My Life in PR – This Much I Know, is an interview series that talks to PR professionals about their career journey and what they’ve learned along the way. From the innovation that they wish they had invented, to their favourite books and the biggest challenges that they face on the job. This series covers more than just career advice and takes a look at the person behind the title.Claire Buckley is Owner and Managing Director at Buck & Hound, a creative consultancy offering services in PR, social media, influencer engagement, design and events management. In 2008, Claire joined Walsh PR as a Senior Client Executive, moving on to Elevate PR in 2011, where she worked as an Account Director. In 2016, Claire founded Buck & Hound.
Name the one work tool that you couldn’t live without
As a paperless business, we don't use refill pads to make endless task lists and instead have adopted simple but effective apps like Remember the Milk to ensure that we remain organised and meet deadlines. I'm sure there are so many apps like this one, but Remember the Milk basically runs my life. I completed more than 9000 tasks using it last year and the team are complete converts too.
What communications innovation do you wish you had come up with?
TikTok. On a professional and personal level, I'm totally hooked if only as a voyeur. It provides clients with a reach that the other platforms can't and consistently introduces me to game-changing life and work hacks. It's not just about catchy dance trends you know.
What is the best book you have read in the past year?
‘Food Rules’ by Michael Pollan. I love my grub but always aim to eat as cleanly as possible. This is a no nonsense, at times humorous guide that wholly supports that sustainable lifestyle. A must-read.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
If there was a Venn diagram showing creativity, organisational skills, communication and social skills then public relations would lie smack in the middle. I like being behind the scenes. I love meeting passionate new people and hearing about their business ambitions and I thrive on making magical moments happen for the brands my team and I work with. I'm extremely content.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
It's PR, not ER. When I first started out I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to do everything perfectly and sometimes that's just not possible. When I made that mind shift everything got better. I became more creative and just a little daring, making calculated risks that tended to pay off. I take my work seriously but not to the detriment of my or my team's health.
What are the three biggest PR challenges that you face?
- Recruitment with a view to scale up in a competitive marketplace.
- Expanding internationally and building out those media relationships.
- Acclimating and safeguarding in a post Covid, pre recession world and supporting our clients in doing the same.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
In March 2018 just before the first lockdown we worked in partnership with Pluto and Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on a campaign with Ireland's leading Tiktokkers called #100consent. The goal was to educate these young people so that they could in turn communicate the meaning of consent to their audience in their own authentic signature style. This campaign was deeply personal to me and we worked tirelessly to secure more than 100 pieces of coverage nationwide over a 2 week period for the initiative. We were humbled when these efforts were recognised by the PRCA securing two awards last year for PR Excellence.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in PR?
Consume media with a ravenous hunger. Read everything. Follow all the influencers (even the ones you're not keen on) and when you see something inspiring note it down. You never know what insight or little nugget it could bring to a brainstorm down the line.
What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?
- Engage in the kindness economy. Define your core business values and continuously seek to benefit others, not just clients.
- Create a work-life balance. You'll be a better consultant and a far better friend, partner, parent if you do.
- Staying curious reaps rewards. Strive to learn all the time, understanding that amazing lessons and ideas can come from even the most junior of staff or the most unexpected places.
Name three principles that you hold dear when it comes to your PR work.
- Always be as transparent as possible.
- Trust your gut.
- Dare to care - kindness is not a weakness.
If you could make one lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
I would love to see greater recognition for the part PR's play in the success of an integrated marketing campaign. Perhaps it's down to a lack of understanding of how our industry works from other marketing professionals but in a time when native content is king, surely quality editorial is a God?
What are your top three media relations tips?
- Celebrate their milestones. A relationship is a two-way street.
- Engage with their social media content.
- Be human and honest in your approach.
What do you love most about working in PR?
No two days are the same and the buzz from a successful event or incredible piece of coverage is unmatched. But for me, it's all about the people. I am grateful to have a seriously talented team around me who share my enthusiasm. The Irish media are unparalleled in their support of our brands and we have the most wonderful suppliers and professional peers that we partner with regularly to drive strong results. We're fortunate to be in a position where we can choose to only collaborate with clients who are truly great individuals. It's a privilege to work with them all on a daily basis.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
I think Gillian Fitzpatrick is a complete rockstar. Her media career has been so varied and successful it's hard to believe that she's only in her thirties. She is a long-standing friend and professional confidante, whose latest endeavour, Bolter Media is the one to watch.
Did you have a mentor? Who were they? And what was the most important thing they taught you?
I would consider Mary Crawford to have been an instrumental mentor in my early career. The lessons she taught me and the guidance she provided remains a cornerstone in how I do business today. More about ClaireLinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/buckleyclaireTwitter:@buckandhound
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