Work in PRogress – Issue #1 – Marina Plummer

My first ever (!!!) Work in PRogress guest is the wonderful Marina Plummer. I first met Marina when we were both working together last year, and we quickly became close friends. Marina is one of those special friends that you can talk to for hours on end, and she’s constantly pushing me to do better and ~live my best life~. She’s one of my greatest cheerleaders in my life and I always feel so creatively inspired and fulfilled after spending time with her.

Marina Plummer

Anyway. Gushy intro done and onto the cold, hard facts. Marina is a digital PR manager at Kaizen in London, and as a History nerd, loves to share how storytelling is the ultimate way to gain links in the world of digital PR.

Welcome, Marina!! First question to break the ice…

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 ultimate shower song has to be Yesterday, by The Beatles, for the sole reason it’s a song that I can actually pretend I’m decent at. There is no pretending with an Ariana Grande song – trust me, I’ve tried.

I’ve crafted Yesterday to a tee, and even got some harmonies down, which I forced my boyfriend to do once in Farringdon in the early hours of the morning, after one too many drinks.

We sounded great, by the way.

Now that’s out of the way, on to the more serious stuff. Which formats or types of digital PR campaigns are you loving at the moment? Are there any specific examples of campaigns that you’ve seen and loved recently?

I’ve always been a fan of the recreated poster campaigns, with my personal favourite being albums recreated in an 80s retro style – one of the most recent campaigns similar to this is Holiday Cottages No Place Like The UK, featured in Content Curated.

I admire the art of these campaigns and the reason I know I love them, is because they are some of the campaigns I share with my friends and family the most because of their ‘wow’ factor.

As PR evolves, another style I have really embraced over the past few months is being more than just a Digital PR, and working to find time in my day to squeeze in those all important reactive opportunities, opening my mind to different kinds of campaigns – not just digital graphics. Being a true PR is jumping on the news that’s around and I have a huge amount of admiration for the likes of Pret and McDonald’s at the moment, who are offering free food to NHS workers during the coronavirus pandemic – it’s not about generating links, it’s about reacting to what’s going on, doing your bit as a business, and letting others know about it.

Give us your ultimate digital PR tip that you would give to a newbie starting out in the industry.

My ultimate top tip for outreach is if you can summarise your story/hook in a subject line, then you’re onto a winner.

Finding the most newsworthy story and conveying it as quickly as possible to your audience is a PR 101 basic skill to master. Journalists care about the story and it’s our job as PRs to suss out the most newsworthy hook in a campaign, and pitch it in a way that grabs their attention straight away.

For newbies, whether you are ideating or pitching, it is really important to think about what the story is, and from there, summarise it in as few words as possible.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I don’t think anything can beat the feeling of getting a link. It is without doubt one of the biggest motivations that Digital PRs across all levels feel.

The second best thing is when you’ve come up with an idea that you’re REALLY excited about – the kind of excited that you feel when you see a knock out campaign and share it with all your friends and family.

Finally, what does being a ‘work in progress’ mean to you, both professionally, and personally?

A big question!

For me, being a work in progress at work is always trying to push myself, reach my personal career goals, broaden my knowledge, but reminding myself that I’m doing it all at my own pace. I will never know everything, and with this relatively new industry changing and developing so rapidly,

“it can often feel like you have to be the Digital PR, the Traditional PR, the Visualiser, the Marketer, the PPC person, the technical SEO guru, the Data God, and the Influencer savvy, all at the same time”

So for me, each day, my aim is to expand my knowledge in all of these areas in my own way, and use this information to provide new ways of doing what I do, help others and push forward.

In my personal life, I also have a huge desire to learn and it’s something that ruled every step I took a few years ago. From learning a language, to going to yoga twice a week, these were things that made me feel like I was progressing. Today, I’m learning to tune in to what feels right for me and when, rather than doing things because I feel like I should. I’m learning to be comfortable in my own lane and create my own routines and habits that put me in the best place to take on the next hour, day, week, month, decade and eternity.

My personal work in progress will always change, but for now it is doing what is right and creating an environment where I am content.

Thanks so much to this wonderful gal for being my first Work in PRogress and you can follow Marina and appreciate her pleasingly frequent use of Twitter here.

Let’s talk about FOMO

It’s 8pm on a Friday night following a busy week and I’m in my pyjamas. A night filled of catching up on TV, a couple of G&Ts with my mum and an early night is in store. Sounds dreamy, right?

But my anxiety levels are rising, as I begin scrambling around asking every single friend in close proximity what their plans are, and whether they fancy a ‘cheeky pub trip’. Friends begin replying detailing their plans, or (shock, horror) declining my invitation for a quiet night in. I’m starting to panic.

And then there’s a bite.

A couple of the boys are going to the pub – but not til 10pm – and in the next town over, a good 15 minute drives away. I’m knackered, I’m makeup-less and sporting my finest fleecey PJs, and essentially, have no desire to drive to the pub for one drink.

After practicing an inordinate amount of self-control I managed to convince myself to stay on my sofa, but it didn’t end there. I took to Instagram (bad move, Abs) scrolling through posts of parties, nights out, lovely dinners out – I was even feeling jealous of the people having cosy nights in, just as I was. Why didn’t I have cool plans? Why wasn’t I invited to any of these nights out? What if all my friends are about to have the best nights of their lives this evening and I’m doing absolutely big fat nothing?

It genuinely was making me feel quite worked up and anxious, and I went to bed feeling disappointed in myself and my lack of cool plans, and my inability to be doing something every minute of every day of every week.

The irony is, I woke up the next morning feeling like I handled the whole thing relatively well. From the age of 17, I’d been cramming my weekends with ‘stuff’. I spent at least half of my time at university not at university – always seeing someone, unable to stop making plans, never mind decline them, and avoiding a chill weekend at home like the plague. Socialising and doing cool things felt like more of a job than my dissertation. I was suffering daily from errand paralysis, unable to make the 15 minute walk to the post office to return my ASOS order and was completely exhausted: emotionally, mentally and financially. I only recognised how destructive the lifestyle I was living was until I moved back home and I realised I was close to burnout, and actually quite mentally ill. 

Fucking millennials, right? Only our generation could make themselves mentally ill from the ‘fear of missing out’, or FOMO, as it’s more commonly called.

But we’re the most vulnerable generation to the fear, in a culture of excessive social media usage, hustle porn and so many god damn choices. I log into Instagram on a Saturday night and there is an endless stream of friends, acquaintances (and complete strangers) at a rave, having nights with their friends, travelling round Australia, at gigs, out for dinner and more. Hours worth of content just waiting for me to watch and decide whose life I’d like the most that evening.

We are the generation that were brought up being told we could do anything, and thanks to more opportunities being available than ever before, we are doing exactly that. Comparing ourselves to other people our age can therefore leave us feeling completely and utterly worthless.

Sure, I’m doing well at my job, making time to travel and see my friends and family, and I’m probably the healthiest (mentally and physically) I’ve been in a long time. But a friend from school who side-hustles a successful lifestyle blog is currently on a #gifted meal in London with her boyfriend, another friend is travelling around South East Asia without a care in the world, and Kylie Jenner is now the youngest ever self-made billionaire…and she’s younger than me.

You can see then, why comparing yourself to your other twenty-something friends (or strangers) is completely useless but so easy to do.

Research has found that (unsurprisingly) limiting social media usage results in significant reductions in loneliness, anxiety and fear of missing out. More interestingly, studies have also found that fear of missing out and social comparison orientation (which refers to the tendency to compare oneself with others) jointly contribute to decreases in well-being (loneliness, anxiety and depression) and increased social media engagement.

Scientific proof therefore, that if you’re feeling a bit rubbish you should whack your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode and try to resist an evening of comparison and self-hatred (though tempting, I know). You’ll feel a lot more able to hack the ‘best night’ posts in the morning when the ‘gram is a bit quieter and you wake up smug after a good night’s rest.

image1 (3)
The only dropping I’ll be doing this Saturday evening.

FOMO has always been around, and to be honest, I imagine it will only get worse as social media becomes more of a necessity in everyone’s lives. Finding ways to manage such anxieties are therefore vital.

For me, allowing myself to regularly take a night to do absolutely naff-all and trying not to stuff my weekends with plans, errands and big expectations has been a game-changer. I value and enjoy my plans a lot more when they do come around, and feel a lot more able to cope when it feels like everyone’s doing amazing things and I’ve spent the evening laying on the sofa with my dogs. Trying to bear in mind that Instagram is just a highlights reel is also a great comfort.

Remember that the world’s not going to stop if you take a night off, your friends will still be your friends if you don’t make it to that party or pub trip, and no-one actually cares what you’re doing on Instagram because we’re all narcissistic millennial bastards. (Joking. Kind of.)

So indulge in that night in, turn your phone off and toast that glass of wine (that hasn’t cost you £5) to no mo’ FOMO.