My Summer PR Internship: More Than I Expected

admin - 08/31/2015

jrizio-selfieBeing a history major, I was often asked the question, “Well how did you find yourself in the PR world?” This is a question I also asked myself when I chose to become a history major – what type of career could I possibly have aside from one in academics? Yet, I found that studying history has enhanced my ability to think critically, research markets, and to write and edit. What I’ve learned in both my major and my internship this summer is that no matter how innovative your idea is, without the editing and writing skills to formulate it, it will fail. Most of my essays during the school year have been lengthy, with the shortest being five pages to upwards of about 50 pages (next year I embark on my 150 pages thesis), but my internship this summer has greatly enhanced my writing skills. Writing press releases, e-mails, and even tweets have helped me to recognize and cut superfluous sentences and paragraphs academics so often create. For example, while working on the Garden State Cat Expo press release I was able to cut down a 900-word release to 400 words (something I thought would be a lot easier). In addition, I feel I finally understand the importance of editing and writing multiple drafts, and allowing several other eyes to review the writing before it is sent to the client. Too often, I am guilty of writing a first draft, quickly looking it over, and then running to submit it to my professor before the deadline. After my internship I fully grasp the importance of editing and believe that I have become a better editor.

However, my internship this summer was more than just writing and editing. Too often, interns are given an assignment not knowing what it relates to or how it will help a client. This was not my experience here. With the assignments I was given, I was able to actually see results. For example, we were given the task of creating a “shot sheet” and taking photos for Hillside’s GoOrganic Candy Instagram. The photos that we took were featured on their Instagram page and I was able to see the company’s following grow throughout my summer here.

internship-juliaIn addition, we were also given the opportunity to collaborate with client Lakeland Bank’s summer intern and present our ideas to attract more millennials. This included analyzing their social media sites, presenting them with ideas on how to get more involved on college campuses, and suggestions to become a sponsor at more events. It was rewarding to see the clients take the ideas of interns seriously and to see how we were making a real impact on the company’s marketing and public relations strategies.

For my future career, this internship has been an invaluable asset. I now know what it is like to work in a PR environment, and how much an outside PR agency is actually involved in promoting a company. This now seems obvious, but I had not given the matter thought until I experienced it. Most importantly, my internship this summer has solidified and confirmed my decision to go into the public relations/marketing field. My work here has exposed me to various divisions of the PR field, such as hospitals, banks, candy companies, and the non-profit sector.

I also learned the importance of forging personal relationships in the workplace.  With the ubiquity of e-mail, it surprised me that people still actually talk on the phone. I found that while e-mail is a vital tool, nothing beats getting a person on a phone and pitching them a story. Pitching out to various New York media outlets has increased my confidence in speaking and is something I believe most other companies may have not trusted their interns with.

I am so grateful for my experience here and to have had the opportunity to learn and engage with all the employees at SGW and 3E PR.

 *Photo Credit Flipmeme

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