A day in the life of a PR intern at an agency
The days of summer internship season are upon us and with them are the obligatory posts describing the days in the life of an intern. I thought I’d add mine to the pile in the hope of giving anyone considering an internship in PR an idea of what to expect!
As anyone working in an agency will know, there is a lot of juggling going on to make sure clients always feel like a team’s number one priority. Interns often take on urgent work to help out other teams, as well as doing some regular tasks for their own teams.
So rather than taking you through a linear narrative of some made up “average” day (as if they exist!), I thought I’d go through the tasks that I tend to do on a daily basis, and give you a rundown of the major aspects of the job.
Looking for newsjacking opportunities is my first job of the day. It involves scanning the news for key words relating to our clients’ businesses. We then compile a short synopsis for each of the relevant articles we find and email it to our clients. You get bonus points for finding a really relevant story that your client could offer some comment to the media on.
A lot of time is spent on blogs. One of the key ways to raise a company’s profile is to make sure they produce a lot of interesting and readable content.
We write blogs for clients’ websites, as well as blogs under their by-lines to be placed in national and trade media. If you love writing (which I do) then it’s one of the most interesting aspects of the job, because every blog you write means you learn a little bit more about the client and their industry.
I’d say the main thing to keep in mind when writing is stick to the company’s tone of voice, there’s nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of time and effort on a post only to have it fall at the first hurdle because it doesn’t fit it with a client’s style.
A media sell-in is the process of trying to place your client’s press release, reactive comment, or blog in a publication. It includes ringing up journalists from national and trade publications and pitching them the content. The important thing to remember is to do your research on the publication and the journalist you’re approaching, so you don’t end up pitching, say, a heavily scientific and statistics-based case study to someone that writes about beauty products at Marie Claire, for example.
Ultimately, sounding interested in what you’re talking about, being polite, and pitching the right person goes a long way to making media sell-ins successful.
The social media work we do for our clients ranges from a few tweets in an email every day to managing all of a client’s social media accounts, so the amount of time spent on this for each client varies.
Personally I like scheduling social media posts because it’s a straightforward task that also makes you feel really organised – not exactly a familiar feeling when it seems like you have a billion things to do every day!
Calls with clients to check in on the work you’ve both been doing usually happen on a weekly or fortnightly basis, and meetings are generally less frequent than that. I always enjoy these sessions as it’s a great opportunity to use your client contact as a sounding board for ideas and opportunities you’ve thought of, as well as a way to hear about what they’ve been doing in more detail – including anything you can use in content you’re drafting for them.
They’re also a much needed excuse to get away from the computer screen every now and then, which is necessary for your sanity!
An agency internship teaches you a lot about PR, marketing and how the two complement one another, and you also learn about your clients’ areas of expertise too. It’s a given that your day will be a whirlwind of activity, so go in ready to learn and give it your all – you’ll get as much out of an internship as you give (which, again, should be everything!).