Project management is a difficult area to work in. Aside from having to co-ordinate, lead and inspire stakeholders both internally and externally, it’s also a role that requires good budget management, quality checking and effective communication. In this interview, we sit down with Mark Fullilove, a Content and Online PR Project Manager from global digital marketing agency Search Laboratory, which has offices in Leeds, London and New York, and clients in the UK, US and across Europe.
What did you study?
I have always had a keen interest in being creative and especially enjoy writing, which led me to do A-Level in English Literature in college. It was at this point I decided to combine my two main passions, sport and writing, leading me to study Sports Journalism and Media at the University of Huddersfield.
My degree enabled me to develop many skills that are useful in my role as Content and Online Project Manager. Being able to identify and develop news stories, understanding different content mediums, and strong writing abilities are all skills I use day-to-day.
How did you get into Project Management?
A former colleague of mine recommended Search Laboratory as an excellent place to work, and I decided to apply as I believed that the SEO was going to be a rapidly growing industry. Needless to say, it’s now a huge industry and is a fundamental part of the marketing mix for any business or online media outlet.
I started off working as an Off-page Executive, which involved creating content, managing campaigns and selling in stories and content to webmasters, bloggers and journalists. From there, I moved into a specialist Media and Online Relations role and progressed to Content and Online PR Project Manager.
What skills are required to be a Project Manager?
There are so many skills needed to be a good Project Manager but great communication, leadership, and being a positive role model is a strong starting point. You’re constantly learning and developing new skills so don’t worry if you’re not confident in all areas to begin with.
Everyone has their own style and managing teams can be a challenge when there are so many different personalities. Being patient and adaptable will help you to motivate your team and get the best out of them - including yourself. Conveying ideas and giving clear briefs and sending the right signals are all vitally important in getting the best out of people too.
Project management does have its challenges, so being able to bounce back and get up from your knock-downs with a positive attitude is also important. It’s about learning from the mistakes you make as much as it is developing and honing the strengths you already possess.
What does your day-to-day role and responsibilities look like?
There isn’t an ‘average’ work day for me – what I do vary depends on the campaigns and clients I’m working on. I manage creative campaigns for my clients, which involves working with our two specialist teams to develop creative concepts and execute them. This includes idea generation sessions, planning and putting together internal documents, making sure tasks are briefed in, as well as pitching the idea to the client. I also look after ongoing reporting, daily client communication and resource management of time for delivery of our projects from the various in-house teams.
Outside of campaign management, I also look after my client’s Content and PR strategy development, ensuring that we’re employing the right tactics and delivering the right approach to ensure we hit KPIs.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a Project Manager?
Project Management is hugely rewarding if you’re someone who likes a challenge so embrace it. Keep a smile on your face, be confident and be efficient in what you do, and push yourself so that you and your team are constantly developing.