Meet the PRofessionals | Marcel Klebba, Metia

Welcome to the fifth and final (for now!) instalment of the 'Meet the PRofessionals' series over on this blog! I've had the best time interviewing some incredible PR professionals from around the country, sharing their experience and advice. My PRofessional in the spotlight this time round is a well-known name, especially in the PR blogging community, it's the amazing Marcel Klebba!

Meet the PRofessional: Marcel Klebba

I first came across Marcel through the PR student blogging community and his journey has inspired a number of students, including myself. Marcel is an account executive at Metia in London, he graduated two years ago from the University of Westminster and stayed in London to launch his career in PR. Alongside his job, Marcel runs his award winning blog and has been doing for over two years now, and this year was named as a top 10 PR blog by Vuelio. As an established PR practitioner with plenty of blogging experience you can tell that Marcel really knows his stuff, so let's find out a little more about him...

1. How did you get started in PR? 

My way to the industry was pretty straightforward. I studied a BA in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of Westminster. Throughout the course, I landed a few work experience placements and then got my first comms job in the tech/corporate role a few weeks before graduating.

2. Have you found that having a successful PR blog has been beneficial to you in the industry? 

Absolutely. Blogging connects you with others, helps you explore the industry and teaches you a lot about it. It also makes you write regularly. Writing is an essential skill in PR, so it automatically makes you more employable. Having a blog can also be a good talking point during job interviews.


3. What was the reason for you setting up your PR blog?

I wanted to sharpen up my writing skills and showcase my passion to the industry. 

4. What is your current job title and what do you love about your job?

I'm a PR account executive at a global comms agency Metia. I work across the variety of fintech, tech and corporate clients. The fact it's so varied is what I like the most about my role. I also love learning and there's a lot to learn from my clients' industries. 

5. Why did you choose a career in PR?

Working in public relations is always interesting. You keep developing your skills on a daily basis and constantly learn new things.

6. What does your daily routine look like?

There's a lot to my role. I'd talk to media across the different sectors and across the globe, prepare briefing documents, and do reporting. I also make sure the media lists are up-to-date and monitor relevant media publications. But these are only some of the tasks that keep me busy.

7. Can you describe your job in three words?

Challenging, creative, exciting.

8. Who has been your biggest role model in your career so far and why?

I won't make the justice to the lengthy list of people that helped me in my career, but just to name a few, Sam Howard gave me my first proper PR job and taught me the basics, Stephen Waddington inspired me to start blogging and Ella Minty has always been there with some sound advice.

9. What are three must-haves that are crucial for you to get the job done?

Attention to detail, organisation skills and enthusiasm. 

10. What is the most memorable or meaningful moment in your career so far?

It has to be being recognised by Vuelio in 2017 as UK's best PR blogger. Landing coverage and media engagements with some of the leading trade and national publications has always been rewarding, too.

11. What do you wish more people understood about the PR industry?

It's slightly different than depicted in 'The Thick of It' or 'Absolutely Fabulous'. 

12. What advice would you give to a PR student like myself that is looking for a foot in the door in the PR industry?

Start blogging and get content out there. Meet people and learn about the industry as much as possible. Land some work experience.





Be sure to follow Marcel on Twitter, and definitely check out his blog. If you're reading this and want to get PR blogging, be sure to join the #CommsSchool community and have a go at writing yourself!


Thank you so much for your time Marcel! 

HOW TO | Build your social media 'portfolio'

Social media has become such an important factor in how professionals live their every day lives, mastering it can mean improving not only your connections with other PR professionals and agencies, but also your ability to get a job in the field. It's more than just promoting yourself to others; it can also be the perfect way to build your portfolio by expressing yourself and what you are interested in, if done properly!

There are so many social media sites out there now, how are you meant to know which is the best for you? Here are my top choices for building a social media 'portfolio' and how to use them properly to network and promote your personal brand:



Twitter: Twitter is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to developing yourself as a PR professional and connecting with the PR community because you can tailor your Twitter feed to suit you by following, retweeting and liking posts that are to your interest. Twitter is great for engaging in PR conversation whether it be through the #PRStudent hashtag while at uni or #PRTips, #PRAdvice conversations as well as engaging with agencies and professionals you're interested in. One think I'm so guilty of at the minute is following people with my dream job, they're only people! Your Twitter profile can also be used as a portfolio as it's showing your interest in a certain community or topic and shows clearly how up to date you are on what's going on in that field.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the obvious one when it comes to using social media professionally and networking. It's the perfect platform for finding out industry news and easily connecting with industry professionals. You can use this platform to connect with new professionals and keep in touch with old ones. Your profile on LinkedIn is like your online CV/portfolio - add all your best bits to it, both work experience and links to your existing work, you never know what role it could land you! It's the perfect platform to show how professionally connected you are to the community.

Instagram: Instagram is perfect for those who want to get a involved in a career that has a visual aspect, such as the fashion industry or working across social media graphics. Instagram is a great way to show your personality through style and passion for any specific industry. It's the perfect outlet to show yourself doing what you love and your interests!

KEEP THESE 3 TIPS IN MIND WHEN TRYING TO PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD!

1. Read over your social posts before you send them - if you're going for say a copywriter role and your socials are full of grammatical mistakes it won't look great.

2. Things you post about on social media stay with you forever (think Jack Maynard, I'm a celeb situation) nothing is ever 100% private online, so make sure you think before posting a rant about that bad day at work or posting that inappropriate photo.

3. Use your social media to make a positive change!

Why is networking important as a PR student?

One of the first thing most PR professionals state when sharing advice for people looking to get into the field is to network, network and then network some more. It was only after attending the annual student/practitioner networking event last week that I realised just how important networking is both as a student and as a PR professional.

It may seem a bit awkward and forced at first, but getting out there and surrounding yourself with people industry is so important, but try and do it in a way that works for you! As cliché as it sounds the PR industry is sometimes all about who you know! It was through work experience that I first began to realise how fundamentally social the industry is. Alongside the fact you're always working as part of a wider team, networking is a core function of the profession, and occurs not only in the work environment, but at industry events, gatherings and nights out!

PR professionals tend to build up relationships with journalists and stakeholders over time, sometimes years, and retain these key relationships throughout their entire career. While we learn this in theory as part of our degrees, actually witnessing these interactions in real life is essential for budding PR professionals, to develop the skills to learn from key people in the industry and form your own relationships with these types of people. With this in mind I thought I'd share my top tips for networking:

The look of concentration!

1. Go to industry events!

Events present the perfect opportunity to start practicing your networking skills, meeting like-minded people and build your network. I was lucky enough that my lecturer hosts an annual networking event on campus with a range of practitioners attending from around the region for my first event (Thanks for hosting Diane!). The CIPR also host regular networking events around the country which are great. Once you sign up to an event, check the speakers on social media and see what they like talking about and what field they're in. This way, you have a topic in mind when you approach.

At these events, you will tend to be out of your comfort zone. But it's important to remember that all those professionals were students before and are only human!

2. Ask questions

These people understand how important it is for students to communicate with successful professionals like themselves, be sure to ask questions about everything you'd like to know! About their role, the industry or any interests. Listening and learning is key as part of the networking process and developing yourself.

3. Stay in touch with your peers

You never know when someone in your class could come in handy! Even in the PR blogging community it's a great way of approaching like-minded talented students. Before I even started blogging and my masters I had conversations with both Orlagh Shanks and Jessica Pardoe about starting my blog and both offered such good advice back in September that I've kept it up ever since! Be sure to look through the #PRStudent hashtag, read their blogs and connect with people - the worst they can do is say no!

4. Get connected 

Thanks to the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter, networking is so much easier now than ever before, students can now connect with practitioners and follow their careers. It's the perfect place to join the conversation and comment on some posts. There are so so many successful people out there who are always willing to talk to students and help out - you just need to approach them!


How have you found networking? Have you got any tips you remember while trying to network? Let me know below!

Beth x

Meet the PRofessionals | Taimar Kate Askew, W North

Welcome to the fourth instalment of my 'Meet the PRofessionals' series! I've been really enjoying interviewing some amazing PR professionals from around the country to share their experiences, opinions on the industry and words of wisdom - especially while I'm getting towards the end of my masters degree, so keep your eyes peeled for new additions as there's still plenty to come. This time round, my PRofessional in the spotlight is the lovely Taimar Askew from W North!


What is 'Meet the PRofessionals'? 


When I started studying PR I often found it difficult to find how other people got into the industry and have always found it interesting when speaking to professionals that everyone takes their own path, it tends to be that no two people got into the industry the same way - especially in this interview Taimar speaks about the beauty of LinkedIn in terms of getting into her role.

That's why I wanted to start this series, that I'll hopefully be posting a new addition to each week. A space where we can be inspired to learn and be successful like these people. I have asked those important questions to gain an insight into the industry of how these PRofessionals got to where they are today, and how as a PR student we can emulate their success.


Also, if you're reading this and in the PR industry please do get in touch! I'd absolutely love to hear from you and I'm sure many other students would benefit from the advice you have to share. But for now, let's get into it...

Meet the PRofessional: Taimar Askew

Taimar is currently an account executive at W North and has been at the agency since August 2017. Since graduating from the University of Sunderland Taimar has really went from strength to strength while at W North, and often gives back to the university with talks and advice for current PR students like myself, which is why I wanted to learn a bit more about her... 


  1. How did you get started in PR?

I began studying the undergraduate course at Sunderland University and built up my book of key contacts over the three years from voluntary placements and networking events. Once graduated, I was lucky enough to scoop the Ede & Ravenscroft award for the best dissertation campaigns. It was actually a post on Linkedin that landed my first proper job in PR! I received a message from my current boss asking if I’d like to meet him from a coffee, and, yeah, I guess you could say it all started from there.

  1. What is your current job title and what do you love about your job? 

I’m an Account Executive at W North. The thing I love most is the range of national brands that we get to work with on a daily basis. Having that London connection is also great for events and regular meetings with key consumer media.

  1. What is the biggest lesson you took away from university?

As much as you hate it, you need that public speaking skill!

  1. Why did you choose a career in PR? 

I was never going to go to Uni until I read into the PR course at Sunderland. I originally opted for Journalism but didn’t think my written skills were quite as up to scratch as what they should have been. PR seemed cool! There were so many areas that you could tap into and I really liked the thought of working where no day was the same.

  1. What does your daily routine look like?

9am – Read the morning papers and catch up on any emails
10am – Open up Facebook Business Manager for any social clients and respond to queries that we’ve had come through overnight
11am – Usually working through a consumer sell-in to press, pitching a new product launch
1pm – Lunch!
2pm – Usually working on a report
4pm – New business pitch or client call
5pm – Send updates on the consumer sell-in to the client and final follow up with press
6pm – Finish for the day

But as I say, no day is the same!

  1. Can you describe your job in three words?

Fast. Varied. Fun.

  1. Who has been your biggest role model in your career so far and why?

Don’t think I can answer this yet!

  1. What type of person thrives at your organisation?

Someone who is willing to put their hand up no matter the task and give it 101%.

  1. What are three must-haves that are crucial for you to get the job done?

1. Time management
2. Client priorities
3. Internal communication

  1. What is the most memorable or meaningful moment in your career so far?

Meeting Dec at our W Summer Festival.

  1. What do you wish more people understood about the PR industry?

That we do A LOT for journalists! Sometimes even write the article’s for them…


  1. What advice would you give to a PR student like myself that is looking for a foot in the door in the PR industry? 

Experience, both in-house and agency, to show that you’ve got sizable knowledge ☺



Thanks you so much for your time Taimar, it's great to see you doing so well and learning more about the impressive agency that is W North! đŸŒŸ

Click-Plate

Dreamy holidays, make up inspo and even work-out plans... Instagram is showing and influencing us on just about everything these days, even down to how, what and where to eat. I read an article this week that claimed that 'one in five brits have shared a food pic over the last month'. So no the wonder dishes we are cooking and buying are getting brighter and more photogenic just for the gram!

Before the world of social media, people would have chosen where to meet their friends for dinner or go for cocktails by a recommendation or review. Yet people's obsession with pretty food and extravagant looking drinks has resulted in bars, cafés and restaurants completely changing up their marketing and PR strategies to make them as "instagrammable" as possible. Some places will even stretch as far as basing their menus and interiors around how their dishes and environments will look in photos.



A study from Zizzi has revealed that 18-35 year olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30 per cent would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence is weak. I'm sure a lot of you can relate when I say eating out has become merely a pastime, a good way of catching up with friends - and when we do, we love to share it on the gram. In fact, it's now normal to sit down in a restaurant having already decided what you're going to order because you've spent a few minutes stalking on Instagram in advance.

So - what are these places doing to make sure they are the chosen location in their city to make in to the gram?

Even starting out with the interiors...

I have definitely been guilty of visiting somewhere for food or drinks purely for the back drop - there's just something about a good flower wall, or even a bath tub in a night club. You can bet if I'm in a cool café or bar with a quirky quote on the wall (especially if it's neon) it'll be featured on my Instagram or Snapchat story... and no one will be surprised.

Take 808 bar and kitchen in Sunderland for example, their interiors are to die for (see below), from a gorgeous bathroom to the most perfect flower wall near the bar, these guys have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the perfect instagrammable bar - and don't even get my started on their amazing cocktails and food! You can tell as soon as you walk in who they're targeting and if you're from the North East and haven't been already I'd highly recommend (and not just for the photo).


Trying out Stunt Food

The food section on the instagram explore page can be a dangerous, dangerous place. From rainbow donuts to freak-shakes, as we scroll in admiration and think we need to try that - we're falling victim to the world of stunt food. Stunt food is particularly popular within fast food restaurants with the rise of competition means if you don't innovate, you're relegated to the "has-been" pile. People use interest, sales drop, stores close, and that's the end of that.

These items are made purely for the novelty factor. I mean, why else would Burger King make a green burger bun? It doesn't exactly look appealling. Or why would Starbucks think of releasing a unicorn frappuccino? But one thing they know for sure is that millennials will buy it, post and share it all over their social media platforms and influence others to do the exact same, even if a regular product would be much more enjoyable.

Burger King feeding nightmares with their Halloween stunt

The Starbucks unicorn frappuccino


It's all in the presentation

It ultimately all comes down to the food and us milennials love to take a quick snap/insta/boomerag/whatever if it looks the part. A bacon sandwich for breakfast or a toastie for lunch doesn't hit the spot like it once did - now we're all about that smashed avocado with the perfectly runny poached egg and the most aesthetically pleasing salad bowl you've ever seen. Who knew Insta could be good for the diet?




























It ofcourse doesn't stop with the food though, that would be far too simple. How are these dishes going to be presented? Plates now have to be aesthetically pleasing, usually large oval plates, rather than circular and have some type of print and even occasionally on a board. Gone are the days of a cocktail in a simple glass - you now have smoking cocktails, rainbow cocktails and even cocktails in mini bath-tubs to name a few, with each place trying to be different and stand out from the competition. Millennials are particularly all about this, the more unique the better at the end of the day. It's exciting and I love seeing the personal little touches each place has and it the perfect outlet for creativity - not even just for the photo!


So - next time you're out for food or drinks, try and maybe resist taking that snap for the gram and just enjoy the moment. I don't know about you but I'm now very hungry!

Switching Off

Something I think everyone is guilty of is finding the right time to switch their minds and bodies off and taking some time for themselves and loved ones. Lately the stress of uni, work and everything else has been getting a lot so there was no better time to have a long weekend at the Lake District. We stayed at High Borrans lodges and spent the day on Saturday at Lake Windermere, rented a boat and ate a lot of ice cream, and it's safe to say it was absolutely perfect and just what I needed to push on with the rest of this semester.

This weekend has really got me thinking about how taking some time away from everything can help put things into perspective, improve productivity and gives us space to think. Here's why:

Rented a boat on Lake Windermere and survived,
a shock to the system
The stunning view from our lodge

The opportunity to fully switch off

It's not often we get the opportunity to completely switch off and not think about anything. The phone signal wasn't great where our accommodation was located (literally in the middle of the lakes) and although we did have wifi access, I couldn't have been happier about how isolated the area was. After checking my screen-time last week and the longest day being 9 hours, I know I'm disappointed too, I have made a conscious effort to use my phone less and less. 

Switching off is the perfect time to relax, have a change of pace and recharge batteries, it allows us to come back to work with a clearer, happier mind, and face challenges much better. It's so important to encourage taking some time away from the desk as a means of improving productivity and overall job satisfaction.

You'll learn the difference between being busy and being productive

One thing that I've learnt recently is there's a huge difference between a busy person and a productive person. Have you ever noticed that when you ask some people how they are, their immediate answer is "busy"? Our society places such importance on being busy, almost as if not being busy deems you as unsuccessful. However, getting things done and being productive isn't just about being bust, it's about what you're busy doing. If you're unable to identify the tasks that actually matter, then you're just spinning your wheels.

Taking time off means you stop setting yourself meaningless tasks just to come off as busy. In fact, you'd probably rather spend time on your interests and appreciate the world around us. By not engaging in busy work constantly, you may able to fully focus on what really matters to achieve your goals.

It boosts creativity

Having time off is the perfect chance to fully process ideas and think creatively. Being constantly on the go 24/7 sometimes has a hit on your amount of creativity. Although while you're away you're not meant to be thinking of work, it's the perfect time to fully process your ideas. We've all had ideas that never materialised, right? Some time away it the perfect time to have that thinking process.

It gives you time for reflection

One thing we're all guilty of is not fully celebrating our own successes. I know for me it gets to the end of each year and it feels like everything was rushed by so quickly it's strange looking back on your achievements from the year. It's so important to take the time to recognise your achievements and be proud of yourself and your work.



Obviously we can't just go away for a few days a week every time we're feeling a little stressed, but there's so many ways to switch off just at home - how do you like to switch off? Let me know below!

Beth x