You might be considering an internship at a PR agency partway through your degree, or like myself, once you have graduated, writes Sammy Nadori, Junior Account Executive.
Having recently completed an MSc in Social and Public Communication at the LSE, it was time to extend my experience, expand my professional network and most importantly, gain insight into the food, drink, hospitality, leisure and retailing sectors.
Through being fortunate enough to work within such an enthusiastic and forward-looking team, I was instantly made to feel welcome and was introduced to a wide selection of high profile clients: The expectations and objectives of FSC and its clients were made clear from the start, which gave me vital context of the services offered and how the agency-client partnership functions.
From the word go, it was immediately clear that the level of multitasking needed to manage my daily routine would challenge any mother: Write a press release. CHECK. Amend in line with feedback. CHECK. Undertake a quick piece of research. CHECK. Update a features list. CHECK. Proof-read document pre-publication. CHECK. Undertake coverage sweep. CHECK. What about drafting and scheduling those tweets? And don’t forget when it’s my turn to make coffee for the team! Which task should come first? Will it be a problem if I think about how to write this over-night? Very clearly, success in this fast-paced, busy media environment won’t happen without regular, careful prioritisation and planning. Fine, if like myself you enjoy constant engagement and stimulus, but anyone thinking of joining the PR industry needs to be a practical thinker and know how to exude a sense of calm and control at all times.
Successful PR relies on appropriate communication. How should I adapt my formal university style, approach and tone to converse with consumer and trade media? Through my time at FSC, I found that when targeting consumer press, the message must be relatable and easily accessible to the wider public, so the benefit of the product or service needs to be clear. But more than that, the message needs to purr, to spark interest, enticing the audience to read on. In contrast, trade press is interested in more direct, efficient language that gets straight to the point. The meaning of the message must be absolutely transparent, the position of the product in the market unmistakable. I quickly learnt to adapt and to appreciate the demands of working in different ways to achieve the right outcomes.
Overall and most importantly, unlike previous placements, my internship experience did not solely revolve around collating coverage and updating distribution lists, in fact it was an invaluable opportunity to get to grips with copywriting, seeking feature opportunities, selling in, updating social media, creating mailers and managing events. From being exposed to the various disciplines of PR, I feel as though I’ve developed a clearer understanding of the bigger picture regarding the industry and I now feel ready for a full-time position.
So why choose PR? Could it be the ever-changing nature of the job? Is it because you enjoy staying up-to-date in the media realm? Are you excited at the thought of achieving coverage for your client? It’s probably a multitude of factors, but I will leave you with a quote from FSC’s Associate Director, Tess Pennington that particularly rang true for me: “A brand or service endorsed by a respected journalist or opinion leader has more value than any brand shouting about how great they are on their own.”