Written by Sofie Skouras
The PR industry offers a great route into the media world for graduates such as myself. I’m entering my final year at university and having interned at several companies, it is PR that really captured my imagination. Not just because it provides the opportunity to interact with the media, but because each day is diverse and exciting.
When I first interned at Aspectus PR in April this year, I was greeted with a warm welcome by the team and immediately felt at home. The friendly, hard-working and fast-paced atmosphere in the office was contagious, so I was thrilled to be asked to return over the summer period.
Unlike some other professions where the tasks set for the intern involve photocopying, making tea, and running around London doing menial tasks, my role has taken in anything from compiling press lists, coverage reports and supporting social media campaigns, to writing blog posts, and liaising directly with clients and journalists.
As a result, I believe I have developed a much greater awareness of the commercial environment, my communication and business skills have increased significantly, and I have become much more confident.
So for anyone else considering an internship, or a career in PR, here are six lessons that I have learnt during my time at Aspectus:
- Social media is crucial – following relevant accounts, being regularly active and – most importantly – engaging with your audience. The latter is something I learnt during my Twitter outreach project. As a result of simply tweeting companies and individuals, I set up new business meetings.
- ‘To-do’ lists are your friend – the world of PR is incredibly fast-paced and with lots of tasks keeping you busy, I found to-do lists essential. They allow you to prioritise tasks and time-manage more effectively, which is something that I will continue doing when I return to university.
- Perseverance pays off – this is something I learnt during my ‘benchmarking opinions’ project for one of Aspectus’ clients. I was required to call individuals and ask them their opinions of the client after a PR campaign; their answers were then used to gauge the campaign’s effectiveness. Getting hold of highly mobile professionals was extremely challenging and required several attempts. In the end however, my perseverance paid off.
- Calling journalists is not ‘dead’ – being a part of ‘generation Z’, I have grown up in a world where we communicate via texting, emails, social media and so on. I am part of the generation who supposedly ‘only knows how to communicate through a screen’. So seeing my co-workers simply pick up the phone to pitch a story to a journalist was refreshing and gave a personal touch.
- Keep a work diary – maintaining a work journal is so beneficial; jotting down what you have done is both handy and satisfying. It allows you to keep track of what you have accomplished and build your portfolio. In your portfolio, you can neatly organise the tasks you completed, what strategies and ideas you created, some writing samples and so on. It can be easy to forget things when you’re very busy so taking a quick minute to jot them down will help you in the long run.
- The importance of teamwork – in a PR agency, you are never working alone. Being a team player is imperative in PR because, ultimately, everyone is trying to achieve the same goal. Participating in group brainstorms, meetings, conference calls and so forth really illuminated the benefits of working collaboratively.
I have greatly enjoyed my time at Aspectus and have enjoyed working alongside such a brilliant and supportive team. I would like to thank everyone at Aspectus and I hope to see everyone again very soon.