‘We’re not all pink and fluffy’ - life as a PR Professional

PUBLISHED: 17:56 19 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:49 20 May 2016

Suzy Pettican hard at work at Reflection PR in Norwich. Photo: Reflection PR

Suzy Pettican hard at work at Reflection PR in Norwich. Photo: Reflection PR


Suzy Pettican, Managing Director of Reflection PR in Norwich tells us how she cracked the PR industry without going to university.

Suzy Pettican, Managing Director of Reflection PR in NorwichSuzy Pettican, Managing Director of Reflection PR in Norwich

Name: Suzy Pettican

Age: 36 years

Job title and employer: Managing Director/PR Director of Reflection PR

My job in a nutshell: I write engaging content for press releases, blogs, award entries and social media to gain our clients attention in print, broadcast and online media. When I haven’t got my client creative hat on, you can find me fulfilling my MD role, managing the business with finance, marketing, HR and getting the tea bags in!

How I got my job: I have worked in PR and Marketing for 17 years. After being a Head of Marketing and Communications at a national social housing provider, I saw an opportunity to set up my own business in 2009, so I made my spare bedroom into my office, bought a media database and haven’t looked back since.

The most enjoyable part of what I do is: I love the variety of working in PR and Marketing, one minute, I’ll be working on a website brief, the next I will be writing an award entry for a client. There is never a dull day in a PR agency. It’s often long hours with tight deadlines to meet and you have to be good at juggling lots of things at once, but it is so rewarding to see all of your hard work pay off. For example, seeing a story you have written appear in the media and generate lots of exposure, or seeing our PR launch ideas for a tourist attraction come to life is fantastic.

You might not know this about my job: I have to explain what Public Relations is to nearly everyone I meet. So many people do not realise that ultimately our job is to protect and build a brand’s reputation and you do this by writing credible, engaging content and considering your audiences carefully. We’re not all pink and fluffy, sitting about drinking wine all day! (Sadly)

Our Work Experience people are always surprised by just how much planning and research goes into each client we manage, but as they say, the devil is in the detail.

My best day at work: One of my best days was when we were approached by Woodforde’s to potentially work with them. It was brilliant to realise we were considered as a credible PR agency, despite still feeling quite new. I can remember my colleague running down the stairs to get me when the MD of Woodforde’s was on the phone!

My first job was: My first full time job after studying Leisure and Tourism at Norwich City College was working at a Golf and Country Club. I hadn’t yet passed my driving test so had no way of getting to the rural location, but the job sounded so interesting as I was given responsibility for managing and marketing corporate events and weddings. This was what gave me the bug for marketing and PR as I loved coming up with ideas to help the business grow. I was very fortunate to be given a blank canvas and trusted to take my ideas forwards.

What’s the most exciting thing about your industry? It is constantly changing. When I set up my business in 2009, Twitter was only really then coming on to people’s radars. Social media today plays an essential part in what we do for clients – as we have many different influencers to reach now. Also, despite what people might think, you don’t need a degree to work in this industry. I don’t... I found out what I enjoyed doing after leaving college and then studied with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Where do you find your inspiration? I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful people over the years who have taught me a great deal. As members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, I make sure our team keeps up to date with national campaigns to see best practice in our sector as well as attending events such as the CIM’s Digital Summit so we can hear from inspiring people working in our sector.

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