What’s it like to undertake a work placement with Grayling North?

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Guest blog by Olivia Withnell, first year student at Leeds Beckett University

I was extremely excited when I found out that I had been given the opportunity to do work experience at Grayling North (the Leeds and Manchester offices). I initially found out about the opening through social media and thought it was the perfect opportunity to expand on my industry knowledge while gaining some hands-on experience. I am currently studying BA Marketing and Public Relations at Leeds Beckett University and thought Grayling was the perfect place to put my university studies into practice and learn from a team with endless opportunities.

Over the two-week placement, I helped the team across several client accounts, with my tasks ranging from public affairs research and media lists, to writing tailored media pitches and selling in stories to journalists. A key highlight was being able to work across multiple campaigns from a number of different sectors, including public sector, education, PA and consumer. Before my placement, I had little knowledge on the industry and what the day-to-day activity would involve, but the team at Grayling North gave me a vast range of tasks which allowed me to get a better grasp of which areas of PR I enjoy the most. 

At Grayling, no day was ever boring!

An aspect of the placement that I had never done before was being involved in ‘sell ins’, witnessing the process from start to finish and utilising my creativity to land media coverage. I was heavily involved in the creation of the media lists, carefully handpicking each journalist, and following on from that, getting the chance to write my own tailored pitches. As a result of my media outreach and liaising with journalists, I managed to secure 5 pieces of coverage from a range of publications, which is a feeling I had never experienced before and made me love PR even more.

My favourite aspect of the job was having the opportunity to get stuck in with all the creative elements of the campaigns and being given challenging tasks to expand on my skillset. An example of this would be writing press releases. Before my placement, I would have struggled with approaching a press release, but with the support of the team, I was able to build up confidence in my writing. It was great to have expert advice from the team on how to structure and develop a release, so they were always of high standard for the client. 

By getting to observe and learn from a team such as Grayling North, I’ve had a realistic representation of what a day in the life of a Public Relations team is like and how no day is the same, which I discovered is one of my favourite aspects of the job.

I would like to thank everyone at Grayling North for being so welcoming and guiding me through my placement. I was given a true insight into what life in the PR industry is really like and I am more excited than ever to be a part of such an exciting industry. I had the best time with a talented group of individuals and would highly recommend to anyone thinking of doing work experience to apply for a position at Grayling North. 

I’ve been overwhelmed by the team’s inclusion and am proud to have been offered (and accepted) an internship over the summer which will enable me to gain more hand-on PR experience before I go into my second year of studies. I’m excited to extend my stay at Grayling and can’t wait to get stuck into more briefs from the team.