As a marketing and PR student in my fifth and final year of university, I thought the hundreds of hours spent in lectures, tutorials and on assignments had fully prepared me for my first internship.
Boy was I wrong.
Here are three important things I have quickly learnt from my first few weeks of interning at marketing and PR agency Modern Currency that no one told me at university (and most definitely should’ve!).
1. Tracking coverage
Tracking coverage is a fundamental part of implementing a PR campaign. In my first few weeks as an intern, I have already helped craft and update campaign reports for a number of clients. Of course, I would usually hear the obligatory yet vague end of semester speech on the importance of evaluating success. But how to do that? That, I was never really told.
After spending a few weeks using specialist databases, typing out readership numbers and publication titles, and inserting PDF clippings into PowerPoint presentations, I now actually know how to track coverage for clients. And I guarantee this is something all PR students need to know too.
2. Never underestimate the impact of influencer relations
At university, influencer relations are largely dismissed as ‘frivolous’ PR by those academics hellbent on ‘legitimising’ the profession. I’m not saying influencer campaigns were never touched on but there was definitely an unspoken disdain for them from some lecturers.
My advice? Embrace the influencer. Learn how you can use them to reach your target audience and build a good reputation for your clients, especially if you’re thinking about entering hospitality, lifestyle or related industries. After interning, I can confidently say that influencer campaigns can be an essential component of a strong, visible and effective PR strategy.
3. Research, research and more research
At university, there is an emphasis on the ‘big’ parts of PR like campaign implementation and management. But do you know what comes before implementation? Research! Yes, there is an expectation that you do your own research before completing assignments but in hindsight I don’t think there is a strong enough focus on ways to conduct and document research.
During my internship, I’ve been shown excel sheets, tables and other simple tools such as Dropbox that are great ways to record, present and share research. It seems so basic and straightforward but teaching PR students ways to organise and document research is a valuable thing to learn in my opinion.
So, understandably I experienced a bit of a culture shock in my first few weeks as an intern!
My advice? Consider undertaking an internship before transitioning from university to the workforce. You and your future employer will be better off for it.
Interested in joining our rewarding internship program at Modern Currency? We’d love to hear from you, so get in touch at email@example.com.
Written by Millie P