Head of Communications and Marketing
North East Lincolnshire County Council
00:00:03 I’m Sarah M and my job title is head of communications and marketing. We put out lots and lots of news releases in our team to make sure that we’re getting all the positive stories about the council and all different activities that are going on all around the council out there, to the local media or maybe even national media if we think it’s of interest to them.
00:00:24 This is New Hart’s Rules which is the handbook of style for writers and editors and this represents all the knowledge I had to possess, really, through my career as it applies to writing and editing other people’s writing as well.
00:00:43 I’ve worked in the media for all my working life. I continue to be excited about it and I continue to want to go into work every day and make a difference with what I do and it is very satisfying. I think for anybody, any press officer or anybody at any level in a communications team, to see their work in print in effect.
00:01:03 I was a very good student. I enjoyed all my subjects and I got very good grades and I think that was a real advantage for me because I know there were lots of school children who really don’t enjoy school and don’t get a great deal out of it but it suited me as a school child.
00:01:21 When I was at school I knew that I wanted to do a job that involved writing because that was my real strength at school and that’s what I really enjoyed doing. Careers advice wasn’t fantastic and within my family as well there wasn’t a massive amount of aspiration so I kind of just found my way into a job when I left university that did involve writing. And it progressed from there.
00:01:47 The first job interview I had was with a local firm, Press Association, and so I took that and stayed there for two and a half years crafting my writing skills basically and proof reading skills and that set me up very well for the later career moves that I made.
00:02:05 The thing I liked about, well, the idea of newspapers that appealed to me was the discipline of the wordsmithery, really. When I was in sixth form I worked on the school newspaper and I really enjoyed that. It didn’t really involve that much work but I very much enjoyed and I think that stuck with me. I realised that I had a strong pull towards going into newspapers and making a career. Not as a reporter, I knew I wanted to be a sub-editor.
00:02:35 I’d started doing a Masters degree, an MBA, and which was that was kind of teaching me to think a bit more strategically about management and that kind of thing and about that time a job opportunity came up at my local council as it was then for a manager of the press team. I took that job and did that for three years.
00:02:59 It took a lot of thinking for me to make the move because working for a newspaper’s a lot like working for your own family and I felt very, very strong ties to that newspaper and to the industry in general and I almost felt as if I was betraying them by jumping out and going into communications and PR and the editor did try to talk me out of it but I resisted for a year and then I went.
00:03:23 I would say, yes, I’m a positive person and I’m optimistic as well. It’s perfectly natural for everyone to feel negative or down or lack competence on occasion but self talk’s really important and if you keep telling yourself you’re not very good or you’re not going to do very well, you won’t. You’ll become a self fulfilling prophecy so if you keep focusing on what you’re good at, try to develop where you know you’re not so good then at least you know that you’re doing everything that you can to succeed.
Sarah M is Head of Communications and Marketing for North East Lincolnshire County Council. “We put out lots and lots of news releases in our team to make sure that we’re getting all the positive stories about the council and all different activities that are going on all around the council out there, to the local media or maybe even national media if we think it’s of interest to them. I’ve worked in the media for all my working life. I continue to be excited about it and I continue to want to go into work every day and make a difference with what I do and it is very satisfying.”
More information about Public relations professionals
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Discusses issues of business strategy, products, services and target client base with senior colleagues to identify public relations requirements;
- Writes, edits and arranges for the effective distribution of press releases, newsletters and other public relations material;
- Addresses individuals, clients and other target groups through meetings, presentations, the media and other events to enhance the public image of an organisation;
- Develops and implements tools to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of public relations exercises.
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