Richard Burgess

I am a first year Public Relations student at Leeds Metropolitan University. I dream of living in New York.

Hello from New York

It was only recently after completing my first placement in London I began to think about the broader picture and where I would like to spend my third year - a 48 week placement. No surprises, New York constantly sprung to mind, I know it would be big but it is worth a shot.. I would be living a dream. 

It was only yesterday that I found out the true power of the internet, emails and connections. As you will know, I travelled to New York in December 2010. On our third day we went to the Colony Music Store near Times Square. It was here that I began to talk to a man, I started chatting away only to find out he was originally from Leeds and lived in New York. It gets better, he worked in PR at an international company called Ketchum. I was amazed, it was at this time I had began to finalise my UCAS application and I began telling him how I’d applied to do PR at Leeds Met. (http://www.ketchum.com/ - if you’d like to research them). 

We ended up speaking for nearly an hour but sadly he didn’t have his business card with him so he told us his name and told us to email him if we ever needed anything. When I got home and finally sent off my UCAS form, University and PR began to look promising. Its funny how somebodies name and company can become stuck in your brain, because you are so interested or intrigued. I researched online for Roy but sadly had no luck on Ketchum’s website and had put it to the back on my mind. 

It was only recently that I decided to research into Ketchum again to find out about the company, their views and their clients. I knew it was going to be a long shot as I have began to understand how quickly things can change in PR, people can move jobs and things can develop but I decided to email the companies CEO, Ray Kotcher. I explained my situation, what I was looking for and just asking for advice. I mentioned Roy and how I had met him, to see if he could help me find his contact details. I guess I wasn’t expecting anything big however, the next day I awoke to an exciting email - it is that email which made me write this blog post. 

Firstly, I recieved an email from Lindsay in the recruitment office at Ketchum explaining all of the graduate programmes and how they could help in the future but sadly they offer nothing I was looking for. It was the next email I recieved from Roy Edmondson which amazed me, Roy, the man I had met over a year ago. The email was titled ‘Hello from New York’ and Roy had sent me a lengthy email about how ‘amazing’ he thought it was that I remembered his name and the company and how he remembered meeting my friends and I in the Colony Music Store near Times Square. I found it amazing how quick and easy it had been to reach Roy through the company and that Roy remembered me.

It was great to hear from Roy and its great to now have his contact for the future, if I ever need to know anything. It was this email which made me realise how important it is to make contacts, how easy it is and how you should never forget or assume somebody else has forgotten. 

Imagination PR

On January 8th 2012 I travelled down to London to start a work placement with Imagination PR, a boutique health and beauty PR agency. I was excited to spend eight full days in the office as it was my first real placement and not only my first glimpse at living in London but the first time I would work in a PR agency and get to have practical experience. 

I moved in with my cousin and sorted out my route to work, Parsons Green tube station was going to be the one station I got to know inside and out whilst in London. 

Monday 9th came and my work placement started with Imagination PR and Helen Macoun, Emily Lewis and Sophie Chamberlain - the three ladies who worked at Imagination PR. In my ten days I worked on several key tasks such as:

  • writing press releases.
  • creating twitter news for clients twitter feeds.
  • research into charitable links.
  • inputting and finalising monthly press activity reports to ensure they were up to date and mistake free.
  • Compiling monthly coverage presentation for client.
  • Brainstorming for how a client could change the style of activity to become more interactive on Facebook and hold the attention of their followers.
  • Press and VIP product mail-outs, creating introduction letters which were included in each parcel. 

I felt I had a real insight into the world of PR and although health and beauty is not something I am particularly knowledgable about, I felt after my ten days it is a part of PR that I didn’t really think about but would be interested in. I worked with brands such as Aromatherapy Associates, Yes To, Carol Joy London, Shavata and Little BU. Some of my favourite tasks were ringing up competition winners to inform them of their runner up prizes and asking for their addresses to create a mailer. I also enjoyed learning about the different products and writing the press releases - something which I feel really helped me when I had to write a press release for my exam. I really got to see how difficult it was to cut your tweets down to 140 characters and still have the correct spelling and grammar. I also realised how important it was to make sure that tweets and Facebook posts were perfect before posting because of the companies reputation.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London working with Imagination PR and when I left I was given some products from Aromatherapy Associates, Yes To and Refinery which I must say are amazing! I have been asked to return to Imagination PR and I am looking forward to going back at some point in the next year or so to further my knowledge in the health and beauty PR industry. 

Below is a screen grab of a tweet that I sent out whilst on my placement for Aromatherapy Associates and their coverage in the Daily Mail for ‘Treatment of the week’. 

Camp America 2013?

I know it’s only three days into 2012 but my organisational skills have taken over and my thoughts are to go to Camp America in the summer of 2013! I have heard good reviews and I have been advised to go. I want to return to America so I have been looking into it this morning.. So the future is again looking bright and I will wait and see what happens!

Are Journalists using twitter to get their news stories?

It’s something that I keep thinking about and recently over the past few months I have realised the importance of twitter on news stories.

Just today I have looked at my MTV news app on my mobile to check up on the celebrity world where I have yet again found several news stories sparked from twitter. Today’s news story focusing around Cheryl Coles twitter rant about a tv programme called ‘The truth about Cheryl Cole’ with the singer slating it, asking how they know the truth. Another high status celebrity news story being the arrival of the Countdown singer Beyonce and husband Jayz’s baby girl. Yet again the journalist explaining ‘released on twitter.

It is becoming more common that I am logging onto my news app to keep up to date with the relative stories but finding that I already knew half of the news earlier through the social media site twitter. I know I always talk about how powerful these social media sites are, but surely this shows how networking is increasing. Every Tom, Dick or Harry knows everything about the celebrity world before the journalists even have time to report on it. Twitter is constantly connecting fans to their idols with a click of a button and recent news is simply becoming old news within minutes. The question is, is this good for the world of journalist and celebrity culture? In my eyes in the next year it is going to be hard to release breaking news before people know what is going on. But it could only be celebrity journalism that is under threat.

Three more sleeps..

I guess it’s true what they say, time flys when you’re having fun. This year has been the most hectic yet life changing and best year so far.

After moving to Leeds to pursue a career in PR I’m back at home already after semester one, even though my first day feels like yesterday. And back to Midlands Co-Operative I go! I have worked non stop since I’ve been home and at this busy festive time I have remembered what it’s like to deal with the public every day. Today in particular, work was busy but everybody put their stress aside to get in the Christmas spirit.

The money is great but getting stuck into work again, set routines, working in a team and enjoying a day with my colleagues has been something I have missed.

So I have good news on my PR, I am travelling to London on the 8th January to work at Imagination PR for a week and a half. I can’t wait! I can finally see what the workplace is like and begin to make decisions about my own career.

Christmas day will soon be upon us and with my birthday only two days later.. Life couldn’t be better!