Dressing Pippa Middleton for the Royal Wedding reception and travelling all over the world are just some of the cool things Nia Thomas has experienced during her career in PR.
It’s an industry few people know about, but a LOT is going on behind the scenes of some of the biggest brands we buy and lust after. Here Nia, 33, tells List for Life what it takes to make it in the PR world and why it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do with your career from the get go. Prepare to be inspired.
1. How did you get into PR?
I did a law degree and a business masters. Then I stared working in financial PR in an agency in London. My biggest and main client in the financial PR agency was ASOS.com and getting press for them spurred my love of the industry. I really liked getting press coverage and filling out press releases and seeing what came back. I’m lucky that I found quite an exciting career really early on.
Then I went and worked in investment banking for two years but I didn’t really enjoy it that much because it was a bit repetitive. You had to go through the same processes again and again. Then I helped my friend set up a shoe company, Aruna Seth, and I stayed with her for about five years doing her PR. I travelled all around the world with her from LA to New York and tried to get celebrities to wear her shoes on the red carpet. I eventually set up on my own and took her on as one of my clients. I’ve now got about 10 other clients.
2. So you didn’t always know that you wanted to do PR?
No, I wanted to be a lawyer initially and never really thought about working in PR. I applied to about 20 PR firms and got six interviews and I applied to 100 law firms and I got two interviews. It seemed to be more of a natural fit for me to go into PR!
Sign up for the newsletter
Get news, competitions and special offers direct to your inbox
3. What would your advice be to someone wanting to go into PR?
You need to be really driven. I have to be quite pushy in my job, I really have to push sometimes to get press coverage and keep on pestering journalists. You have to be the same when you are applying for jobs. You have to have a lot of energy and be determined. I have had a lot of good interns who have come in and worked hard for me, been really determined and then they have been the ones who have gone on to get really great jobs.
4. What has been the most amazing moment of your career so far?
I got Pippa Middleton to wear a pair of our shoes on the evening of the Royal Wedding with her green Temperley dress. I was really pleased about that. I still get excited about my job every day. Another of my clients is being featured in World of Interiors‘ December issue. It’s really hard to get press but you have to keep going with it. When you don’t get press for one of your clients, even though you are trying really hard, it can be tough.
5. What is a typical working day like for you?
I usually come in and read through all my emails. Then I set my day so I usually split it so that I’m promoting one client per day. I send out loads of press releases out to as many journalists as I can. Then I could be going to a trade show such as Brides The Show and I also meet journalists for dinner to persuade them to feature the brands in their publications. It’s lots of networking. I went to a Flaunt magazine event a few weeks ago and it’s nice to get out and speak to new people.
My job involves a lot of emailing and I try to do a lot of social media to keep them in journalist’s minds. Social media is really important. I have been doing PR for 10 years now and I only realised how important social media actually is in the last two or three years. Every journalist has their own Twitter feed so for me being on Twitter is really effective.
6. How do you deal with stress?
I try not to look at my emails first thing in the morning. I tell myself that I’m not allowed to look at my emails until after I’ve eaten breakfast. It’s better to look at them later when you are going to answer them than looking in the morning and thinking you will go back to them later. I’m very strict with my time and have my hour in the morning to myself. I also go to the gym a lot and for beauty treatments as they help me relax.