Cécile Beauvillard Burman
Job title / industry
PR Manager / Classical Music
Average starting salary
What qualifications /experience do you need?
I have an MA in Arts Management because that’s what you need to get a good job in France, but I found that’s not necessarily true in the UK. Most of my colleagues have Music degrees from good English universities and they’re perfectly qualified!
I think in order to be a good PR you need to be outgoing, creative and resourceful, but also be ready to put your ideas on hold for clients who really want to stick to a strict house style. If you’re in an agency, the ability to spin more than several plates is essential. Chances are you’ll be working on very different projects at the same time which require your full attention. It gets tricky!
Good knowledge of your industry, being an avid reader of the press and getting to know who writes about what is essential.
In a nutshell, what is your job?
My job is to promote incredible artists in print and online, and to make sure they are featured in classical trade press as well as beyond the arts pages in order to build their profile and diversify our audience. Because of my Trusts & Foundations clients I also get to work on Events management, which I love.
Best part of the job
Meeting said artists, attending plays and concerts all the time, learning to manage the press, marketing, website and social media aspects of promotion. In 2018 a publicist is less Edina in AbFab and more Geek Girl!
Downsides to the job
In an agency, you don’t always get to choose your clients and you sometimes have to promote work you don’t believe in 100%. Make sure the agency you apply for represents clients you really like and admire.
What does a typical day look like?
I wake up to almost 100 emails in times of crisis. I usually look out for urgent requests (picture requests or interview details from a journalist) and then move on to the bigger strategy meetings with clients or other team members, defining short-term and long-term press plans for our clients. I try to achieve “Inbox Zero” by the end of the day to stay sane! Then I’m usually invited to attend a play or a concert sponsored of performed by a client, where I chat with the press and convince them to write about it!
How did you get into PR?
I started in London as setting up international contracts for Digital Theatre, then I produced a couple of fringe shows in comedy and opera. I quickly found out I was really outgoing and enjoyed building new contacts and thinking about promoting clients. My first job in press was with English Touring Opera where I met lots of the national and regional journalists and learnt about marketing contras, and then I was recruited by Albion Media!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to go into PR?
Knock on doors, ask people who do your dream job out for coffee, ask them about their experience. You’re lucky in the UK, people are always keen to meet and help out! It’s worth doing internships to get hands-on experience and learn what you like and don’t like. I got my first job in London by barging into a company I was in love with and basically writing my own job description. It was amazing!
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