Student Experience:Posted on August 19, 2013 by Elizabeth Fletcher in Featured Course, Student Blogs
Digital Media major with no Public Relations experience, I didn’t know what to expect at my first PR internship.
Would I be the stereotype seen in movies? Just answering the phone or fetching coffee? Would I even get a glimpse into what the world of PR is really like? The good news is that I never went on a coffee run, and I did real work from my own office space. Best of all, I can honestly describe this internship as my actual dream job, too good to be true.
Be Social is a full-service lifestyle PR firm that works with businesses in industries like fashion, beauty, food, health, and fitness. Their client list is a perfect match for my passions, hobbies, and daily routines. I had the pleasure of working in my favorite area in Solana Beach, California, The Design District. Be Social is situated in a beautiful and stylish two-story office with mint colored office desks and décor that offered a modern, creative feel. My favorite part was Ali’s adorable gray poodle who was a treasure to play with at the office.
With the excitement of my first day came a warm and enthusiastic welcome. I hit the ground running with a challenge and got started working immediately on an interesting project. My introduction was creating social media content for Twitter and Facebook for a barre fitness studio client. I absolutely loved this task on every level. I was posting fun health articles, recipes, fitness advice, and all sorts of information. I was catching up on the latest in health and fitness, something I love to do in my idle time, but now I was doing it for work.
Social media has always been one of my favorite things, and I’ve had experience creating content on a non-personal level as I am in charge of social media for my sorority. I was ‘in my element’ with this project and felt confident to complete it to the client’s specifications. Using creativity made it fun and challenging as I had the opportunity to create social media plans and even a few online contests for our clients all the way from Texas to Oregon. I created many contests, two of my favorites being “Manicure Monday” at a spa and “Commit to Fit Friday” at a gym.
I loved learning how to write a good pitch, something I had no experience with. Claudia taught me well and guided me along the way as I crafted pitches for clients and tailored them for the specific publication where they were being sent. I studied magazine editorial calendars to find “potential placements” for a particular client, and then used our PR software to find the contact information for the right person at the publication. I crafted the pitch, e-mailed it to an editor, and later followed-up with a phone call. I wrote pitches that we sent to major magazines such as Rachel Ray Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, and Fitness Magazine.
It was exciting being in communication with the top people at some of my favorite publications. I look forward to seeing our clients mentioned in these magazines this winter and knowing that I played a role. I also had fun writing blogs and newsletters. My favorites were a blog for Father’s Day about why a spa treatment is a better gift for dad then the typical tie, and a newsletter on tips for taking care of your skin in the summer’s heat.
I got an opportunity I didn’t expect when I did graphic design work for multiple clients. My favorite project was designing promotional postcards for a Pilates studio in Northern California that were mailed to local businesses. I was able to combine my passion for health with my love for design with total creative freedom – such a dream. I had direction all summer from two incredibly savvy PR pros that even let me teach them a few design tricks of my own. That was a great perk that I never expected.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the businesses of companies I was working for and seeing things I was talking and writing about come to life. I especially loved dining at the delicious Del Mar Pizza, after having written all of their social media content for two months. I had worked many hours on pitches to send to interior design magazines about the décor at Queenstown Public House, a New Zealand style restaurant in Little Italy, which I found was even lovelier than I had expected.
PR Daily has become one of my most visited websites and “engagement” has a new meaning in my life. My bosses and co-workers have become friends. I learned quickly that I could share with them my ideas and goals. If I could design the dream internship, it would be my experience with Be Social in Solana Beach, California. The experience changed me, and I feel like I left my mark on them, too.
If the free beauty products and treats from clients weren’t enough, as a result of my work, I have been offered PAID freelance projects that I can complete as I continue my coursework at Union University. For one project, I’m working directly with a new fitness studio to build their brand starting with the company’s name, then moving to the logo and website. They plan to eventually franchise. Who knows, maybe we will see them in Tennessee. I feel blessed by this experience and my time spent with these wonderful people in my favorite place. I look with excitement to my future career hopefully meshing all my passions with a job in the public relations and graphic design world.