Julie Dawson-Wills | Content Careers

Yesterday the PR Fraternity got to meet Julie Dawson-Wills, founder of her own agency, Mixed Up Media and also former Head of Content at Ketchum. Julie’s impressive portfolio doesn’t stop there either, and includes launching Radio 1’s website as their Press Officer (at the age of just 26!), working in production at the BBC and joining McLaren Communications.

Let’s go through Julie’s career journey, talking about the valuable insights she gave, and then the advice she left us with in order to start our own journeys!

Julie’s first and only ambition from a young age was to join the BBC, and after being told she’d never be academically ‘oxbridge’ suitable was even more determined to do just that! (Now that’s the attitude!) Whilst completing her Business Studies, Art and Computing A-Levels, Julie went to a talk that inspired her to pick up the phone to a contact she had met at the BBC – even if it was 3 months later! This led to a week’s experience at the impressive company, and the energy she had here propelled her forward into production…

Although perfectly happy there, the churn of ideas from PR agencies that she worked with to help her plan within fasihon/consumer research  on a daily live show led to think about the origination of stories and the value of this logistical support…

Dawson-Wills now found herself at McLaren Communications, where she launched the first Sony PlayStation and brought it into the public eye. Here she also wrote her first press release (something we all remember!) and learnt to appreciate the concept of creating a story for a campaign.

At the age of just 26, Julie found herself as Press Officer for Radio 1.

“I took a leap of faith from TV production into PR – I ended up in my dream job but nothing is ever defined, so never discount any experience you’re offered”

What great advice! Next we talked about the differences of in-house and agency PR;

In-house – Love your brand – you represent it and are it’s infrastructure. The only way you will be successful is to live and breathe it’s culture, and make this contagious!

Agency – Here it’s all about pace. If you put the hours in and understand what the business objectives really are, your genuine enthusiasm will help to propel you forward.

“In order to bring something to the table, you need to really CARE abut what you do, and who you do it for – connect with the sector, and share your enthusiasm and energy”

“I took a leap of faith from TV production into PR – I ended up in my dream job but nothing is ever defined, so never discount any experience you’re offered”

So, it seems that the excitement in your eyes is just as important as the intelligence gathering you must do!

We couldn’t let Julie go without talking to her about content (obviously, she’s centred her career around it!) and so here’s what she had to say:

  • 300 hours of video per minute are uploaded to YouTube each day, totalling to 6 billion hours worth of video watching on the channel a month! (Wow)
  • So, this shows that minute by minute we’re bombarded with visual information, so the future must lie with video.
  • Make sure your content isn’t already out there – don’t copy but build n what is already there – do your research!
  • Think about comedy, your target audience, and whether your contents relevant.
  • Make people stories – would your content resonate with you?

A great example Julie gave was Coca-Cola – their ‘happiness’ brand takes campaigns to another level, always getting them right and wrapping their happiness around real topics and stories.

On talent, Julie gave some useful hints too:

  • Open them up for two-way communication
  • Listen to everyone and read the situation – your role is to make them comfortable, not to add stress
  • Respect their time
Here at the PR Fraternity we were really grateful to have such a resilient, ahead-of-the-curve individual, and so wanted to leave you with some of her final words…

Your Mantra –

“Knowing the mechanics simply aren’t enough…you need to adapt them for each brief  – no size fits all!

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