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After a couple years working as a journalist, comms assistant and content marketeer, I was given the opportunity to step into a PR Specialist role at my company.

As a fintech, we wanted to spread the word about how we help everyone achieve financial wellbeing with a little help from automation and fractioned investing.

Yet, our presence in the outside world was very minimal, as we were not proactively developing contacts nor contributing to any conversation about money and financial matters.

I enrolled Pioneer Academy to gain more knowledge about the PR industry, specially in The Netherlands, and to catch a glimpse of how things really worked around the block.

Even having lived in The Netherlands for quite a while, I was still unclear about press and media dynamics in the country: journalists tend to work the same but the PR-media relations in each country are subjected to different set of rules (and so are expectations from both parties).

Believe it or not, my journalism background was hindering my progress, more than boosting it; I was creating hyper-chewed stories for journalists, sending full articles ready to publish. Naturally, this did not work. At all. FAIL. But then, Pioneer helped me realise I was having great ideas and failing at execution.

It was not about sending already-written pieces from my journalistic perspective, but offering little snippets and nudges of information and thought-leadership to the media that are involved with the matters my company helps solve.

Contributing to the conversation and establishing an authority for our achievements moves the needle, not sending a perfectly written story or targeting 300 contacts with your meaningless press release. Check! I’d say the biggest learning for me has been realising that PR is not as organic as I thought.

There is a lot of strategic thinking, planning, creativity, but also testing, analysis and metrics. And a lot of failure and patient, that is for sure. Split testing press releases, charging your content of SEO tidbits, generating backlinks or boosting brand awareness are all outcomes pulled out of different comms and marketing disciplines – PR covers them all, making the dots connect.

It took me just a little bit of self-study, a consultancy call with Bianca and some trial and error to land my company in the print and online version of the Financial Dagblad! Hooray!

You might wonder how did I have time to go back to school while being a full time worker.

Well, first, I love learning and developing my own skills: curiosity is the biggest strength for a PR professional, I’d say! I completed Pioneer’s bite-sized courses and homework during lunch breaks, before bed and sometimes after work.

I set myself the goal of doing 1 lesson per day for two weeks, and it became a routine and learning habit that I really enjoyed. Even my bosses saw my progress when discussing PR tactics and strategies. I will definitely be coming for more very soon and learning from this amazing community.

Thank you, Pioneer!

Become a member of the Pioneer Academy today here.

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