The world of PR is an exciting one - a place where talented creatives, businesses, influencers and the media intersect. Public Relations has never had a bigger moment in the spotlight with the increased demand surged on from the birth of social media. Instagram, Facebook and blogging has changed the ways in which businesses connect with the public, opening the doors to an entirely new way to gain brand awareness and media coverage.
You can bet your bottom dollar anyone who thrives in PR will be outgoing, friendly, fun and incredibly passionate about people. I found this to be absolutely true when I started working with Hannah Van Otterloo from InsideOut PR. She has been incredibly helpful with my blogging journey, connecting me with brands and increasing my work opportunities. Along the way we have shared some great back and forth emails discussing everything from missing our sisters (Hannah is from Holland and misses her family immensely!), our shared love for Balmoral Beach, our love for Sydney and our passion for business.
I find Hannah's career really interesting and watching her kick some serious career goals over the past 12 months has been incredibly inspiring to witness. I thought I would set up a Q&A with Hannah to get an inside scoop into the world of PR and what makes her love her job so much...
Hannah, tell me a little bit about InsideOut PR?
We are full-service PR and Marketing company based in Sydney. Being a PR and Marketing company means that we assist a range of clients with their overall internal and external communicating and messaging. One minute we are assisting a client with their Facebook page and the next we are sending out products from clients to media to inspire the media to feature the amazing products on their pages. I actually wrote a blog about the real side of PR which can be read here which I think can offer a lot of “real” insights into our industry.
What inspired you to pursue a career in public relations?
It was a combination of different experiences and observations that I had in my teens. I was always a people’s person and I feel in my element when I am creating/making/getting attention. I was intrigued by Kelly Cutrone. I was inspired by the BBC World News Team who I worked alongside in my teens as part of the competition BBC Public Speaking Awards. The wonderful reporter at BBC World Lucy Hockings encouraged me to study Communications and educated me about the “another side” of journalism; public relations. During my degree (completed in the Netherlands) I had the honour of being mentored and educated by a partner at one of Amsterdam’s biggest and oldest PR firms and this confirmed all my expectations of the industry. I am incredibly lucky that at the end of my degree my mentor and the firm took a chance on me and offered me a position. Never looked back since!
What do you love most about your job?
I love how the challenge for every client or brand is different, but they all want the same outcome: publications in media. I enjoy finding ways to get my clients, products or services or story out there in whatever way or form possible and moulding the different angles for media. My biggest pride is looking at clippings from the past 5 years and I love how I can re-call in each instance how the story came about.
Biggest career accomplishment so far?
There are a few “pinch myself - this is what I dreamt of - how is this happening” moments.
For instance, being a team-member for multiple Fashion Week Amsterdam shows with my clients and being on the frontline assisting with designers, talent and guests.
I had the incredible honour of being one half of the PR duo in charge of the Ralph Lauren account in the lead up to their biggest store (opening) in Holland. I lived for that account for weeks – at times acting as a translator between the different agencies and headquarters. I was on constant call with New York and finding the perfect champagne, ribbon colour and creating the grand opening. Every moment I loved and it was one of those accounts that I had to remember PR-queen Kelly Cutrone’s sayings; “if you have to cry go outside”. When that account was finalized I felt like I could do anything. The past year I had the amazing experience of working for Leo Burnett and their campaigns Reword and Fin For A Fin – with international coverage we went on to win a Cannes Lions for our PR work, a Spikes Asia Award and Mumbrella Comms Con Awards!!! (see photo)
Latest big deal was getting my first segment on The Project, Channel 10. And getting to take my best friend and employee with me! (see photo)
What can’t you live without?
LBD and a quick tan from le can does wonders.
Favourite holiday spot?
Don’t make me chose… Ha! I am very indecisive! What’s the LBD of holiday destinations?
I must say, living in Sydney feels like a holiday and I love going to Bondi or the area where I grew up; Pittwater.
At the moment I enjoy returning “home” to Amsterdam and seeing the Netherlands with new eyes. It has a next level feeling of home and I feel very proud of that tiny, strong country. I had my first Bali trip this year, and have decided I must return to Seminyak at some point! I have enjoyed three magical summers in Greece and wish it was closer now that I live in Sydney. If I could teleport somewhere right now I would probably want to go to the Swiss Alps. I have been unable to visit our family home there since moving to Australia and I miss the views and sunlight and smells.
Favourite café/bar in Sydney?
My birthdays are celebrated at Opera Bar every year, standard rule. When the evenings get longer and warmer it is sensational to sit in a postcard and think “I really live in Sydney”. Keeping it local, I love to go to Small Bar in Crow’s Nest and enjoy their Luna Rose and I am always up for a BYO on the sand at Whale Beach.
Ultimate shopping destination?
My sister works in a second-hand store in Leiden called Hartendief or loosely translated heart-thief. My vintage furs, perfect Levi’s denim jacket and best caps come from this store! The other ultimate shopping destination is the closet of my mother, auntie, grandmother, sisters and cousins – we all inspire and share on a day to day basis.
Who/what inspires you?
“It takes a village to raise a child” and I am extremely blessed to have a very strong and loving village surrounding me. The most important people in my world are my biggest inspiration – they have seen me through all the bad and good times and have stuck by me and believed in me. With iPhones my village is in the palm of my hand every day. Lately my biggest supporters have been my biggest inspiration.
Another thing that has occurred through my recent work is making friends easy with people who I “follow” and who inspire me with their social media and whom I then kind of in a way become friends with over e-mail, which is amazing.
Heels or flats?
In Holland heels in Australia flats – I am too tall for Aussie men!
Bags or shoes?
All. Of. The. Bags.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Where do you aim to go with Inside Out PR?
I hope to maintain challenged and happy - I want to be making a change in a small or big way through this agency and my clients and our combined work
Any advice for someone wanting to get into a similar role as you?
Get experience. Do internships. Read about the industry, the changes, read the media and know the media. Try all forms of PR and work hard. And if you have any doubts or worries send me an e-mail.
XXXX Hannah - email@example.com