Louise Hill, head of content at Quill PR, discusses switching from journalism to a content-focused PR role, the importance of content to a business and the big issues facing the financial sector.
You’ve just moved from journalism into a PR/content role, why did you make the move and what do you expect the main differences to be?
A move into PR had always been in the back of my mind as something I’d consider at some point in the future, but when the opportunity came up at Quill PR I knew it was too good a chance to let pass by. I was ready for a change and wanted to shake things up a bit after several years as a reporter.
The main difference so far has been switching my mindset from one of a curious journalist who challenges and pursues stories to a more strategic way of thinking, solving problems and working out how to ‘sell’ a concept or idea. I’m enjoying the challenge!
What attracted you to work for Quill PR?
I worked with Quill a lot during my time as a financial journalist and got to know the team pretty well, so I knew they were a friendly group. I also liked their way of working, they are not overtly pushy and place great value on maintaining good relationships with journalists and staying loyal to clients.
They are genuine, totally professional and a lot of fun, nothing like the so-called ‘dark side’ that journalists are warned about!
What sort of financial content will you be producing for the agency and its clients?
It all comes down to what a client needs and wants, we can often help with a range of projects, but the majority of the work involves producing news articles and commentary pieces, blogs, newsletters, speeches and web content as well as repurposing existing client content.
Planning out a strategy for content is also a big part of the role, it is so important to keep on top of producing quality content and distributing it, as it can so often drop to the bottom of the to-do list once the demands of a client’s day job takes over.
How big is the demand for content from clients?
There is a surprising amount of demand out there. Quill PR is often seen as something of a substitute in-house PR team for many of its clients, so introducing support for content seems a no-brainer.
With growing demands on company time, particularly in financial services, I think having the support there to help generate new ideas and take on some of the workload is really valued – the reaction from clients so far has been overwhelmingly positive, combined with a bit of relief at having an extra pair of hands to help!
What are the big issues currently facing the financial sector?
Regulation continues to be a major issue for the sector and with a whole raft of changes introduced this year for companies to grapple with, it increases demands on time as well as costs. At a time when there is a lot of pressure on asset managers to reduce fees and prove value for money, this is a double-headache for some.
Trust and transparency is also a big issue. It is a major hangover from the global financial crisis a decade ago and firms need to be able to rebuild that trust and hold onto it, otherwise clients could simply take their business elsewhere.
Finally, you’ve worked in local, trade and national journalism, which was your favourite discipline and why?
I will always have a soft spot for local news, it’s where I started out as a 16-year-old on work experience and where I was given a foot in the door after completing my journalism training.
I loved my time as a local reporter, you get a chance to see things and speak to people you never would get a chance to otherwise. The sector faces some huge challenges though and I really believe it is vital local news outlets are protected and supported.
Saying all of that, my time in the trade press taught me so much about the world of finance and investment and led to my role here at Quill PR, so it deserves a big mention too!