Hello! I’m Caitlin – last year I graduated BIMM Bristol with a degree in Music Industry Management, and I’m currently an Assistant Publicist at Think Social PR in London.
Can you tell us a bit about your role?
As an Assistant Publicist, I work with my boss on all our PR clients, and as Think Social also has a social media management arm, I work with those clients too. With PR, we aim to get our artists the best coverage possible, whether that’s in print media, online or both – my role in these campaigns includes creating press releases, pitching out to publications, organising meetings and interviews, plus researching publicity targets and planning goals/strategies with an artist and their management. In terms of social media, I will create posting schedules for artists, including written copy and plans for media – sometimes we publish the posts for a client, but each one is different and we really work together to make sure they’re comfortable with how they’re being represented online.
I also have a few clients of my own on the PR roster which is really exciting (a couple of acts from Bristol and an up-and-coming indie band from London who have a great sound). I do much the same for them as our other clients, but I might take lead with pitches and planning. I try and get out to as many of their gigs as possible, and I also check out showcases for new artists and networking events, to try and bring new clients onboard.
What has been your highlight so far?
There have been a few highlights so far – being able to see Nina Nesbitt start her tour in Bristol and finish it in London was pretty special. Her latest album was a long time coming, and it was lovely to be a part of it in some way. Getting Emma Bunton as a social media client was a big moment… Baby Spice is my sister’s favourite Spice Girl, and it was really fun to help build on Emma’s online profile.
Also I got to attend The Great Escape in Brighton for the first time: I saw so many talented artists and it was a great weekend at the beach with the entire UK music industry. Recently, I got my first solo print feature sent to me from Germany – seeing an artist that I pitched for get a double page spread in a magazine was really cool, and will always be a big highlight for me.
Did you find it easy to know what career path you wanted to follow?
It’s super hard to know exactly what you want to do in any industry. Lots of people work in multiple areas of music, and once you’re in it’s so easy to get involved with new projects. You might work in PR and manage a band on the side, or you get into promotion and then decide to manage a tour.
I started BIMM not knowing where I wanted to end up, but luckily I discovered PR along the way. For me, it was more a case of elimination – I loved learning about management, but I realised it wasn’t the job for me. A&R sounded exciting but it wasn’t my bag either. Sometimes you need to know what doesn’t suit you to be able to see what does!
How did your experiences at BIMM prepare you for your role?
My time at BIMM really did prepare me for my job in the industry, and actually directly led me to my current job. During my second year, I had to complete a module where getting work experience was compulsory. My amazing lecturer at the time, Silvia Gargiulo, placed me with Lauren Hales at Halestorm PR for a month. I had the best time, and BIMM were really accommodating as I had to miss classes to do the internship in London.
After this experience, I kept in touch with Lauren and Michelle from Halestorm, as I learnt a lot from them and we got on so well. Then, when it came to finding a job post-graduation, Lauren recommended me for the role I’m currently in! Whilst I was at BIMM, I also helped out with the press team at 2000Trees Festival, after my lecturer Andy Rea found out about my PR internship. This year I just worked my third 2000Trees, which I loved. Onsite festival PR is very different to my day job, but it’s incredibly fun and feels like a BIMM reunion each summer!
Do you have any advice to anyone interested in a similar career?
Get as much experience as you can as early as you can. University is the perfect time for this, as you have the safety net of a student loan, and a massive support group of peers and tutors – my tutors and career coordinator at BIMM were so brilliant to me. After you graduate, it doesn’t feel quite the same and the unpaid internships don’t seem quite as appealing… so make the most of being a student!
Know what you like, and get in-depth about it. If you like a label, be able to explain why, know that label inside out. If there’s a PR campaign you thought was cool, know your reasons and be able to discuss it. You don’t have to know everything about PR to start working in it, but you need to show you’ve got the ability to learn.
Also read music magazines, and get to know the writers you’ll be pitching to! Follow their social media, and start interacting with them. Doing a bit of journalism wouldn’t hurt either – chances are you’ll be writing press releases and pitches regularly, so it’s good to have some good writing experience under your belt. Lastly, be prepared for most of your friends and family to not really understand what you do for a job… haha!