I can’t believe that today marks the beginning of week two in my internship with French/West/Vaughan. Time already seems to be flying by. Week one was eventful and exciting. I quickly became acclimated to the office (which is quite possibly the coolest office I have ever seen—pictures to come later) and met some of the staff that I would be working with.
What is great about F/W/V’s intern program is that you are assigned to a supervisor and a team. Instead of just wondering around the office looking for menial tasks to do, you are given real assignments and actually get to experience what working for a PR firm is like. I was assigned to a wonderful supervisor named Lauren who is an account executive. Some of the brands that I am working with are Gemesis Diamond Company, Arena Swimwear USA, The International Gemological Institute and Melitta Coffee. I love working with such a broad group of clients—it allows me to learn about different market and industry needs.
In my first week of business I became acclimated with the accounts and learned what was done with them in the past and the projects that are currently being worked on. I quickly familiarized myself with some of tools of the trade: websites such as Cision Point, which help you compile media lists, and pitch websites like HARO and Profnet that allow PR professionals and reporters swap story ideas, product promotions, and deadlines.
Now in my second week, I feel like I am beginning to understand what working in this industry is like—fascinating! I really do learn something new every day. For example, I never realized the full potential of social media. I spend a significant amount of my time on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but I never really understood their great market potential until now. Last week I started working on “pinning” new posts to the Pinterest page for Gemesis Diamond Company. Gemesis is a conflict-free and eco-friendly diamond company that produces laboratory created diamonds. By utilizing Pinterest, we try to connect with the brand with the lifestyles of Gemesis customers. We create boards with topics that tie-into the brand image, some examples being “eco-friendly weddings” and “green celebrities”.
Another interesting assignment has been to write story pitches to editors of major magazines like InStyle. Catching the attention of the right media is crucial to the promotion of a brand. If the story is never shared, it is never told! So that is where a pitch comes in - you tell editors about a product in hopes that they will include it in their next issue.
This week I have been compiling media lists for an upcoming event. While working on my lists I have found that having great research skill (yes, our professors are right) really does come in handy. When you can’t find the contact information of a particular media professional, you have to think creatively and figure out how to connect with them. You research other members of that publication or news organization, and eventually dig around until you find what you need to know.
An interesting task for me today was to skim the pages of trade magazines and websites for what is called “hits” or mentions of client’s products. When it seemed like all hope was lost after scouring the pages of about five magazines, I finally found a write up that featured two of our clients and even mentioned French/West/Vaughan!