The Declassified Intern Survival Guide
Highwire PR’s summer internship program has officially kicked off and the sea of new faces, virtually or otherwise, has led me to reflect on my time with the agency. On my first day, I was focused on making a good impression with my co-workers, taking feverous notes and eager to learn more about agency PR. With the next class of interns finishing up their first few weeks, I want to share the knowledge I’ve gained over the last six months. So, here’s my declassified Highwire PR survival guide.
Communication Happens in Various Formats
Highwire has put in place open channels of communication, like Slack and Bluejeans, to keep teams engaged and connected no matter where they’re located. This helps to foster a great culture as it encourages teams to collaborate in a more meaningful way. However, when I first got started I found myself struggling to manage the stream of Slack “pings,” email chains and Bluejeans calls. I found myself asking the questions, what do I respond to? Is sending three slack messages too much? It’s easy to get overwhelmed. A good tip to overcome this challenge is to reach out to your direct managers and ask them how to best stay organized. Once you have that down, use these modes of communication to your advantage as it will drive your work forward and keep your team apprised on the tasks you’re moving on throughout the day. Transparency and communication are key to your success so it’s important you master this.
Not All News is News
As PR professionals we serve as the gatekeepers for any and all news. And tech news cycles move quickly so it’s important to identify any and all opportunities before the next story hits. With that said, not everything is notable news. After you filter out market updates, there can be sponsored posts disguised as articles, bylines from competitors, or misleading publications that turn out to be international. Besides that, something that is interesting to you, or even interesting to your team, may not be interesting for the client.
Below are the key questions you need to ask yourself to understand whether an article is relevant and worth sharing.
- Is this a reputable news source (as opposed to a blog)?
- Is this a press release pick-up or organic coverage?
- Is this simply a trend piece or did something new happen?
- What event took place, and who were the actors involved?
- Is the event timely?
- Does this directly relate to services my client provides?
- What can my client gain from knowing this news?
These questions will help you to better identify opportunities for both your team and client and get you closer to that quality piece of coverage.
Re-Think Your To-Do List
When you’re just warming up to the internship, your client load is minimal and you’ll spend most of your time wrapping your head on what your clients do. Once you get into the groove of things, there will be days where you have a full list of tasks and others where you have little to do. That’s the moments where your to-do lists moves beyond tactical and towards proactive. A day where you have “nothing” to do is actually the perfect opportunity for you to shine. Clients love fresh ideas, so start scanning around for resources that will help muster them. It can be a proactive pitch piggy-backing off of a news piece you saw earlier that week, or a new take on something that’s already in the works.This won’t come easy at first but will gradually become second nature. Lastly, use that available time to connect with your fellow colleagues and offer assistance for any lingering tasks/projects. Raising your hand will strengthen connections and build relationships with your team.
As my time with Highwire comes to a close, I’m proud of all the accomplishments and connections I’ve made. For fellow interns, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stuck but once more time passes it’ll feel more comfortable. And hopefully this survival guide will set interns’ up for success at the agency. Looking for an opportunity to work here? Check out our job openings here.