We've interviewed Jess Hodkinson, a digital PR freelance consultant with a background in SEO and digital marketing. After Studying PR and Advertising, she accumulated numerous work experiences in content agencies and charities before deciding that more autonomy and more flexibility would be a great way to move forward in her career. And that's how and why she decided to become a PR freelancer and to start Jessica Hodkinson Ltd. In this interview, she explains how she got in this particular path, gives us more details about her background and also delivers her tips to succeed as a self-employed PR consultant.
1. Tell us about you and your professional background
I started off my career working for an SEO agency as a PR and outreach (the trendy name for link builder). I then moved in-house and worked for a designer fashion retailer covering all of their PR, marketing and social. With a desire to go travelling, I then took a three-month sabbatical and explored south-east Asia and Australia. This then led to a job working at a PR agency and one year later, a fully integrated content agency.
2. How did you get into PR and ultimately become a freelancer?
I studied PR and Advertising at university and often carried out work experience with agencies, as well as volunteering at Oxfam in the press team. After 8-9 years in the PR and content world, I decided that I wanted to approach a more flexible way of working and hence why I took the leap and became freelance.
3. What services do you generally provide your clients?
I provide everything from content strategy to creative writing services. My skills are more in the digital world vs traditional PR as I feel things are changing quite rapidly and businesses are also looking at ways of doing things differently.
4. How do you find new clients?
I find a lot of my clients through word of mouth and via contacts from previous companies. However, LinkedIn has become so powerful in terms of referrals and people reaching out for support.
5. What’s the piece of work you’re proudest of?
It’s a really tough question as I’d say that I’m proud of a number of small things rather than one big piece. I would say that changing the mindset of someone very stubborn was my biggest achievement in Sydney. His business is now going from strength to strength because of new ways of working.
6. What has been the biggest challenge in your freelance career so far?
Negotiating a contract that was a pretty big deal to me but also standing firm. It’s very easy to say yes to everything in the early days.
7. What makes you keep doing it? What do you love about what you do?
I’m passionate about people and the way we communicate on this planet. I think the variety and exposure to so many business verticals, really keeps me interested.
8. What are your top tips for aspiring PR consultants?
I would say:
- Don’t give up if you fail first
- Stand up for what you believe and don’t just follow
- Be determined and strong minded
- If you like flexibility then freelance but if you don’t like the feeling of uncertainty then think again about your choices.
9. What average rate do you charge your clients?
It varies based on what the project entails.