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A day in the life of a PR officer

27 July 2012

Lucy Rhodes who is the Press Officer for William Hill talks about a day in her working life.

 

As a Press Officer, you are effectively a ‘face’ of the company. The exact role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities which, in parallel with the racing calendar, feature all year round. Main responsibilities include: press liaison, distributing ante-post price changes to relevant television media and journalists at big horse racing meetings including Cheltenham, Aintree and Royal Ascot; developing PR and sponsorship opportunities - including media stable visits and Industry promotional events; live television and radio interviewing, plus on-course race-day broadcasting; conceiving special bets, writing and issuing press releases to promote new betting markets or specials; social media management and hosting competitions. You need to be able to think on your feet, think for yourself, and have excellent organisational abilities. Good communication skills are vital, and endless enthusiasm and motivation is a must!

How did you get involved in this role?

I joined William Hill in 2006 as a part-time telephonist to fund my way through what was starting to become an expensive University career. Upon graduating, I joined William Hill Radio in Leeds in 2008, and after two years spent in the team, which encompassed everything from blogging to betting shop broadcast, I took up a position in the Press Office in London.

What attracted you to the job?

The opportunity to take a step up within the company in a more varied and challenging role; and a chance to branch out from the betting Industry and into the racing world as a whole. (Oh yes, and the chance to go racing every week is certainly an appealing factor...!)

What is a typical day like for you?

Sometimes I wish I had ‘typical’ days – they are very rare indeed as there’s always something different going on. I could be belting down the M1 at 5am on Boxing Day to get to Kempton Park for our flagship event, the King George VI Chase, flying to Ireland to cover a big meeting such as the Irish Derby, chaperoning company directors at a sponsored event, or visiting Kauto Star and co at a media stable visit.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all glamour and travel. I can be donning joggers and a hoodie and rolling up and packing away logo banners and saddlecloths after an event, and, during various lulls in the racing calendar, I’m sat in the office going through piles of newspaper cuttings and writing reports on our media coverage.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Going racing obviously has to be up there at the top, especially greyhound racing (of which we are the biggest sponsor in the UK). I always help to promote the latter as much as I can as the people involved in it are highly passionate about their sport, and great fun to work with.

I also love thinking up quirky bets, such as ‘Hayley Turner to ride a Classic winner’ etc to gain publicity and create talking points. I think I give the guys in compiling a constant headache though as we don’t always agree on some of the more unusual markets! I think one of them may have imploded as a result of my suggestion of a ‘who will sell the most scarves before the Cheltenham Festival’ match bet, Kauto vs Big Buck’s...

Which part of your job would you like to change?

Nothing really, although there’s a lot of travelling involved, which can at times get on top of you. I suppose not much can be done about that until some good soul invents teleportation! I have amassed a healthy supply of coffee sachets and mini hotel soaps, however.

What is the career progression for someone in your role?

Anywhere and anything really. The role encompasses so many different areas, from journalism to broadcasting, from networking to events. It can open a myriad of doors - the people whom the job introduces you to can be the biggest part - I’ve met some fabulous people, some who have become great friends, and I most likely wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting them otherwise.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking a similar role?

Go for it, but be prepared for whatever different situations throw at you. Thinking out of the box is essential. I hate that phrase but it couldn’t be TRUER in a position such as this. Don’t let yourself have any limits, grow with the role and see where it takes you.

 

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