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.Emma Kelly is Founder and Managing Director of Elevate PR, an independent and creative PR and social media agency based in Dublin. Emma founded Elevate PR in 2001, with the company turning 21 this summer. It is a full-service agency focusing on lifestyle, fashion, the arts and more. Emma also has a degree in Politics, Economics and Multimedia from Trinity College Dublin.
Name the one work tool that you couldn’t live without
What communications innovation do you wish you had come up with?
Whatsapp - it is such a game changer.
What is the best book you have read in the past year?
‘The Dilettante’ by Dana Brown. He was one of Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter's assistant in the heyday of glossy magazines in New York in the 1990s and 2000s.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
I was always interested in the media. I started out in IDA Ireland, but left after two years to go freelance in events and PR.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
How much fun it would be. That clients, suppliers, colleagues and the media would all be key friendships.
What are the three biggest PR challenges that you face?
Increasingly it is educating clients on what PR is and is not.
The ever-changing media landscape, particularly the growth of influencers.
The growth of project versus retainer work.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
I am proud of our work with our longest-standing client, Nokia.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in PR?
Realise that you know nothing, be humble and open to learning, find a mentor, stay curious and open minded. Have fun.
What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?
The importance of integrity.
Sometimes you have to walk a tightrope.
Keep a long term view.
Name three principles that you hold dear when it comes to your PR work.
Attention to detail.
Surround yourself with an excellent team, I am all about collaboration.
If you could make one lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
Make it more diverse and inclusive, more reflective of the whole of society.
What are your top three media relations tips?
Define your target market and media.
Have a strong news hook.
Invest in photography.
What do you love most about working in PR?
The variety, no two days are the same.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
I admire Charley Stoney from IAPA, she is a great communicator leading a dynamic group.
Did you have a mentor? Who were they?
I have had amazing mentors in my female entrepreneurship group - Going for Growth. Paula Fitzsimons who heads it up is amazing. She is all about ambition and the importance of structure.More about Emma:LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmakelly3/Twitter - @kellyemma
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