It’s that time of the week again: #GirlBossMonday!
Kate Johns is the Managing Director of Nudge PR, London. Nudge PR specialise in food and drink, working with many established brands. Just looking through Nudge’s website and social media made my stomach rumble – so much delicious food! Nudge PR’s clients include Metcalfe’s Skinny, Paul A Young, Chocolate Week and Cheers Alcoholic Ice Cream. Imagine working with food and drink, oh what a dream come true.
The reason I conduct these interviews is to inspire you, my readers, and fellow PR students to be successful in your careers and business leaders of the future. I have asked the important questions to gain an insight of how these #GirlBosses made it to where they are today, and how we can emulate their successes.
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
OC: Hi Kate! An easy question to start us off (I hope) – What is your full job title?
KJ: Managing Director, Nudge PR.
Can you give me a background of your career and education? How did this lead you to be in your PR position today?
My career in PR started in my 20’s. I was a PA at a computer games company but had started to get to know some of the journalists as it was (and probably still is) a very sociable industry. The MD thought I’d be ideal for PR and asked me to move over into that department.
I enjoyed several years in the games industry and then decided to start freelancing. Although the games industry was lots of fun, my real passion lies in food and drink, and it was a natural progression to move into working with businesses in that area.
I got so busy as a freelancer that I needed to take someone on and we’re now a team of 6.
How and why did you start your business?
My mum always told my sisters and I to be independent and find something to do that we love because you spend so much time at work, so that’s exactly what I did.
I get a huge amount of enjoyment from working in PR. It’s a great industry and generating coverage for clients that you know will make a difference to their business is very rewarding. I’m obsessed with food and drink, and coming into work every day and talking about those two subjects all day is a joy.
How did you go about securing your first clients?
Mainly through networking and attending events where I’d meet relevant businesses.
Where are you based? Does your job involve a lot of travelling?
I live and work in London. There are occasional trips abroad on press trips – taking press to wineries in France and to olive groves in Italy for example, which is obviously a huge bonus.
What does your morning routine look like?
I’m a news addict so always spend at least half an hour reading the papers online before I get out of bed. Ideally I like to start the day with yoga or a run, but those don’t happen as often as they should!
Then once I get into the office there isn’t a routine! There’s so much variety in PR, client meetings, tastings, pitching to journalists, networking etc. I spend a lot of time emailing people – pitching, following up, responding to requests and questions etc.
What do you find most rewarding about your role in PR?
We work with some wonderful people so interacting with them is fun and rewarding.
Generating coverage – I’ve been in PR for years and still get a buzz out of securing articles for clients. It’s wonderful to see the fruits of our labour benefit a client. For example, when coverage results in them getting calls from all over the world, when they have record months because of the work we’ve done for them and to go on a journey with them building their businesses.
How do you find the right work/life balance?
I’m not sure I do, but I enjoy my job so much that I don’t mind if it encroaches on holidays or weekends. It’s got a lot better over the last few years as I have a great team who are on top of things when I’m away.
What do you wish more people understood about PR?
That it’s not just about quick wins and generating coverage, it’s about a focused, strategic campaign that covers a broad range of disciplines to reach target audiences.
We’re incredibly skilled at getting coverage for our clients. For example, for the chocolatier, Paul A Young, we generated over 300 pieces of coverage last year but that sort of success doesn’t happen overnight, we’ve worked with Paul since he launched his business and conducted a campaign that covers partnerships, new launches, raising his profile etc.
If you were to hire someone for a PR role, what skills and qualities would your ideal candidate have?
To work with us you definitely have to be passionate about food, in our interviews there are plenty of questions about what you cook, where you eat, who are your favourite chefs etc.
Also, understand the media, read the news, read sites that interest you. Being a hard worker and having a positive, proactive attitude are also crucial PR skills.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the PR industry today?
The industry is moving at a fast pace and it’s important to stay up to date with the digital landscape and ensure clients are represented through all the mediums that reach their target audiences.
I believe social and traditional PR go hand in hand as the messaging needs to be inline and communicated in a timely manner which PR’s are very skilful at.
Who has been your biggest inspiration/role model/mentor in your career so far?
There have been quite a few people in my career who have given me advice and inspired me along the way. Last year I entered the PRCA mentor programme and was mentored by Caroline Kinsey who runs Cirkle PR. Her counsel was, and is, hugely valuable to me.
Can you give three tips for someone wanting to start their own PR agency?
Make sure that you have good contacts so that you can start lining up clients fairly quickly. You’ll need some cash reserves. Ensure you have supportive people around you and/or think about whether there’s anyone that you could work with as a business partner.
What advice would you give to a student like myself that wants to emulate your success and make it in the PR industry?
Try to secure some internships during your holidays to gain some experience. I’d recommend working in a field that interests you, for example; food, fashion, beauty etc. You’ve started a blog which is very impressive to any future employer.
Stay on top of the media – publications, websites, blogs etc. that are popular. The landscape is continually changing and future employers will want to know that you’re familiar with the current media.
Thank you, Kate ♥
You can visit Nudge PR’s website at www.nudgepr.co.uk
Follow Nudge PR on Twitter : @NudgePR
Follow Kate Johns on Twitter : @kateatnudge
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