Autumn 2012 Week 5: 15-19 October

The interns take you through their week, day by day…

Monday 15 October am (Charlet)
Monday morning in the office, and everyone had the Monday morning blues. For the first hour all was silent as the interns got on with their weekly media monitoring and planned their presentations for Edelman this Friday.

Around 11.00am Sarah arrived to give us a session on job interviews, in which she advised us how to deal with some of the more difficult questions that might be asked of us. It was extremely useful to hear how all the other interns approached questions I have struggled with in the past and in general, the workshop helped me to build up some confidence, leaving me feeling better prepared for future job interviews.

Next, we each got a one to one conversation with Sarah. During mine, we discussed what direction I was going to take after this internship, and the types of companies I should be applying for. The whole morning was extremely informative and helpful.

Monday 15 October pm (Jasmin)
Monday afternoon was our first opportunity, following advice from Sarah, to start applying for jobs. Some of us are still unsure about the area of PR we would like to aim for, but, as Sarah reminded us last week, it’s important to apply to a broad spectrum of vacancies when you are at entry level. We were all slightly surprised to hear that past interns have made as many as 30 job applications before getting an interview.

The rest of the afternoon was also spent planning our presentations for Friday. Georgie Brown, my advisor and an Senior Account Manager at Edelman, set this week’s task, which is based on managing a global PR campaign. This week is also our first group presentation, and we are all relieved to be working in pairs!

Tuesday 16 October (Nadia)
Today we had our weekly session with Chris Cooke, and today continued talking about national newspapers and learned about the Sunday newspapers as well as the daily ones.

We also studied the matter of how to write a press release, and this was a really good topic, as we were encouraged to see how to make a press release engaging from a journalist’s view point: Chris receives an enormous number of press releases everyday, so what makes him open them? It was was also useful to see how his advice differed from Edelman opinion on how to write a press release.

Chris also touched on the importance of establishing relationships with key journalists, more useful advice.

Wednesday 17 October (Lola)
As we had a free session this morning, many of us decided to use this time to complete our weekly tasks, including our newspaper reviews and feedback forms.

In the afternoon, the group took a trip to Insight Public Affairs for a session with members of the agency’s team. Poonam Arora, account manager, and Jim Rothwell, associate director, conducted the majority of the session, beginning with an introduction to public affairs. They also shared the details of some of their individual campaigns to help give us an insight into what their job roles consisted of. This was particularly helpful to those of us who are hoping to pursue a career in this sector.

We also met with managing director John Lehal, and gleaned useful information about the company’s internship scheme, as well as advice about the best ways to improve our chances of being considered for a role at the company. Overall it turned out to be a very informative trip and we were all grateful to the staff members of Insight Public Affairs for giving up their time to talk to us.

Thursday 18 October am (Chandni)
A free morning gave us a chance to catch up on work before heading over to Blue State Digital in afternoon. It was a great opportunity to focus on our joint presentations on Global PR at Edelman tomorrow.

I caught up with some work I had fallen behind on, then Elmira and I used our time to go through our presentation and rehearse it. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss any points for the brief, and that all of our slides are finished and correct.

Thursday 18 October pm (Bolu)
I loved our trip to Blue State Digital! It was definitely my favourite so far; I love the fact that in this internship we learn about PR in general so we can get to grips with it, but it is specifically a digital internship, so it was great to visit a specialist digital agency.

The second I stepped into the office, I knew it was going to be a good day. I really enjoyed our time there and was very excited by what they do. Digital PR is becoming increasingly vital in this day and age, and learning how communicators navigate these relatively new waters was fascinating. People often think of digital PR as very clinical and detached, yet I loved how Blue State Media incorporated brand storytelling, to give it a face, and make it easy to relate to. What particularly drew me in is the work their US arm did for the 2008 Obama Campaign, since I’m quite ridiculously obsessed with American politics! The online campaign was such a huge part of his success, and I loved seeing the interesting and creative ways they garnered interest and support through social media such as YouTube.

After this, we were split into two groups and given the task of devising an online campaign to encourage people to take 3 minute showers to conserve water. The mood was light-hearted but focused, and it was interesting to create a campaign using only digital means. It was a change, but it definitely encouraged and challenged our creativity. Funnily enough however, both groups came up with almost identical campaigns. Clearly we have been spending far too much time together!

The trip definitely opened my eyes to the world of digital strategy and PR, and it is a career path I am seriously considering now.

Friday 19 October am (Catherine)
On Friday we had a fantastic and insightful session with Spook Media, the digital arm of Edelman London.

Digital expert Sarah went though the key aspects of a successful digital strategy, looking at different case studies and assessing what made it effective, or conversely, why certain campaigns had failed.

We also discussed trends in the digital sphere and what this means for public relations, as well as speaking about the convergence of PR and social marketing, and agreed that increasingly, the focus is not a matter of discipline – ie, PR strategy or marketing strategy – but rather the message, and how powerfully it resonates.

Friday 19 October pm (Elmira)
On Friday afternoon, I was busy working on the digital team at Edelman, helping them with their weekly social media roundup newspaper, sent out every Friday; it gave me a great opportunity to get some hands on experience, and it felt great to be a part of something.

After lunch we got into our teams of two and delivered the latest of our weekly presentations. This week’s task topic centred around Global PR, with a strong emphasis on internal communications. We got great feedback and Georgie identified areas in which we could improve for any future presentations. It was interesting to see each others’ presentations, and identify each others’ strengths and weaknesses, which in turn made us reflect on our own strengths and weaknesses.