My Media Day: Julie Watt, account manager, Pagoda PR

JULIE Watt is an account manager at Pagoda Public Relations. She says she has been working in the Scottish media industry for eight years, both as a journalist – for the Dumfries and Galloway Standard – and in public relations, with experience in integrated PR campaigns spanning social media, media relations and reputation and issues management.

She submitted this on Tuesday, November 26.

What exactly is it you do?

My role varies hugely from day to day, which is why I love it, but in a nutshell, I create PR campaigns that aim to raise the profile of my clients in the media and increase awareness and understanding of what they do.

I also build and protect corporate reputation by helping clients understand how to engage with their customers and stakeholders.

It’s about helping clients reach the right people and communicate the right messages, at the right time, using the most appropriate channels.

What did your working day today or yesterday comprise?

My week started on a real high, after achieving widespread coverage in the weekend Press for one of our biggest clients, The Crown Estate. It was a good story, so I’m not surprised it got great pick up, but you still get a buzz from it, and most of all, the client is happy.

Mondays at Pagoda start with a company catch up. It’s an important meeting that involves every single member of staff. We discuss the big projects and issues we’ll be focussing on during the week ahead, important client events and opportunities for twitter. For me, this week’s priority is to plan an official opening of a care home. Although it isn’t happening until January, we’ve secured a Government Minister so organisation has to be meticulous – and I’m conscious people are already thinking about the Christmas holidays…

The Monday meeting is also a chance for our managing director, Ian Coldwell, to share any business development news, including current tender applications and deadlines.

Planning meetings for clients follow on from the company catch-up and then it’s head down and on with some work. Tomorrow, I’m out the office at a training course on Change Management and Leadership. This means a 6am start!

How different or similar is your average working day to when you started?

I started my career as a journalist, working on a bi-weekly newspaper, so I spent each day chasing stories and leads and building up my contacts. It was exciting, thrilling and at times completely terrifying. I was mentored by a few incredibly talented reporters whose support and advice helped me get to where I am today.

When I announced I was leaving my job as senior reporter, the inevitable poacher-turned-gamekeeper jokes surfaced. I’ve now joined the special breed of reporters-turned-PRs, who have an unique selling point: media insight.

I still need to find stories and build contacts but now I also need to identify the most appropriate journalist and pitch it to them – I just make sure when I pick up the phone, I have a genuine cracking story to tell.

How do you see your job evolving?

There was a time I didn’t look beyond the next edition of the paper I was working on. But public relations is quite different. We plan campaigns over several months, so you’re always thinking ahead.

I’m working in a time where big things are happening in the media industry. Traditional media is changing at a rapid pace and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. We’re constantly thinking about new and exciting ways of communicating with our audiences, whether it is online or through the latest social media craze.

How the media industry will evolve from here, I really don’t know but I’m looking forward to spending the next few years finding out.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

Without sounding cheesy, or like I’m trying to score brownie points with colleagues, I get a lot of satisfaction from working with a talented bunch of people who turn big ideas into reality.

I know I’m really lucky to have a pretty exciting job – working both in public relations and with the media: it’s varied, creative and good fun (most of the time).

I’ll always get a buzz from getting a journalist excited about a decent story I’ve found. I don’t think I’d be true to my roots if I didn’t. Other than that, it’s satisfying to see your ideas being rolled out from an initial brainstorm into campaigns which have the backing of your clients, as well as the audience you’re trying to reach.