5 Lessons From a PR Newbie

This is a guest post by Roya Naghepour, a former intern at Scott Circle.

This is a guest post by Roya Naghepour, a student and former intern at Scott Circle.

As a political science and international affairs double major I never thought I’d step foot in a PR firm. I would say that PR is probably one of the most misunderstood professions of all time. There are many layers to proper and effective communications that are not apparent to the public eye, and the best way to learn about PR is to see it in action first-hand. As a communications intern at Scott Circle, I have already learned more about the industry than I have ever learned in any classroom.

Here are some key takeaways from one PR newbie to another:

Learn to say “yes.”

In any industry it’s important to say yes. As a PR intern, sometimes yes means going to a client’s gala with the principal of your firm, but sometimes yes means running over to CVS to grab the latest Marie Claire. Regardless of the task, small or large, being willing and able to help and participate is important. I never thought that I would be an intern at a communications firm, but saying yes has helped to encourage a growing passion in work that I never dreamed of doing.

Always ask questions.

I came to Scott Circe not really knowing what public relations fully entails. As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything but you are expected and encouraged to ask questions. If you don’t understand something fully, ask for help. Ten out of ten times, I bet your supervisor would rather you express confusion and ask for clarification than do a job incorrectly.

Remember, PR is about people.

It’s called public relations for a reason. Customer service is imperative in any business, but especially in PR. If your clients are not comfortable communicating with you, how will you be successful at communicating their message to the public? Make sure you do your background research so that whether you are drafting tweets or writing a news release, you’re able to adopt the voice of your client.

Step into a reporter’s shoes.

One of the most useful PR skills is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, especially those of reporters. Make sure you know that your pitch is related to a reporter’s work because nobody likes being sent a blanket “blast” email. And make sure your pitch is interesting. If something is not interesting to you, chances are, it’s not going to be interesting to a reporter either. Once a reporter responds, try to make their job easier by providing appropriate background information and being prompt to get them what they need. The easier it is to work with you, the more likely they will want to work with you again.

Stay connected.

PR is definitely about making connections and maintaining those connections. Foster relationships with media contacts, clients and your colleagues. Build up your own network and manage these relationships over time. The people that surround you, whether they are your fellow interns or the principal of your firm, can teach you more than you realize. You never know where your connections will lead.

Roya Naghepour was a communications intern with Scott Circle, a full service communications and event management firm based in Washington, D.C.  She is currently a sophomore at the University of Georgia.