Test Drive My Job::London-Based Digital PR Strategist Ged Carroll

In lieu of a photograph, I snagged this recent video interview of today’s TDMJ subject Ged Carroll. This London-based PR man is the head of digital strategy for the UK office of Ruder Finn Public Relations. In the above interview with Econsultancy, Finn gives us a few social media best practices.  Below in TDMJ, he tells what it’s like to work in the UK and in the digital department of a top global public relations agency.

Name: Ged Carroll, 38

Current City: London, England

Company: Ruder Finn, 40+ people UK and 600+ worldwide. Prior to this he helped found Waggener Edstrom‘s digital office and worked in house at Yahoo!

Job Title: Director, Digital Strategies

Mopwater: What made you get into public relations? What do you like best about the field?  GC: I got into PR through wanting to work in an agency environment following completing a degree in marketing. I had previously worked part-time marketing club nights, DJ’ing and working in the oil industry as a plant process operator.  PR as a career has been good to me; I have managed to travel internationally and meet some interesting people.

Mopwater: What aspects of the industry are you currently most excited about? GC: Probably the most exciting bit about the industry at the present time is the change that it is undergoing, which I think that the recession will accelerate. This change will be structural as marketing communications disciplines mesh together and the opportunities opening up as the Gordian knot of how to measure PR is finally broken!

Mopwater: Describe a typical work day including your typical work hours. GC: There is no typical work day in digital. The other day I went from dealing with lice shampoo to semiconductors in the space of half an hour. My role involves doing web research, conducting online outreach, designing online campaigns, working with internal designers, developers and third parties to build websites, providing advice to teams and clients, running external training programmes and speaking at conferences. Sometimes it can be long hours, but on the up side the firm is pretty flexible and efforts are appreciated.

Mopwater: Describe your office: Do you work from a busy office in the city, do you work mainly from
home/a coffee shop? Do you like working this way? GC: Unlike the US, the media industry in the UK is very much focused around central London, though there are agencies all over the country. London is snared up with traffic and a mass transit system that is bursting to capacity. It generally takes 30 minutes to get anywhere in central London. The office is close to Tottenham Court Road:  the Akihibara of London, so we are surrounded by shop windows full of tempting gadgets. I am fine working in an office, though a break to score my caffiene fix is always welcome! Have Mac and free wi-fi will travel…

Mopwater:What types of clients does your company work with and what services do you provide? What’s a recent project you worked on that delivered results you’re proud of? What was your role in the project? GC: The company works for a wide range of clients on a retainer and a project basis. The key thing that ties our client base together is one of innovation: they are all innovators in their respective fields from education to healthcare, technology and consumer sectors. I recently enjoyed  getting the opportunity to travel to Barcelona and teach interactive marketing to students at the La Salle Business and Engineering School.

Mopwater: What are your favorite things about working at Ruder Finn? GC: We have a wide range of people here, with a variety of perspectives to keep things interesting. The office is in a good location and the variety of accounts I work on ensure that agency life is never routine. I really like the fact that my employer was open enough for me to get a Mac to work on. It makes life much easier from a social media point-of-view.

Mopwater: How many co-workers/employees do you have? How do you best collaborate with your team (standard board room meetings, conference calls, BaseCamp or other project management tool, etc.) GC: There are about 40 people in our office and another 300 in the US and more in Asia that we work with. First of all I would define team to also include clients and collaborative third parties: we use a range of techniques for collaboration – from workflow and project management system Huddle (God knows how PR was done prior to this), email, meeting rooms, conference calls to IM and micromedia like Twitter – it really depends on the person and context of the collaboration.

Mopwater: What do you wish was different at your job? GC: If I wish there was one thing that I could change it would be ability to bank time and store it up as work projects can sometimes crunch up on each other. Maybe Apple will come up with that as a feature soon?

Mopwater: Do you see yourself in this job in 5 years? If not, where do you see yourself? GC: I honestly have no idea because of the degree of change currently happening within the industry. The future remains unwritten.

Mopwater: What else would give someone a good feel for your job? GC: The office blog Dot Comms gives a good reflection of the people I work with. You can follow my days via twitter and my personal blog. I also write a blog for PR Week UK.

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