Navigating a PR intership - everything you need to know

Sep 7, 2023
5 mins

Starting a PR internship is an exciting step towards a successful career. However, making the most of this opportunity can be daunting. In this guide, we'll explore three key lessons that every PR intern should learn to ensure a successful and fulfilling internship experience. From understanding the PR landscape's intricacies to embracing client diversity and honing time management skills, these lessons will set you on a path to becoming a PR professional who's ready to thrive in any scenario.

First, take time to understand the PR landscape.

It’s always good to be prepared. Although you will certainly learn a lot on the go, you’ll be able to produce your best work and gain a much better experience if you understand the context. 

Aim to learn about different types of PR

Whether it is media relations, crisis communication, event management or influencer partnerships. A great place to start is with free online resources; attend webinars, online courses, and workshops hosted by organisations with wide experience.

Another great tool is networking. If you can gain access, attend PR industry events, conferences, and meetups. Throughout your career you will be encouraged to attend these, to help you connect with professionals from different sectors of PR, learn about emerging trends, and gain a broader perspective on the industry. Even simpler, try connecting with PR professionals on Linkedin, and follow some PR thought leaders too.

During your internship you can continue learning about the landscape by taking advantage of internal and external resources provided by the agency. Research different campaigns for inspiration, especially looking into case studies of successful PR. Examine how different tactics were employed, the goals of each campaign, and the outcomes achieved. This will give you practical examples of how PR fits into the broader marketing context. 

Ask all the questions

Don't hesitate to ask your colleagues questions. Ask about the agency's past PR campaigns, the different types of clients they work with, and the various strategies they employ. This will help you piece together the bigger picture.

The field of PR is constantly evolving due to technological advancements and changes in media consumption. Commit to continuous learning by following industry news, blogs, and thought leaders to stay updated.

Expect and learn to adapt to client diversity

Agencies like Words + Pixels handle a range of clients. From startups to established corporations, each client has unique needs, target audiences, and industries. Handling client diversity as a new PR intern is an opportunity to develop versatile skills and gain a deeper understanding of various industries and communication needs.

It’s helpful to know how you can navigate this challenge and make the most of the experience. For example, for each new client you are assigned to (and as the intern you will be assigned to many), dedicate time to research their industry, target audience, competitors, and current communication strategies. Even if two clients are in the same industry, their goals, target audiences, and challenges may differ. This will help you understand their unique needs and challenges. Plus, your colleagues can advise you on specific nuances of each client. They can provide insights into the client's history with the agency, preferred PR strategies, and any ongoing projects.

Embrace the learning opportunity that comes with working across diverse industries

As you immerse yourself in various sectors, you'll develop a broader skill set and gain insights that can be applied to future clients. Adaptability is key in PR. You'll encounter unexpected situations and requests. Learn to pivot quickly and find creative solutions while keeping the client's goals in mind. Also, the variety of clients you work with will demand creative thinking. Different industries require different approaches to storytelling and communication. Use this as a chance to flex your creative muscles. Furthermore, each client may face unique challenges. As you work on finding solutions for them, you'll sharpen your problem-solving abilities and gain experience in overcoming different types of obstacles.

Finally, time management and organisation skills are essential

PR is inherently fast-paced due to evolving news cycles, client demands, and campaign timelines. Embrace the excitement of working on diverse projects and learning on the go.

As mentioned above, juggling multiple clients with different needs can be challenging. Prioritise tasks, set clear deadlines, and use tools like calendars or project management software to stay organised. Start your day by identifying tasks that require immediate attention. Make a to-do list to keep track of tasks, deadlines, and their levels of urgency (this can be used at the end of your experience to give an overview of what you have achieved). Divide larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks. This approach makes it easier to focus, complete tasks efficiently, and see progress.

Keep in mind that, while it's important to take on new challenges, don't overcommit. Learn to say no when you're already stretched thin to maintain the quality of your work. Overloading your schedule can lead to burnout. Regularly communicate with your team. If you anticipate a delay or need more time, inform relevant parties as soon as possible. Equally, working in a fast-paced environment doesn't mean constant hustle. Use your breaks effectively to recharge, practice mindfulness, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The world of public relations is ever-changing

With these lessons, you're not just preparing for the challenges of today but laying the groundwork for your success in the future. Remember, every interaction, every campaign, and every learning experience adds value to your journey. Approach each day with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Guide yourself toward becoming a PR professional who not only navigates the complexities of the industry but also thrives within them.