Spring 2016 Internship Insights: Working at an Agency
January 25, 2016
I’ve certainly had experience working with a public relations agency in the past, but none that quite compares to Elizabeth Christian Public Relations. Before ECPR if you had asked me to follow up with a reporter on a pitch, I would have stared at you blankly. If you had asked me to create a media list, I would have organized one by following the textbook “How To” steps that I learned in school. You see, in my former internship positions, I was responsible for corporate projects such as pulling numbers and writing reports. ECPR has shown me another side of public relations, and I’m excited to share some tips I’ve learned so far!
1. Confidence and enthusiasm are key: When I was first asked by my supervisor to call reporters to follow up on a pitch, I couldn’t help but feel nervous and somewhat apprehensive. Of course I knew what a pitch was, but I hadn’t actually had the chance to work with a pitch before—let alone follow up on one. After my first follow up, I quickly learned that simply changing the tone in your voice from uncertain to confident leaves reporters more inclined to call you back. Sound enthusiastic about your pitch when and if they decide to call back, and maybe your enthusiasm will brush off.
2. “Normal” doesn’t exist: My friends who are unfamiliar with PR often ask me what a normal day is like. Well, when you work in an agency, there isn’t one. One day could be quiet while the next day could be filled with a minor crisis that involved your client. Working in a firm, I’ve learned to expect this and, actually, have grown to enjoy it.
3. Research proves its importance: ECPR has taught me to research reporters and journalists before pitching them. If your client is sponsoring a charity event at a local church, then reaching out to the journalist who writes about pop culture isn’t your best bet. It’s imperative to research reporters from various news outlets and only pitch those who write stories on the same topic of your news release. It wouldn’t hurt to let them know you’ve read their article on “XYZ” and that’s why you’ve decided to contact them about your client’s news and/or event.
4. Deadlines are imperative: Like many other things in life, PR runs on strict deadlines. If the client calls Tuesday morning to let you know they will be hosting a citywide event set for next month, what they’re really calling to say is, “I need a press release, and I needed it five minutes ago.” It’s our job to successfully work with reporters to cover our client’s news in magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, or television. Of course, these things have a better chance of happening the sooner they’re brought to a reporter’s attention. So, in brief, deadlines are critical when claiming a spot in the news for your client.
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations has proven to be both an exciting and professional place to work. The employees are welcoming, and the passion and enjoyment for their work is undeniable. I’m looking forward to the remainder of my time here and learning even more PR tips as I close in on my last semester of college!
Spring 2016 Intern