As I approach my six month anniversary at Aira, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned over the last 26 weeks.
I have a traditional PR background, having worked for a well-known wildlife charity, RSPB, which taught me a lot about the core principles of PR. But the last six months at Aira working as a digital PR executive has immersed me in a whole new world. I firmly believe I’ve learned more in my last six months at Aira than in any other job and I can broadly summarise these into six key learnings:
1. You can have the London agency vibe, outside of London
The first thing I learned – and this happened fast – was that you can work for a really amazing company with great perks, personal development and big clients without working in London. This was honestly a revelation as I’ve worked in London before, and since working outside of the big smoke, I hadn’t experienced the same culture. An office dog, great training budgets and more than the occasional cheeky Nandos are just some of the perks I experienced in my first week.
2. It wasn’t about sinking or swimming
What was great about my first month was that I really felt like I had time to breathe. I’ve gone into jobs before and been very much forced to sink or swim, and for me, that’s not the way I like to learn. I was introduced individually to each account I’d be working on before getting stuck into the ‘real work’. The founders themselves gave me introductions to the business as a whole, taking the time to sit down with me and explain the structure and other areas of work Aira do.
3. No two days are the same
My main day to day work revolves around ideating for campaigns across my different clients, creating tailored media lists to outreach the pieces, researching and collecting data, creating design and copy briefs for our designers, media relations with journalists and maintaining strong relationships and communication with clients. This, in short, can be summed up as link building, though I prefer to call myself a digital PR because it’s got a nicer ring to it.
4. Digital marketers love using jargon
My main challenge when starting at Aira was getting my head around the world of link building, SEO, PPC, social and all of the related technical jargon and buzzwords. The tools, the language, the data and the KPIs. For my first few weeks sometimes I felt like I was hearing another language. But, as the team mentored me and helped me learn, I continued to ask questions and this world became a little clearer. PPC, come at me.
5. Take every opportunity you can
Since starting at Aira, I’ve done a CIPR writing course, I’ve had multiple in-house training sessions and a public speaking three-day workshop. I have several other conferences or training days booked in this year already and I’ve never had a stronger thirst to learn. We also have a coach from an organisation called Sanctus each month for a 45 minute ‘coaching session’, where you can explore anything from work issues to mental health and it’s truly one of the best perks I’ve ever had in any job. Do you know of an agency that offers that much support?
6. Making a change
My role at Aira is my fourth since finishing university four years ago. These jobs have spanned across digital recruitment, social media management, traditional PR and now digital PR. There have been times in some of these previous roles where I’ve felt a lack of confidence to move on or have felt stuck in a rut, not learning or developing. It took me a while to gain enough confidence and lose enough imposter syndrome to apply for this role at Aira, but I couldn’t be more pleased I did. If you’re not happy or appreciated in a role, don’t settle.
The main skills I’ve developed in the last 6 months are my writing style, media relations, prioritising my to-do list on a day to day basis and my ability to work across several clients without losing my head. From month to month my skills are developing and I’m starting to carve a niche for me to grow here at Aira, and I’m really excited for the next six months and beyond.