Though this piece claims that my placement at Approach has been my ‘first encounter’ with public relations, I must stress that it was not the first I’d heard of the profession. I first became familiar with it when watching Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous. It was the humorous tone of Edina Monsoon, with her impossibly extravagant manner and her admirable attitude towards life, that first alerted me to the foggy world of PR. Saffy: ‘I’m sorry Mum, but I’ve never seen what you actually do’ Eddy: ‘PR!’ Saffy: ‘Yes, but…’ Eddy: ‘PR! I PR things! People. Places. Concepts.’

I found myself laughing at a line of work that I had *absolutely* no knowledge of – a problem that is, according to Saffy in the quotation above, one that is widely shared across the working world. What does it ‘actually’ mean to do ‘PR things’? Well, my time at Approach has given me a glimpse of just that. Firstly, their close-attention and appreciation of the modern realm of social media is something that has had a significant imprint on my business acumen. All I have ever known of social media has been the self-indulgent scroll down Instagram on an eventless evening or the substance-less tweets of reality television stars and beauty bloggers. If anything, I have always seen social media as a platform for vulnerability and self-confidence issues. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the way Approach, and other PR companies alike, use social media to spread their word. By utilising sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Approach share stories that may not have otherwise reached certain demographics and in turn cover a larger audience. Never underestimate the power of the hashtag or the lure of the Instagram location. It’s all clickbait – an opportunity for business! The close-knit team here source the materials for a promising story, search for an interesting angle or selling point, and then peddle the blueprint towards surrounding journalists and broadcasters. In one week alone, I have had the chance to attend several photoshoots, complete social media planners, analyse video content, conduct media sell-ins over the telephone and much more. Though this may seem to be simple, Approach has demonstrated to me the precision, persistence and social awareness that is paramount to succeeding in this line of work. Whether it be skilfully selecting the relevant information for a piece or eagerly waiting on responses from journalists – the PR account executives across the globe go above and beyond to transform what can sometimes be placid information into compelling stories. You could say they are the fairy godmothers of the media industry – making the arguably mundane media, magical. Despite arriving as a complete stranger to the PR universe, I am pleased to say that my time at Approach has left me feeling like a welcomed guest in an environment I’d love to learn more about.  It has offered me a first-hand account of what life as a PR executive involves – and it is so much more than Edina’s trimmed down explanation of ‘people, places, concepts.’ I look forward to unearthing more about public relations – a profession that need no longer be misunderstood by the masses but appreciated as a valuable, and vital, vocation. Written by Rhiannon Young, who’s been doing work experience with us at Approach Towers