The most recent FIA Girls on Track webinar was a tour de force of professional motorsport communicators. Among them were racing driver and broadcaster Naomi Schiff, W Series press officer Ann Bradshaw and motorsport media and comms specialist Fiona Miller, as well as SQN’s very own Meg Tidbury.
Meg has been supporting our clients at racetracks around the world, the culmination of years of hard work and determination to break into the motorsport industry. We caught up with Meg after the webinar to hear her views – and get some top tips for future media stars.
This time last year I was watching webinars and going to networking events trying to learn how I could break into the motorsport industry. I’d been a member of Girls on Track UK since September 2020 where I could surround myself by women and girls who all have one common interest bringing us together: motorsport. I was desperate to get experience as it had become my dream to work in my favourite sport.
That’s why it was such a pleasure to be asked to join the panel in the latest Girls on Track UK webinar to discuss all things related to being a press officer in motorsport. I was one of four panellists, all of whom are incredible women in the industry; racing driver and broadcaster Naomi Schiff, W Series press officer Ann Bradshaw and motorsport media and comms specialist Fiona Miller. They are women who I have aspired to be like in my career, so it was an absolute honour speaking with them.
The webinar covered all aspects of being a press officer, from how to get in the role, what the day-to-day looks like as well as things like our best moments. The participants sent in some great questions for us to answer, and it felt so rewarding being able to share our experiences with them all. I for one found it extremely interesting hearing from the other panellists who have been in the industry longer than I have and their opinions and experiences. I learnt a lesson or two that I’ll be keeping in mind looking ahead to the future!
If you couldn’t watch the webinar, check out the quick-fire Q&A below which covers some of the questions we were asked, or you can rewatch it back on the Motorsport UK YouTube channel.
How did you kickstart your career?
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left university, I had done my Undergraduate degree in Media and then my Master’s degree in Public Relations and Multimedia Communications. I knew I had the basic skills to do a wide range of roles in the communications industry, but it was just finding the right role. I initially went into brand marketing for a very well-known chocolate brand and then into marketing for a beauty company but knew these weren’t right for me. When I joined SQN in October 2021, I knew they had some clients within motorsport but didn’t really expect anything. I was asked if I wanted to support our client Hyundai Motorsport as their on-site press officer for their Customer Racing team in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup – it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
What skills do you need to be a press officer?
Communication is key, you need to speak to a variety of people in this role and have to work out what tone is best for each group. Time management is also an important one as you need to be able to get to activities and get your drivers to interviews on time, as well as having your press releases written and ready to go for their scheduled time.
What is your day-to-day like?
As I work for an agency, my day-to-day looks very different to that of someone who works for a team full time. I have other clients that I work with, but when it comes to a race week there is a lot of preparation to get done in the lead-up. No two days are the same, which is the thing that I love so much about my job, it’s never boring!
What skills have you gained?
My confidence has grown massively. I was quite shy before starting out in my role and wouldn’t really put myself out there. But I think since I became a press officer and have had to take on more responsibility, I am more comfortable in situations and don’t feel like I need to hide behind my shyness.
What is a key tip for getting into the motorsport industry?
Networking is your best friend! Go to events, go to the tracks, and get speaking to people. You never know when you might need a contact from the industry or who they know in their wider network. I’ve grown to know that motorsport is a small, very well-connected community and everyone seems to know everyone. So definitely best to put yourself out there.