Work In PRogress – Issue 19 – Amy Smithers

My Work in PRogress guest this month is the fabulous Amy Smithers who is a Digital PR Strategist at Emoov and Mashroom.

Amy has spent the last few years working on creating successful digital PR campaigns and strategies for both agencies and for brands including Zoopla.

I really enjoyed this conversation with Amy in which she shares her favourite campaigns of all time, her best advice for those starting out in the industry and what being a work in progress really means to her.

What is your ultimate shower song? (The song you can give a 10/10 Grammy-worthy performance on in your shower on a Saturday morning).

My singing in the shower is slightly reserved – but the car is where I really let loose. I don’t know why I think cars are soundproof, but I belt out songs at the top of my lungs in the car without a thought for other people. 

And for some reason, the song that gets murdered the loudest by me in the car is, You’re The Voice – John Farnham – can’t beat a bit of 80’s cheese! And that ‘Oh, whoaaaaaaaoooooaaaahhhh’ part is spectacular – regardless of the looks I get from other drivers

What are your three favourite campaigns of all time?

My favourite campaigns ever are ones I wish I’d have created myself. 

German Rail – No Need To Fly

I remember seeing this campaign and being completely wowed. It’s utter genius. The comparison of German beauty spots to famous global tourism destinations is so beautifully done and it worked so effectively in convincing German residents to go on holiday in their own country. 

Under Lucky Stars, Light Pollution Campaign 

It’s so simple, yet so effective. I love anything to do with space, stars or the night sky so it was already a winner for me, but the visuals are just stunning and I think it works really well as a campaign. 

Instagram pictures to the moon!

This was one of the first real Digital PR campaigns with visuals that I ever really came across, and I’d use it constantly in presentations as examples of what type of content my company at the time should be creating. Again, so simple but so effective.

What mistakes did you make early on in your career and what lessons have they provided you with that you use in your career today?

The biggest thing would honestly be not chasing up enough. I used to just send emails out to journalists and if they didn’t reply or cover it, that would be it.

“I soon learned that a follow up goes a long way!”

Often I used to give journalists too much data in a press release, but just because I thought all of it was interesting, doesn’t mean they did. Journalists generally don’t have time to sift through all of the data set to find all of the stories so as digital PRs we need to give them a nudge in the right direction.

Finding the key points and making the data really say something specific works a lot better than just sending all of the data in one go. Even if there’s 20 different stories to make out of the one data set, pick one and run with that first.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in the industry?

I know it’s a real cliche, but it would be to read the news. I liked to set my new team members a bit of a task or challenge when they are learning, almost like a game.

When reading the news, find a story that seems interesting, then try and work backwards. Plan out what the press release would look like for that story. What data points, how it would be laid out, what subject lines etc and then build out a great pitch. That way, you are used to dissecting what makes a good story and will get used to creating press releases that get coverage. 

Where are your favourite places to find inspiration?

Again, the news! Seeing what other stories are out there and seeing what other possibilities and angles I might not have thought of otherwise.

I also love following Digital PR twitter, seeing what other great people in the industry are doing, and it’s also helpful to see when things don’t go perfectly for other PRs too. I love Digital PR Examples on Twitter, Famous Campaigns and I follow a lot of newsletters – Work in PRogress (obviously!) Weekly PR, Content Curated etc. 

Finally, what does being a work in progress mean to you? (Both professionally and personally).

To me, it means that I am not finished growing. Which is exciting. Continuously progressing and who knows where I will be in the future. The difference in my life and my career in the previous five years, I can only imagine what will happen in five years time.

You can keep up with the wonderful Amy on Twitter here and LinkedIn here.

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