built and nurtured online.
  • Don’t forget about the “real world” though. Get to as many events as you can that fit with the work you want to pursue.

Understanding Business

  • Remember everything you do has a business objective.
  • Get a feel for the hours you work on different clients, try and be productive with your time.
  • Be humble. Remember, what some might consider “wishy-washy” is designed to fulfil some business objective.
  • Treat all those you deal with professionally at all times.
  • Don’t devalue yourself or the work you have put into getting your education by working for free.

Always Be Learning

  • The more you know about everything the better.
  • You never know when that blog post you read on that obscure topic might come in handy.
  • Try to learn about people in advance before meeting them.
  • Try to make yourself an expert on a topic where your organisation lacks that expertise e.g. Snapchat, Internal Comms, Photoshop.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn from colleagues, friends, clients, online and anywhere else you can.

These are just my own thoughts based on my own experience. If you have any advice for young communications graduates please share them.

The full presentation is here:


Wilson Hartnell takes home two awards at PR Awards for Excellence

Wilson Hartnell was delighted to win two awards at the recent PR Awards for Excellence that were held in The Conrad. WH picked up awards for its work on Calor and Electric Ireland.

Robert Marshall, Account Director – Public Affairs, Wilson Hartnell, and Sharon Nolan, Strategic Planning Manager, Calor Gas pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Robert Marshall, Account Director – Public Affairs, Wilson Hartnell, and Sharon Nolan, Strategic Planning Manager, Calor Gas pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Calor won the award for its Calor Community Champion initiative in the “Best corporate campaign in support of organisational values” category. The judges deemed that the winner demonstrated a thoughtful and energetic approach to achieving their objectives. Alongside the excellent PR practice, the dimensions noted by the judges were: the well-integrated, strong, geographical reach achieved; the focus on social media and establishment of new connections; and the successful link which was made between the company’s business and giving back, locally, around the country.

Electric Ireland and Wilson Hartnell at the PR Awards for Excellence

Lynne D'Arcy, Account Director – Sports Marketing & Sponsorship , Wilson Hartnell, and Sean Walsh, Electric Ireland pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Electric Ireland scooped the “Best use of sponsorship” award.  The judges found that the sponsorship campaign from Electric Ireland was an outstanding example of a sponsorship achieving results which reverberated across all aspects of the brand communications. The judges found it a positive and appealing sponsorship – and the PR execution was creative, tactical, and well considered. The dynamic imagery created to launch the campaign became part of a fully integrated campaign, above and below the line. And the sponsorship achieved a real connection with consumers, the media and the company’s own employees – with post activation research showing that all objectives set were met, and far exceeded!

Wilson Hartnell wins big at Social Media Awards 2013

Wilson Hartnell was delighted to be part of two client wins at the recent Social Media Awards 2013. The awards, popularly known as “The Sockies”, are hotly contested, so it was great to come away with two gongs on the night.

Emer Lawn, Radical, Eleanor Murphy, The National Lottery, Nicola Timmons, BlueCube and Martyn Rosney, Wilson Hartnell

Emer Lawn, Radical, Eleanor Murphy, The National Lottery, Nicola Timmons, BlueCube and Martyn Rosney, Wilson Hartnell

The National Lottery won for Best Social Media Only campaign. Its Facebook page is the National Lottery’s primary interaction with fans of the brand and the campaign was designed to reward fans with a fun app that would not only reward these fans but also raise awareness of an upcoming EuroMillions Super Draw. The app, Peggy’s Pad,  was a fun online game which saw people virtually visit the home of the star of the EuroMillions adverts and compete to win €500 each day. The campaign involved a multi-agency approach. We wanted fans of the page to feel affinity with the brand, and also to play the game more than once all the while raising awareness of  the EuroMillions Super Draw. The campaign was very successful generating a 16% increase in page likes, almost 13,000 players and almost 750,000 open graph impression during the five days of the campaign. Be sure to like the National Lottery on Facebook.

As part of the global Ogilvy network, WH has access to a wealth of experience and knowledge in all aspects of digital. Here at WH we have a team of digital strategists embedded across all of our six practice areas; corporate, consumer marketing, lifestyle, health, public affairs and sports marketing. We work on all aspects of digital from strategy and channel planning through to content creation, app builds and influencer engagement.

Donal McSharry and Fabio Molle from Funky Christmas Jumper

Donal McSharry and Fabio Molle from Funky Christmas Jumpers

Funky Christmas Jumpers won for Best Online PR campaign. WH was tasked with developing and implementing a PR campaign to support the launch of Funky Christmas Jumpers 2012. A series of engaging tactics were created to drive awareness and sales including a launch event held in the pop up boutique on South William Street, Dublin. Online activity was driven through the use of high profile celebrities including One Direction’s Niall Horan and Harry StylesRosanna Davison and Scott Disick. Funky Christmas Jumpers also ran an online campaign to find Ted, the Funky Christmas Jumper’s mascot which was missing in Dublin and popped up in all sorts of places! Funky Christmas Jumpers became the go to option for the ultimate high quality Christmas jumper with features on The Late Late Toy Show and TV3’s Xposé secured among many others. Follow Funky Christmas Jumpers on TwitterFacebook or The Funky Christmas Jumper Blog.