Today marks my last day as a PR intern in the Aura office. My notepad is full, my brain packed to the brim with new information. I’m reflecting on how much I’ve had the opportunity to learn in the short space of four weeks. I hope by sharing my experience, it can offer a little insight into day-to-day life as a PR intern.

Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to this month…

#1 ‘Same task, different day’ doesn’t apply in PR – each day is different

For many, the idea of an internship conjures up bleak thoughts. Perfecting coffee making, stapling ‘til your heart’s content and pretending to look busy. Not at Aura, and thank goodness! I’d been a PR intern an hour and already Laura had introduced me to a new health and beauty client proposal. She asked I pull together data sets from national publications. It soon became clear that finding this kind of information requires assertive, clear and concise communication with publications to get fast and relevant results.

This brief allowed me to switch roles. I went from a consumer to someone actually seeing the ins and outs of the process of selecting the right publication for a campaign. The importance of selecting options which will gain the most engagement became clear. It surprised me that many national publications could not supply relevant data. Geo-targeting Scottish audiences was outlined as a key priority for this client. It was, for that reason, essential to select publication options which would be measurable.

#2 Paid, earned, shared, owned media – the importance of combining all four

The PESO model, paid, earned, shared and owned media, something that fluttered around once or twice during my marketing lectures. For something so important, it wasn’t given much thought. Working at Aura has emphasised how crucial this model is in succeeding within PR and communications. The industry moves faster than you have time to realise you’re actually moving. Adopting PESO is essential to keep up with the race and to demonstrate return of investment (ROI).

One clear piece of advice I’ve had working as a PR intern at Aura is that creating valuable, relevant content is vital to the success of any engagement. Although the PESO model begins with ‘paid’, this does not need to be the key starting point in engaging target audiences. My time as a PR Intern here has emphasised that media and communications cannot be approached as a linear process, but instead one which requires a combination of elements of the PESO model and most importantly, a willingness to try new things.

PESO model

#3 Creating a PR tool-kit

Before working at Aura, my PR tool-kit was near enough empty. I had a few ideas about media tools but didn’t have much experience putting them into practise. There are so many other resources available to assist with working day-to-day.

Here are a couple I’ve been introduced to…

– Canva

The power of visual marketing is more significant than ever before within the PR industry. Laura introduced me to Canva. It’s a visualisation tool which provides a massive amount of resourcespr intern Canva . There are free images, templates, fonts & photos which can help to create many different infographics for media purposes. I have seen first-hand, the potential for a blog post to go from a non-engaging mish-mash of text, to a piece of content which looks bright and well-structured. This makes the reader genuinely want to carry on reading past the first paragraph and it’s all thanks to Canva.

– Hemingway Editor

My last written exam was in April and I’ve been sunning myself abroad for the majority of the summer. So, I think it’s safe to say my writing skills are a little on the rusty side. When Laura asked me to put together my first blog for the Aura website, she suggested I make use of the Hemingway Editor. It’s a tool which helps writers to structure their ideas into an easily readable format – think spellchecker, but for style. The app highlights where your writing is too dense, disorganised and needs a bit of attention. For a self-confessed waffler like me, this tool has been incredibly useful and I highly recommended it. Click here to give it a go…

#4 Be a sponge!

pr internIf you want to learn you have to be willing to ask questions, and loads of them. Make mistakes, but learn from them fast. The ability to take constructive criticism well will help too. BE A SPONGE!

Personally, I learn best by being chucked in at the deep end. My project briefs were succinct for a reason – so that it was a learning process.  All too often, throughout academia in particular, we become horses lead to water. This experience has given me the opportunity to learn as I go, it has encouraged me to ask questions.
One of the briefs given to me was to help in creating a corporate sales strategy for an events venue client. I compiled a document which included both competitor analysis as well as a strategy. This was designed to look at the sales process as a customer journey. Though the document included images throughout, with the intention of appealing to the reader, it became clear after consulting with Laura that although in some cases this can add to the value of content, when it comes to the nitty gritty, sometimes it’s best to stick to text in order to keep things concise. Without trying and testing different formats, I wouldn’t have been able to learn from my mistakes.

So, how’s it been?

Four weeks ago, I drove into work as a new PR intern, not quite knowing what to expect. Frankly I felt a bit like I was starting secondary school all over again, as the ‘newbie’. Luckily, my time here has been anything but as scary as school. I’ve had an encouraging, dedicated mentor with a genuine interest in challenging me professionally and shaking up the PR industry. My time at Aura has been jam-packed. I’ve explored digital marketing, data analysis, PR best practise, crisis communication and most importantly, how to best conduct myself as a professional in the industry.

One-on-one interaction has been invaluable. I can’t thank Laura enough for offering me this opportunity and I’m excited for new ventures to come. It’ll be interesting to put what I’ve learned into practice!

Blog by Lesley Clark @les_leyclark