My Moments of…(WOW, Oh crap, Regret and Pinch myself)
Jenny Bairstow, Channel 4, Content Creative
When I started the Content Creatives course in September, I couldn’t wait to apply the skills I was learning while on my placement. Working in a creative job has been a huge change of pace for me, as before I started here, I was working in mental health support in the NHS. Although I was still exercising my creativity through my side-job as an event promoter and producer, switching between the two was proving to be quite a struggle. The past few weeks at Boutique have given me countless opportunities to exercise my creativity, which has definitely been my favourite thing about working with them.
My biggest ‘WOW’ was definitely starting in PR and learning that a day-in-the-life is entirely different to what I was expecting. Before, I expected all PR to be crisis-management for celebrity clients. So for example if, hypothetically, Rylan Clark were to release a range of faulty air-fryers, a PR agency would then help him write a tweet saying ‘I’m really sorry to anyone who bought a faulty RyFry, please don’t hesitate to apply for a refund’.
This is so far removed from the real world of PR, which mostly involves working with brands to help their products get coverage in publications such as The Mirror, The Sun, and the Daily Mail. I was given a complete crash course in the world of PR, and was so impressed at how quickly I could go from knowing nothing at all to being able to write my own press release, and contribute in brainstorming sessions where we planned future press releases.
I really impressed myself over the past few weeks when we were given three options of blog posts to research and write, and I chose the hardest one – a blog about how the decline of third-party cookies will affect the marketing industry. If I’m being completely honest, I knew nothing at all about cookies before I started writing this. There was definitely a point at the start where I wondered if I might be out of my depth, and thought, ‘Oh crap, have I bitten off more than I can chew?’ I decided to approach the topic from the perspective of someone like me, who has limited knowledge when it comes to tech, and finds learning about it quite daunting.
But, when I looked around the office and realised I had specialists in digital media sat right next to me, my nerves were quickly settled. I asked our resident experts for some pointers to start me off, and they were more than happy to help. My colleagues at Boutique are all so good at explaining complicated topics, so in no time, I was feeling more confident in my ability to create an useful and informative piece.
First I created the blog based on the knowledge and expertise I had drawn from the Boutique team and then decided to embark on my research journey to enable me to add my own thoughts and some nuggets from sources outside of Boutique.
I started by googling ‘What are web cookies ELI5’ – my go-to technique if I need a basic overview of something before getting into the nitty gritty. ‘ELI5’ means ‘Explain like I’m five’, and googling any complicated topic with that tagged onto the end of your search will lead you to Reddit threads where people break down the key facts, debates, and insights. I find that reading about complex topics in a conversational, informal tone really helps me develop a baseline understanding of a topic, which I can then build on by reading specialist blogs, reports, and articles. This is the modern day equivalent of the ‘For Dummies’ book series, and I’ll stand by it with both feet down forever!
While this was an initial ‘Oh crap, I’m in a bit of trouble here’, it quickly transformed into an ‘Oh crap! See how much I’m capable of when I put my mind to it!’, and I’m very thankful to Boutique for giving me the chance to explore this.
Regret – Relying on Canva
Over the past few months, I’ve become a total Canva aficionado. It’s layout is super user-friendly, so you can create impactful graphics in just a few clicks. However, having this available to me has come at a cost – I’m hardly using photoshop, or the graphics tablet I bought second hand for £30 when I started this job. Although photoshop is comparatively a bit harder to navigate, being proficient in it is a really valuable skill, and it has far more uses than Canva. Before the end of my placement, I definitely want to put more time into learning photoshop inside out and refining my skills.
My first day was definitely one of the most surreal days of my life. I was in Pryzm in Leeds at 9am in a sequin dress and a pair of rollerskates, meeting the majority of my new co-workers for the time. The rollerskates, unsurprisingly, were amplifying my nerves. I was convinced that I’d fall flat on my arse and make a fool of myself in front of my colleagues. People also seemed a bit quiet at first and like they didn’t want to chat, but I later realised this wouldn’t be a problem; they’re actually the friendliest, chattiest bunch of people around, but on this occasion, they were all just aware that losing their concentration for thirty seconds could make them topple over.
This situation was probably the most surreal of my whole life, and it was a great taste of what life at Boutique would be like. Boutique is an agency which massively values individuality and isn’t afraid to be daring, dynamic and disruptive. Now that I know more about Boutique, a roller disco themed photoshoot for our christmas card seems like an absolute no-brainer.