End of an era

This week I want to discuss my internship experience and what an amazing impact it had on me as a student and young PR professional. I was fortunate to be an intern this semester at The Eisen Agency, a fully integrated public relations and investor relations firm in Cincinnati, OH. This was my first experience in a “real world” agency, if you will. I had been an account executive in Miami’s student-run PR firm and had a great experience serving non-profits in the Oxford area, but this was my first experience with a true professional firm.

It was truly eye opening to take the lessons and concepts I had learned the past several years in class and see them play out in the real world for real clients. You can practice hypothetical cases and situations til you’re blue in the face, but it’s a new ball game when you’re working with a real client, real money, and a real reputation on the line. Since Eisen was a small agency, I was lucky to be able to take on projects head first and have real responsibilities beyond your run of the mill internship. During my first week, I was given the task of conducting follow up calls on a release that had been sent out. After advice from my patient mentor about what I should say I set out for the task heart beating quickly not knowing exactly what to expect when an editor in chief answered on the other end of the phone. After lots of voicemails and several rejections I connected with a friendly editor in a national publication who agreed to do an interview with the client. It was one of the most proud moments of my young PR career, second to when the article was produced and printed.

The rest of the semester was filled with more media relations including writing press releases, conducting email and phone pitches, producing media kits and conducting follow up calls after each of these. Although I know I still have some work to do and much more experience to gain, I no longer fear the individuals on the other end of the phone as much as I used to, and have realized rejection is just part of the game. With media relations, you must be persistent and confident in the face of rejection and move forward to try to gain coverage for your client. The reward will definitely be worth it when you do!

Another one of the biggest lessons I learned during my internship was the importance of networking. This came from not only my day to day life in the office, but from several events I had the pleasure of attending. Putting yourself out there and meeting professionals is  great way to learn about different jobs in the industry, and most people love to share stories! It’s also a great way to put yourself in the back of their mind should a future job opening come up. People are much more likely to call upon someone they have had face to face contact with and made a good first impression.

Overall, doing an internship during my last semester of college was a great way to bring things full circle from the class room to the real world. I am thankful to all my mentors at The Eisen Agency and all those professionals I met throughout my time during the internship, and can’t wait to begin my career as a PR professional!


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