Last week, the Fourth North team headed to Barclay’s Manchester tech hub, the ‘Escalator,’ to catch up with fellow PRs, share the latest goings-on, and listen in on a series of industry talks. The event was organised to celebrate the Prolific North’s Top 50 PR companies published last July.
After a few coffees and some catching up, we settled down to hear from two guest speakers; Andy Bounds, Northern Correspondent at the FT, and Laurna Woods, group managing director at Beattie Communications.
Laurna spoke about her career and how she’s seen the industry evolve – from working as a young journalist at her local newspaper to joining Beattie as a nineteen year old, working through piles of papers and magazines collating coverage clippings for clients.
I’ve always felt that the Manchester PR community is very collaborative, with everyone keen to learn from each other and share experiences. With many eager young PRs in the room, it was really interesting to hear Laurna’s ‘lessons learnt’ – from making the right hiring decisions, to knowing when to expand into new areas (and knowing what you need to do to make that successful). For me, the most inspiring take-away comment was ‘if you think you’ll be the best, you will be the best.’
Next up, we heard from Andy Bounds at the Financial Times. With the FT the Holy Grail for many PRs, there was a sudden scramble for our notebooks as he talked through what makes a good story, topics for 2015 and how best to get hold of him (turns out, he is a rather busy man!)
It was no surprise to hear that ‘the Northern Powerhouse’ will be high on the agenda as business leaders mull over the prospect of an elected mayor for Greater Manchester. Other hot topics this year are set to include disruptive technologies, wealth and entrepreneurship, and the changing world of work and employment.
In the Q&A following his talk, Andy also spoke about how he finds stories – with Twitter beign a great source for monitoring local news, keep up with global events and helping to filter out some of the noise! As Andy mentioned (and I would have to agree), ‘without it, I’d feel half-blind.’
Of course it wouldn’t be a networking event without a few drinks and following the talks, where we had an opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces and meet some new ones, as we all mingled in true PR style!
Thanks to Andy, Laurna, Prolific North and all involved – we look forward to seeing the Top 50 PR Agencies this year!
Lizzie is an Associate Director in the Manchester team