Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name is Natalie Trice, and I’m a coffee-drinking, magazine-reading, media-loving, retro publicist who’s worked in the PR business for the past 25 years. As well as being the founder of Devon Trice Public Relations, I am also an ICF-accredited career and life coach and the author of three books. I live in Devon by the sea, so when I am not working or writing my first novel, you’ll find me on the beach or in the water with my family and two dogs.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
I think it’s pretty standard for many people that no two days are ever the same, but in the fast-paced world of PR, that is true. While every day starts with coffee and checking my emails, I might do this at a local coffee shop, the gym, or my office, and how it goes from there depends on client needs and the news agenda. PR is a very fluid process, and while we put plans and strategies in place if a story hits or a celebrity kicks off a new trend, I know that the press will be looking for comment and that’s where I step in and my day changes. Working for myself means I have to be pretty good at putting boundaries and processes in place otherwise it’s a slippery slope toward burnout. This can be hard earlier on in your career, but I wish it was something I had started to do earlier.
What’s great about what you do?
I love the variety my work brings me, and I think that’s what keeps me motivated and satisfied. As well as having project and retained PR clients, I also coach PR and comms professionals and teach business owners to do their own PR. While it can feel relentless at times, the speed of the PR world is pretty addictive, and no sooner than one result comes in, I am looking for the next win. As the author of three books, I also enjoy the writing element of PR, be that a client press release, award entry, expert comments, or blog content. I tend to get bored quite quickly, so having a real mix of work and a range of challenges keeps me on my toes.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
In PR, there are no guarantees – that’s called advertising. We can put in all the leg work, send endless emails to contacts and ensure images and products are in the right hands, but until you see that piece of coverage in print or go live, you just don’t know if it’s going to land. I know after 25 years that, this can happen; the unfortunate passing of The Queen is a good example, but telling clients can be challenging. I think it’s critical to set expectations from the start so that clients know that this can happen, but at the same time, coverage is the icing on the PR cake. We do a lot of work to build relationships, spot opportunities, and be a go-to for the media, which counts for a lot in the long run. I have mentioned boundaries, but making sure those are in place is key, but if you see a great opportunity on Twitter at 9 pm, it’s hard not to send a DM.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
As a bit of a PR veteran, that’s a hard one, as I have had many stand-out moments. From Cartoon Network PR parties across Europe and being a guest lecturer at Leeds Uni to winning awards and publishing three books, it’s been a blast. Earlier this year, I was named one of the 45 Women in PR by Women in PR, which was amazing. I think that there is the perception that PR is a career for young people. While having that raw talent and energy is fantastic, when you’ve worked in the industry for a long time, I like to think we bring experience and wisdom to the table. I enjoy nurturing new talent and bringing forward the stars of the future.
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I have two sons, and one was born with a complex medical issue which meant years of hospital appointments and operations for him. This was a tough time and meant that I had to sideline my career as well as watch my child go through pain and trauma. You do anything for your kids as a mum, and he is now a teenager, and we have an incredible bond. I realised that those years might have been tough on many levels, but they showed me what a real challenge looks like so I can take a last-minute press release or cross-client in my stride.
What was your career path to this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I did an art history degree after sixth form and still needed to decide what I wanted to do. I fell into PR after spending a year teaching English in Tokyo, following an extra year in Leeds, where I had studied and needed a job. They needed a receptionist, and while I only did that for a week before snagging an assistant role, the rest is history. Today I specialise in working with well-being brands and mental health experts, but earlier this yes, I did a project for the Royal College of Art, so my degree came into play, even if in only a small, tenuous way.
How has your background, upbringing, and education impacted your artistic career?
I don’t think so. I have a very entrepreneurial spirit, and if you mix that with a passion for magazines, and drive to get clients seen in all the right places, and a love of writing, that’s what led me to do what I do.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Please believe in yourself, enjoy being young, and know you’ve got this! When I was 16 and studying for my A levels at school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was always so desperate to fit in and be one of the cool kids – I wasn’t and never have been, but that’s OK. The reality is, we are all totally unique and have our own exceptional skills and ideas to offer the world, and even though you might not know 100% what those are right now, in time, you will. Believe in you, and the rest will follow.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Think about how much you want to be in PR. It’s a tough gig sometimes, and there is a lot of competition for jobs, especially at entry level. I don’t think you need a PR degree to get a job, but you need enthusiasm, a genuine interest in the media, tenacity, and spirit. Do your research, read magazines, look at websites, listen to a podcast and soak up the news agenda, as well as know what’s trending in the area of PR you want to work in, be that business, finance, tech, or health.
Where can people find you and your work online?