The Secret Life of a PR Intern
By: Ashton Meisner
For a college student, an internship can sound intimidating, time-consuming and basically like giving away free labor. While that might sound scary, being an intern can be really helpful to network in your preferred field, learn important tricks of the trade and get in the direction that is best for your career. However, nothing worthwhile comes easy and it’s important to remember to work so hard that your supervisors can’t help but praise you.
No Money, No Problem
An internship is a crucial time to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Although you might not be making those big bucks just yet, you shouldn’t be slacking on your share of work. Your supervisors could be watching you as a potential, future employee or you might need their help with a good letter of recommendation down the road. Make your time spent at your internship worthwhile. If you’re constantly on your Facebook page or working on your favorite Pinterest board, your boss might not be thinking you’d fit the mold as a future PAID employee.
Happy Little Worker Bee
Let’s face it, no one wants to be around a “Negative Nancy” all day. True, being assigned a big task like working with a client’s entire media list might not sound like the best time of your life but it has to be done! Take on the challenge and make it a time to show your boss your work ethic. Complainers and negative people usually aren’t tolerated and are totally replaceable. Remind your supervisor why they hired you in the first place.
I Get By With a Little Help From My Co-workers
If you get the opportunity, get to know who you’re working with. You might find out one of your co-workers is originally from your hometown or another works at your favorite restaurant. It’s amazing how little connections like these can end up being big networking tools later on or even friendships outside of work. Also, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a supervisor that wants to get to know you. Talk to that person, learn from him/her and ask questions. This could really be beneficial to your learning experience and it could make it a little more enjoyable.
It’s All In The Fine Print
Ever heard the saying, “The little things in life end up being the big things”? This is true at work too. If your supervisor assigns a task, take notes, remember exactly how he/she wants the project completed and pay attention to details. They will be impressed by your effort to do exactly what they had asked. This will establish trust and make you feel more comfortable in the workplace. Give it 110%.
It’s Not Personal
When getting corrected at your internship, it can be hard to not take offense and take the corrections personally. As an intern you must be thick-skinned and realize your supervisors aren’t trying to attack you, they want to help you improve. Focus on what is being asked of you and do your best until you get it right.
Thanksgiving Isn’t Just a Holiday
At the end of your time with your internship, it is crucial to be thankful and make sure your supervisors are aware of it. Every internship you encounter could open doors to new jobs, connections and future opportunities. Do something special for your supervisors to let them know what a pleasure it was learning under them and how thankful you are for their patience, efforts and knowledge. Who knows, maybe if you’re lucky you could score yourself a future job with that company.
12 things to expect from a PR firm
By Beth Monaghan | Posted: January 25, 2013
How should I choose a PR firm?
Each time someone asks me this, dozens of answers flutter to the forefront of my mind, but I always choose two fairly tangible criteria: fit and experience.
On the surface, it can be easy for all agencies to sound similar, which makes fit and experience crucial. You need an agency that understands your audience and your market, and the reporters you need to reach. Fit is equally important. You’ll be working closely with the PR agency every single day (and many evenings), so you’ll need to be able to work well with the assigned account team.
However, fit and experience alone will not make your agency successful on your behalf. Here are some important qualities you should expect form an agency that is committed to your success. You need an agency that:
1. Owns the process. You want an agency that will never say, “Well, we sent you the guidelines for the Forbes contributed article three months ago and never heard back.” Your agency should be a professional nagger—they should never let you be the reason for a missed deadline.
2. Pushes back. You are hiring a PR firm for its expertise, so find one that provides firm recommendations. If your account team is constantly nodding their heads and yessing you, there is a problem. The success of your PR program requires a team leader who can adamantly say no in the face of tough scrutiny when something just won’t work.
3. Knows when to give in. There are times when other company goals, such as sales campaigns, take priority over PR (for example, when a sales team is under the gun to meet quarterly goals and needs to push out a direct email campaign in advance of the press release). Your PR firm should tell you the optimal plan for getting great media coverage, but should also accept it when PR is not at the top of the list.
4. Makes it happen. Only clients should have the luxury of asking big questions without offering solutions, such as, “How can we maximize our attendance at an upcoming trade show?” Good PR firms know that the right response is a list of viable options, not more questions.
5. Surprises you with unexpected and creative ideas. Your PR firm should march to the beat of the PR plan, but they should also bring you unexpected and creative ideas. This demonstrates that they are paying active attention. Only intellectually hungry people will tie the right pieces together to make you relevant in a way that matters to the press.
6. Owns mistakes. If your agency needs to be right all of the time, it’s a problem. You need an agency that abides by the rules of crisis PR (even when the crisis is a very small one): tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. This takes confidence and humility, but it is the sign of a great communicator.
7. Hustles. Look for an agency that is pushing you, not the other way around.
8. Writes well. Content marketing has changed PR forever. Adequate press release writing skills are no longer enough. You need an agency that can sift through mountains of information, zero in on the interesting angle, and ghost author an article for your spokesperson. Ask for samples, and look at the agency’s blog.
9. Listens intently. PR people are renowned great talkers. We need to be. However, we need to know how to listen, too. You need a PR agency full of the kind of analytical and open minds that can scan the conversation for points of interest, drive the discussion toward them and relate them to your broader industry.
10. Empathizes. You need a PR agency team that can imagine what it’s like to be you. What pressures do you face internally, from your board, from competitors, others? Is PR central to your role or tangential? Coincidentally, this skill also makes PR people great at media relations—we must imagine what it’s like to be each reporter if we have a prayer of selling a story.
11. Navigates options and contingencies like an attorney. There are many decisions we must make along the winding route between the pitch and the placement. You need an agency that understands the media landscape—which outlets (and journalists) compete, which reporters require exclusives, which ones care about embargoes, and which angles will compel coverage.
Sifting through these and responding appropriately when an embargo is broken or an exclusive falls through tests the skills of the best PR professionals, so make sure you have a team that can bend gracefully when a critical relationship is at stake, and hold firm when your company goals require it.
12. Thick skin. PR people sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.
These are the requisite traits for success in social media. It’s not as easy as it looks. You must be:
Social media is the fastest-changing industry ever. You have to religiously monitor the environment and adapt quickly to change.
You have to be committed to reading constantly about social media and measurement, and searching aggressively for the latest trends and best practices.
There is little to no off time in social media. It happens 24×7, so you have to be ready to respond at any time. If someone posts something negative on your Twitter stream and you don’t respond for 24 hours, good luck finding another job in social media.
Social media enthusiasts are quick and clever. You need to be, too, or you will come off looking like your grandma or, worse, like a corporate mouthpiece.
Social media doesn’t exist in a universe by itself. It’s part of a larger, strategic marketing mix. You must see and understand the overall goals, strategies, and objectives before you can implement social media tactics.
6. Meticulously organized
You have to write, post, monitor, respond and measure for countless social media channels. You have to be organized, but not such a perfectionist that you can’t move quickly, and it’s so important to have great monitoring systems in place.
Some of the most successful social media folks are funny, lighthearted and don’t takes themselves too seriously. Hello, “NOT COOL, COOKIE!”
Yep, that’s right. We don’t just sit around and tweet all day. We have to measure our results just like anyone else. Having science and math skills is a big plus.
Though it’s important to be an expert in this category, it’s not good to be too focused on one skill. To truly be a valuable contributor, you need to understand the big picture of marketing.
Yeah, that’s right, I said it: You need to be social to work in social media. Get out from behind the computer and have a few face-to-face conversations. Enjoy the life that you’re posting about.
Do you have another trait that you’d add to this list?
And social media continues to benefit companies that use it as part an integrated marketing campaign.
All of that and more is represented in this snapshot of social media statistics from 2012 (curiously absent is mention of Pinterest):
Catherine Ivy discusses what motivated her to create The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and why it is so close to her heart on “The Morning Scramble,” on AZTV in Phoenix.
Absolutely not! This is one of the biggest problems with social media, putting up with all of the nonsense that people insist on sharing, and not just on Twitter.
Another issue besides inane subject matter is frequency. We don’t need updates multiple times in an hour or even every hour or several times daily. Only when there is something either very interesting, entertaining or of value to share. Otherwise, I, for one, am totally tuning you out and then removing you from my world.
Some of us sensitive souls might feel bad “unfriending” or “unfollowing” annoying people on social media, but I look at it like this: Isn’t it a little like staying in an abusive relationship if yoI don’t? Verbally abusive, I mean.
Relationships are a privilege and a gift and if another person can’t be respectful of that, they don’t deserve to have one with you.