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Making Waves

In this month’s Making Waves Carley Jones speaks to the newest PR girl on the block Laura-Jayne Roberts

Laura-Jayne, or LJ as she prefers to be known, has done something many of us dream and started her own business doing what she loves. Just over seven months ago she was working at King’s School in Gloucester handling all aspects of their marketing and PR, a role which allowed her to enhance extra strings to her bow such as event management and creative design, however after two and half years the time was right to move on and Ivy PR was born.

Ivy Public Relations is a boutique PR and marketing company specialising in the luxury lifestyle industries; beauty, home, fashion, travel, food/drink, health and wellbeing and wealth investment industries. LJ offers bespoke PR packages and services to help businesses achieve the recognition they deserve to grow in style. Using the media as a powerful channel to reach a market, she uses her creativity and connections to capture the attention of journalists, who thus create the ‘noise’ a business deserves.

Starting a business from scratch is not an easy feat however when meeting LJ you can feel the determination that she has, a quality that isn’t going unnoticed by her growing client base. So what is a day in the life of LJ like?

“An average day for me always starts with an espresso - one of my little addictions in life! I check my social media outlets, any early emails coming through and scan the media for any stories that day that could be useful for my clients, or any that are affecting the PR industry itself.

"The rest of my day is then filled with writing features and press releases, meetings with clients, meetings with journalists, business networking, organising my clients events, more emails, more meetings, you get the drift - being an independent PR girl means very long hours! I have also recently, for my sins, signed up to a personal trainer, so some of my days now start in the gym at 6.30am socialising in this industry is not good for the waistline!”

Being your own boss is not an easy feat, the description of LJ’s day is enough to make me feel dizzy, so how did she decide that this was going to be her chosen career path?

“Public Relations was not actually my first choice of career. Having grown up in a horse racing family, with an undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science and a Masters Degree in Multi-Media Journalism, I became a sports journalist and worked on the Racing Post newspaper in London. My life was a whirlwind of adrenalin filled deadlines, by-lines, racecourses and underground stations! That career path changed when budget and wage cuts in journalism meant contracts were ending. After moving back from London, a family friend introduced me to Abigail Stuart-Menteth who had her own luxury PR and marketing company and so I began working as a freelancer for Damson PR. I actually quickly learnt that I could use all of my skills from working as a journalist and more – I fell in love with another career all over again.

"I believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason, so if I hadn’t left the Racing Post when I did then I may never have got into marketing and PR, into the job which I absolutely love getting up for every day.”

It is clear from listening to LJ list her achievements that she has worked hard to get where she is, and at only 29. Whereas luck can play a small part, it is her dedication that has got her in front of me today. PR is rising in its popularity as a career for many graduates but with fierce competition it may prove hard to stand out, I was keen to find out from LJ how to do this.

“If you have excellent communication and writing skills then you have some of the rudimentary characteristics to start a prosperous career in public relations. A formal education is not always necessary, but it is always an advantage and provides you with a competitive edge.

"Employers do not always specifically look for a degree in public relations, similar courses like journalism, new media, marketing, and creative writing are further examples of what an employer might be searching for. If you want to start a career in PR but do not have any formal qualifications, it is worth searching and applying for entry-level jobs such as trainee or junior roles, which provide great starting roles. You may find it useful taking on work experience or a placement; these often lead to full time employment at the same company.”

LJ has the passion and the dedication, but it’s her inspiration that is the most endearing quality. Where most people are keen to acknowledge successful people in business, she keeps it a little closer to home.

“My Dad is my business role model; he has his own company and has worked really hard to achieve what he has today. He is my inspiration, showing me the results and rewards that can be achieved through sheer hard work, dedication and determination. Whereas my mum is my personal role model, showing that kindness, warm heartedness and a big smile goes a long way in life. Also not to mention, my partner Tom,who keeps my feet on the ground and calms me down when I am stressed! He is very supportive of my new business, and I am constantly asking him to proof read my work at all hours, which he never objects to!”

So what does LJ see in her future?

“Ultimately the happiness of my clients is my upmost priority. There is nothing more rewarding than achieving great results for clients and seeing their businesses and success stories grow. Whether that’s with a handful of clients or one day a bigger company, I will never ever lose this element of the business, which I believe is the most important.”

1. Get work experience
2. Put your best work online
3. Network on and offline
4. Use Social Media well
5. Get published
6. Blog
7. Understand industry issues
8. Demonstrate supplementary skills editing etc.