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How I Became: Jake Holyoak, Head of Digital PR, Niche Website Builders

Jake Holyoak

Jake Holyoak is head of digital PR at Niche Website Builders.

Based in Sunderland, he initially started out as a football apprentice before deciding to do an IT/marketing apprenticeship at 19.

From there, he’s worked at a number of agencies across the North East including Mediaworks, and now heads up a new digital PR offering at Niche Website Builders.

He shared his career journey, tips and advice. 


How did you first get into your industry?

It came after a football career, I had a passion for marketing and began in an apprenticeship and then worked for a small Sunderland agency for three years.

What do you love about your job?

The creativity and being able to see real client results from our work. It’s also amazing to get small brands in some of the worlds biggest news publications.

Who – or what – has inspired you in your career?

Always been a big fan of Steven Bartlett’s progression. Love seeing anyone work their way from the ground up, growing teams and service lines. My passion has always been to make sure my team grow and develop within their roles, a win for me is seeing someone who I’ve nurtured and dedicated a lot of my time to, grow and move onto bigger and better opportunities within the industry.

What are the biggest challenges about your job?

Keeping up the level of creativity. Sometimes working on the same clients for a prolonged period can mean ideas are hard to come by, that’s why we’re big on team ethos, so if I struggle for ideas, my team won’t!

What skills have been the most crucial to you succeeding in your career so far?

Perseverance and pushing boundaries. When something you really believe in doesn’t work at first, persevere and tweak the concept. Don’t give up at the first hurdle…

What was your first salary and what could someone getting into the industry expect to earn nowadays?

My first apprentice wage in marketing was something like £4 an hour!! Now, entry level positions are around the 18-22k mark dependent on any pre experience, but I have noticed a lot more being offered to senior roles now compared to what they were maybe five years ago which is brilliant for those wanting to start a career in digital PR.

What education or training would be most useful for someone looking to follow your career path?

In my role, we work a lot with journalists and need to create ideas that land. So consider sitting on the other side and maybe do a journalism internship to see the type of stories that work and get approved, this way you’ve already got one foot in the door when pitching PR campaigns.

What advice would you have for someone looking to follow your path?

My path is a bit of a wild one, not sure how many ex footballers end up as digital PR managers but probably the best part of working within digital marketing IS the ability to move around and develop new skills. If you’re working in a law firm I’m not sure you get that same level of career route flexibility…

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