A day in the life of a PR intern

With so many horror stories surrounding internships in 2017, it’s understandable that both of us were not sure exactly what to expect when we accidentally stepped into the same lift on the way to our first day at Octopus Group. However, it quickly became apparent that there was nothing to worry about, as we have both been completely immersed in the fulfilling and friendly family life at Octopus after less than two weeks of being part of the agency. It speaks volumes on how much we have been involved so far that our day-to-day responsibilities are actually quite varied, despite the fact we have the same job title as PR and Marketing Interns. As a result, a chronological timeline of what a typical day as an intern consists of is impossible to do. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of similarities and differences that have stood out to us in these first few days.

Similarities

Commute: In being both History graduates (which meant three years of lazy lie-ins) and currently living around an hour away from London, we have a shared experience/agony in having to deal with the uncomfortably early commute to the Octopus offices. Waking up at 6am, battling for a seat on the train and then having to do it all again in the evening before collapsing from exhaustion has been a baptism of fire that we’re still getting used to. At the very least, it means you’re fresh and awake to go straight into the action when we do eventually arrive.

Team dynamic: Whilst we are only two weeks into our time at Octopus as interns, it has to be said that we already feel as though we are valued members of our respective teams – which is certainly not the case for every internship. Our first week was predominantly filled with induction-based tasks which saw us darting around the office for sessions with members of different teams, giving us a great chance to get to know everyone better. Since then though, we’ve been put straight to work in our pods, helping our teams to meet the needs of the clients in any way we can. Even at this early stage, we’ve been entrusted with important work and we already feel like fully-fledged members of the team.  Luckily for us though, everyone has been incredibly supportive and happy to offer a helping hand when needed – so you feel challenged but never out of your depth.

Social life: The social aspect at Octopus is probably what makes this PR internship different to any other one. A mere number of minutes had passed before we had been added to the various group chats and found ourselves inundated with GIFs. In addition to that, it didn’t take us long to discover the table tennis room – we should be competing in Octopong (the annual ping pong tournament) any day now. Perhaps the most exciting part of the week is the aptly named ‘Beer O’clock’, which is exactly what it sounds like. Come half three on a Friday, a bell is rung and everyone rushes to the kitchen to grab a drink. It’s a nice way to kick off the weekend and it can spill over to drinks at the pub over the road, too! The agency is made up of really friendly and laid-back people and that’s been a big help for us in terms of settling in.

Differences

Clients: I suppose the biggest difference in what the two of us do on a day-to-day basis would be the clients that we work for. Our respective teams tend to the needs of different clients, and whilst they all fall under the larger umbrella of B2B Tech, our clients work in different areas. For example, Rob’s clients mostly work in professional services, fraud and banking. James, on the other hand, has a mix of clients, spanning tech consultancy, CMS hosting, and video conferencing. The big task at hand early on is familiarising yourself with the work of these clients and getting to grips with the jargon as quickly as possible. This is no small feat, but our teams have made sure that we have been gradually introduced to them, learning as we get more exposure to each client. One of the main challenges with working with multiple clients is being able to get a sense of writing in their voice and meeting the needs that are specific to them, but that comes with time. Our job is to jump from client to client as seamlessly as possible over the course of the day, helping the team to service them the best we can.

Work: We each went into the internship with different levels of experience in various fields, so our expectations of what our responsibilities would be were significantly different. That being said, neither of us could have predicted the sheer variety of tasks on offer, and the cliché of ‘no one day is the same’ is certainly true for our first two weeks as interns. Because of the nature of both our teams and the clients they are responsible for, James has had more of a focus on social media aspects, while Rob has done more traditional PR work so far. However, we have both tackled blogs, bylines and pitches, and even the occasional mass posting of 111 advent calendars for a direct marketing task. As a learning experience, the assortment of duties has made the first few weeks invaluable.

So, what have we learnt since starting our PR internship at Octopus? We know that despite having the same job title, whilst working in the same office, and starting on the same day – our roles can be very different from one another! PR is fast-paced and multi-dimensional, and while that might seem intimidating, that’s actually part of its charm. They say variety is the spice of life, and that epitomises how fulfilling and rewarding the first few weeks of the internship have been. One constant that we can both agree on though, is that it’s been an incredibly dynamic experience in a friendly and welcoming environment, and we look forward to becoming an even greater part of the team in the coming weeks.