Job profile: What’s it like to work in agricultural PR?

If communication is your forte, then keeping farmers and the industry up to date on the latest news about products and services could be an interesting route into agriculture.

It is a creative position that rolls the remits of project manager, journalist and marketer into one.

Farmers Weekly asked agricultural public relations manager Sophie Wilesmith to explain what the job is like.

See also: How experience outside farming improves your agricultural career

Name Sophie Wilesmith

Job title PR and marketing account manager

Company Pinstone Communications

Age 30

Sum up your job in a sentence or two

Pinstone Communications is an agricultural PR and marketing communications agency, working for agri-businesses with products and services for farmers.

It is a really diverse job and can be like being a project manager, a journalist and a marketer rolled into one.

My job is typically making sure growers and producers are updated about the most progressive developments to enable them to make informed decisions.

What sort of things does this involve day-to-day?

One day I could be on a farm interviewing a grower, the next I could be speaking to farming press about a creative idea for an article, managing design work or a digital media campaign, writing an editorial feature, running a press conference or launching a website.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Working with some really interesting people in a constantly evolving industry. It’s the people that I meet and communicate with on a daily basis that make this job great, plus I work with a really dynamic team.

I also really enjoy writing.

What’s the downside?

Often you have to put in the hours to get the best results.

What percentage of your job is office-based?

About 60-70%

What skills and qualifications are essential to do the job?

Good communications, a huge appetite to learn, and versatility.

You’re working with a number of different businesses on a daily basis so you have to be adaptable and a good listener.

For me I’d say creativity is up there – being able to think outside the box and not being afraid of getting it wrong.

A genuine interest in farming is essential.

A degree is good, but experience and a farming background also helps. I had no formal farming qualification before starting and I had to learn a lot very quickly.

What experience did you have before starting?

Previously, I was a marketing manager at a soft fruit farm in Herefordshire. Working for a small or medium-sized business means mucking in and you end up getting involved with many elements in the business, which is great experience.

I have a degree in English literature which helps with writing and communications.

I have also completed a professional marketing qualification with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Other than this, I had no farming/agricultural qualifications or background.

What other careers did you consider?

Horticulturalist, journalist, and teacher.

What tips/advice would you give to someone wanting a similar role?

Throw yourself in the deep end to get as much experience and knowledge as possible.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Always treat people respectfully.

Where would you see yourself in five years’ time?

Directing some really bold PR and marketing campaigns with a passionate team and continuing to do a lot more writing.

Give us an idea of the salary a new starter might expect

Starting salaries are from £18,000-£25,000 depending on experience.

We also qualify for a bonus linked to overall business performance.

Salary potential beyond that rises significantly with experience.

Finish this sentence: A career in agriculture…

… guarantees you will be working with some of the most interesting and pioneering people, in an increasingly diverse industry that plays a critical role in our economy and our society.