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.Lisa Regan is Managing Director of Lisa Regan Public Relations, a PR company that combines traditional PR strategies with innovative social media voice and vision. Lisa studied Arts, English Language and Literature at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and worked as a journalist at the Galway Independent for two years after graduating. In 2011, Lisa founded Lisa Regan PR, where she has been working as a Communications Strategist ever since.
Name the one work tool that you couldn’t live without.
What communications innovation do you wish you had come up with?
What is the best book you have read in the past year?
‘A Curious Career’ by Lynn Barber.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
I always loved the media, listening to the radio, reading and essentially finding out what makes people tick. I love knowing how things work and why they do. I studied English in University and there I got to explore the more creative side of writing which led me to a career in Journalism. From here I crossed over to the dark side, into PR.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
The true value that is in communication and the power of language.
What are the three biggest PR challenges that you face?
When people don't understand what PR is or how it contributes to business, an event or in general if you are trying to communicate what you are doing. Telling stories well is what PR is all about, it is a fundamental part of any successful business and when it’s not fully appreciated that can be a real challenge. The world of media and PR is changing so much, from the challenges of media forms that no longer seem to be as strong, an ever changing digital landscape and the fear of being cancelled in a society that can hold people to account through social media platforms.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
In the past 12 years there have been many campaigns that have stood out. I am very community and people centred so I have worked on creating awareness for basic rights for refugees here in Ireland. I've been involved in creating sustainable living practices for businesses to ensure that we are accountable for our environment and I have helped to raise hundreds of thousands for charities throughout Ireland.In 2017, we worked with UNHCR to raise awareness and funds to support Syrian Refugees. We brought together four foreign-born, Irish-based chefs with a group of Syrian refugee chefs in Galway to create a Far-Fetched Dinner. The dinner was a launch pad to begin relationships between refugee chefs now living in Ireland and the hospitality sector here. The event was stunning but it was the long term relationships and job opportunities created from this that meant the most. It was all hands on deck and whilst I was responsible for the PR campaign I was also drafted in as a host and waitress on the night. That is what is best, really getting involved in what you are doing.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in PR?
To be interested in all aspects of writing and media. Broaden your reach through learning more about different sectors and how they can actually play into each other. I love reading the Irish Farmers Journal and then the Style section in the Sunday Times. Writing styles and tone are so important. By reading and learning, it can be much easier to understand clients and be curious.
What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?
- To own your price.
- To value your opinion.
- To listen to understand, not to respond.
Name three principles that you hold dear when it comes to your PR work.
- When a project isn't for me, then I will say so. It's not personal but I like to give 100% to what I do, so if it’s not my jam then I won't be operating in a way I am proud of.
- I like to ask why are you doing this? What are the goals here and how can us working together make you and your business get to where you want to go?
- Sameness isn't an option with me. I don't want to work off a safe script of ‘this is how it's done’. Let’s look at what we are talking about and have our own voice and style of communicating that. It is crucial to own your space in the field.
If you could make one lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
That people would see the value and graft of people in the industry.
What are your top three media relations tips?
- Be sound.
- Don't send generic emails with flowery openers.
- Know the interests of the person you are pitching to, pitch accordingly.
What do you love most about working in PR?
The variety in my career between clients and the services I get to offer.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
The likes of Claire Balding, Sue Barker and on radio, John Creddan. They are so impressive to me. Their style and ease is a thing of beauty.
Who was your first boss in a media related job and what did you learn from them?
My first job in the media was intense. I made great friends here and I was thrown in at the deep end which was exciting and terrifying. My first boss was a very hard character and was exceptionally hard on me. There were a lot of tears and being honest I was very disillusioned at times. She taught me a lot in terms of craft and style and did give me senior responsibility which I thrived in. But her personality and management style was less than kind.More about LisaLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-regan-/Twitter: @LisaReganPR
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