PR Rising Star is an interview series from MediaHQ that talks to up-and-coming PR professionals. It looks into why they decided to follow a career in PR, their predictions for the future of the industry and their favourite book of the last year.
Grace Sallis is an Account Executive at Zahra Media Group, a full-service content agency with owned media in the Food and Parenting verticals. Grace graduated from UCD in 2020 with a degree in History and Sociology. In 2019, Grace worked as a Media and Publicity Lead for the dating app, Bumble, while representing UCD as a Senior Student Ambassador. Grace was also a Project Assistant at Real Nation and an Account Executive at Honey + Buzz before joining Zahra Media Group in January 2022.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
PR is extremely broad and allows you to work in a number of different areas which really do complement each other. It's also extremely people based, whether you're liaising with clients or writing purposeful content which connects a particular audience. I studied Sociology in college and this provided me with a number of skills relevant to the world of PR and marketing, including qualitative and quantitative data analysis which are two extremely important areas.
Specifically, tell us about your route into working in the PR industry?
Whilst in college I immersed myself in a number of marketing and leadership based part time roles which really provided me with a flavour of the PR industry. I was also active in college life, getting involved in a college society and being part of the committee. As part of this committee, I organised events and even interviewed the likes of Ryan Tubridy, which was fun. Since graduating, I've worked in a number of Irish agencies within the educational, experiential and content marketing fields. I'm currently an Account Executive at Zahra Media Group, a full service content marketing agency based in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
What is your favourite thing about working in PR?
I love how no two days are the same. I could be immersed in copywriting for a corporate client one day and presenting creative video ideas to a retailer the next. It's extremely fun and varied and you always feel like you're learning something new, because there are always ways you can develop your skill set further.
If you could make a lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
Diversity in the world of PR and marketing is key and is something all agencies and companies should strive to improve. As our sector is so team based and people led, teamwork is an important element, so ensuring that people from different backgrounds are included allows different viewpoints and ideas to be discussed, which makes for a stronger team in general.
Name one person who has influenced your career and tell us why.
Everyone at Zahra Media Group is fantastic. As a full service custom content agency with owned media brands, the skill set our team has across the board is truly inspiring. As part of our team we have videographers, photographers, designers and account managers to name just a few, and I'm always learning something new every single day which is really inspiring.
Name one communications tool you couldn't live without.
Monday. It's the project management tool we use and it allows you to be so organised as you can upload files, chat to team members and create timelines in one place. It's brilliant for keeping on track of various concurrent projects so you can update the status of a project at the touch of a button.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
The team at Zahra Media Group recently produced a suite of sustainability themed videos for Aviva Ireland, in which sustainability expert and founder of reuzi, Pat Kane, explains her top tips for being more eco-friendly both at home and on the roads. Sustainability is incredibly important so bitesize content that connects to audiences is vital for many organisations who are looking to focus more on sustainability.Aviva - Lower your Carbon Footprint in the HomeAviva - Driving Tips to Lower your Carbon Footprint
Finish this sentence. “The best way to connect your story to your audience is by...”
having a clear, purposeful vision for the desired content.
What is your favourite hobby?
I really enjoy cooking and find it extremely therapeutic. There's no better feeling than making a home cooked dinner from scratch which everyone enjoys.
What is the best book that you have read in the last year?
The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley is brilliant. I finished all seven books pretty quickly. I've always enjoyed reading from a young age so it's really easy for me to pick up a book and immerse myself in the story.
What is your binge watch recommendation?
I'm a big fan of anything based on true crime or conspiracy theories, probably because of my background studying Sociology in which criminology was a big element. One of my favourite documentary series is Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries'. On a lighter note, I love to unwind by watching Selling Sunset.
Name three trends that you think will be important in the PR industry in the next five years.
Audio based content. Podcasts and audiobooks are proving to be extremely popular and I believe engagement with audio based content will continue to increase over the next few years. We are seeing a real appetite in the desire to produce authentic and original audio based content which tells unique stories in a different way.
Sustainability. This one is a no brainer and all industries need to do their bit to be more sustainable and make ethical choices where possible.
A shift towards micro-influencers. Micro-influencers have a smaller, yet more engaged audience as the audience either knows the influencer personally or is already highly engaged with their content as they are more niche. I believe we will see more companies opting to work with micro-influencers to promote a particular service or product and this is already a priority for a number of companies looking to spend less.
Which social media site is the most important to you and why?
Instagram. Image and video based content is key and Instagram is extremely important in espousing a brand's identity in an easy way, and providing that platform to distribute that creative content which engages.
Name one staple of the PR industry that you think will die out in the next five years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this but a full time office based working style has quickly become a thing of the past. More agencies have adopted a flexible hybrid approach which combines working from home and office based work, allowing you to experience that nice mix each week.
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