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 mentors who have left a lasting impact. This series covers more than just career advice and takes a look at the person behind the title. Sofie Murphy works in Global Communications & Marketing for Cinode, a Swedish SaaS company that provides modern tools for skills management. Sofie was a Business Development Assistant for Hostini and in 2020, moved to the role of Chief Operating Officer. In April 2021, Sofie began working for Cinode in Global Communications & Marketing. In her role, Sofie covers PR and Communications, Digital Marketing and Branding.
Name the one work tool that you couldn’t live without
My phone (if I have to choose one app, google calendar for sure).
What communications innovation do you wish you had come up with?
I don’t know if you can count it as a communication tool, but I LOVE Grammarly. As the Global communication Manager at Cinode, I’m responsible for our PR here in Sweden, as well as Finland and our new GoTo Markets. This means that I have to write articles, blog posts and press releases in both Swedish and English. I also often have to produce material at a very high speed, and we all know that speed and stress can result in minor spelling mistakes here and there. So even though I’m bilingual (I was raised speaking both English and Swedish), I always use Grammarly as a proofreader.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
I think I’ve “always” known that I was going to work in marketing/PR. My mother always jokes about the fact that I started telling her that I wanted to become a marketing executive at the age of 10. Most 10 year olds would probably say that they want to play football, or that they want to become a pop-star, but I had other plans. As time went by, I just never changed my mind. Whilst at university, I joined WCN (Women's Career Network) and I took on the PRO/ead of Marketing role and I just fell in love with PR. Through WCN, I also met two women in corporate PR who were kind enough to “mentor” me and introduce me to the industry. And that just sealed the deal.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
That’s a tough one. I’d probably say that I wish I knew how difficult it is to navigate the media landscape, break through the noise in PR and get attention from journalists, especially when you’re new in the industry.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in PR?
I started my “career” as a PRO/Head of Marketing for a student association, so my tip is to get involved in non-profit organisations/student associations when at uni. It’s a great way to build your network, gain experience and learn how to write articles/press releases. As head of marketing, I also learnt a ton about graphic design, branding, content planning/creation etc.
What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?
The importance of surrounding yourself with people who challenge you and push you forward, especially at times of doubt (doubting your own knowledge, skills etc.).
Always dare to ask - the worst answer you can get is just a no
There won’t be many, but there will always be people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities. Never underestimate them, and NEVER take them for granted. Show appreciation and be kind, always.
Name three principles that you hold dear when it comes to your PR work
When networking, I always make sure to put time and effort into building and maintaining strong relationships (rather than just adding a new name to the list and moving on to the next one).
Don’t over glorify launches - prove it with action and let your customers do the talking.
Always plan for the worst.
What are your top three media relations tips?
Networking Networking Networking.
Dare to ask
Press packages - package everything (article, press release, pics etc.) so that they barely need to do anything but publish it.
What do you love most about working in PR?
I’d definitely say getting to work with relationship building and networking, and I’ve always had a passion for copy. Also, getting to be in the midst of the tech hub here in Stockholm (which is booming), getting to work with product information and converting it to a story to make it comprehensible for a wider audience and the pace at which the industry is moving.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
I have to name three: Hedda Schröder Barrander and Sofie Zetterlund Johansson, they’re the reason why I’m in PR. I’ve always admired them in every possible aspect; Super talented, super smart, extremely driven. Bodil Siden is no longer in comms but she was in charge of PR and Comms at Uber when they started operating in the Nordics. She’s both a friend and a mentor/coach, and she taught me everything when I first started out.
Did you have a mentor? Who were they? And what was the most important thing they taught you?
I’ve had two mentors who were both management consultants, but I’ve never had an official mentor in media. Sofie, Hedda and Bodil have however acted as mentors in various ways; opening doors, introducing me to people, teaching me the A to Zs of PR etc etc.
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