think outside the classroom – PR tips from a summer intern
August 12, 2013
→Now that we’re almost halfway through August, it’s official: the end of summer is near. During the next couple of weeks, I’ll be wrapping up my internship with the warden ettinger group and prepping to return to Penn State. It’s hard to believe how quickly the months passed; it seems like just yesterday I was returning from studying abroad in Italy, eager and excited to begin working with Dawn and Kim. What can I say… time flies when you’re having (PR & social media) fun.
After spending some time reflecting on my internship experience, I thought I’d share the 10 Things I’ve learned about PR:
1. Research is a vital component of public relations.
Whether it’s researching a client, particular topic, or the general opinion of the public, it’s an extremely important component and skill to have when working in public relations.
2. You must be able to write informally.
You must know how to write in a witty, entertaining manner that will grab the audience in addition to being able to write formally. It’s not all press releases and fact sheets in the field of PR.
3. Networking is a skill to be mastered.
Every person you meet is a potential future contact.
4. The work is never done.
There is always, always something that needs to be done. Whether it’s tweeting, posting or researching, the work never ends.
5. Social media is a great resource.
Don’t get me wrong, I learn in every single communications class that social media is essential, but I never knew just how many social media outlets there were and how easy it can be to reach a wide variety of people.
6. Communication is a vital component of PR.
Constant and consistent communication makes a big difference in the success of a company—you must communicate to know what the client wants/needs, and what your boss wants. Communication, in all forms, is crucial for success.
7. The media is dynamic and constantly changing—you have to keep up!
In yesterday’s world, people got their information from the T.V or newspapers. In today’s world, social media is one of the most effective promotional pathways. Five years from now it could be something entirely different, and it is important to be on top of it to stay relevant.
8. Time management is key.
Because of the heavy workload that comes with a job in PR, I realized, through a certain amount of trial and error, managing my time and tasks is integral.
9. Organization is also key.
I had papers, documents, emails, etc. that I needed to keep track of, which required me to improve my existing organizational skills. Without organization, I would have gone crazy trying to find everything I needed.
10. In the field of PR, I know I’ll never be bored.
Not only will there always be something to do, but also I know I’ll always be learning. Whether conducting research for a new project, helping with a client issue or interacting with colleagues, clients, journalists, consumers, etc., you become smarter and more aware of the world every day.
Looking back on the last few months, I’d definitely recommend an internship to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in PR. While I’ve certainly learned a great deal about public relations and social media from my communications classes at PSU, diving straight into the world of PR has allowed me to have a firsthand experience of the “real deal”. And in working with a smaller-sized firm like TWE, there was no shortage of industry practices to learn, client tasks to complete, helpful tips to take note of—or excitement.
Thanks to all who have been a part of my internship journey. It’s been a blast!