After four years at the University of Glasgow studying law, I knew a job involving white wigs and gowns was not quite for me! Through a variety of extra-curricular activities I had developed a passion for communications and a creative flair which was at risk of being suppressed in a career, which, by its very nature, requires you to stick within rigid rules. I soon started looking into other fields where the skills I had developed whilst studying for my law degree could be transferred.
Although there may not appear to be an obvious link between representing a client in court and pitching a story to the press, there is one key skill that is required in both contexts… communication. A career in PR therefore seemed a natural step, so I began researching various routes of breaking into the world of public relations. With so many young people graduating with degrees at the moment, it seemed that hands on experience was essential in order to stand out from the crowd, so when I came across Aura PR’s tweet searching for a summer intern I immediately jumped at the opportunity!
Following an interview with Aura’s managing director, Laura Sutherland, I was delighted to be offered a summer internship at the company and looked forward to gaining an insight into the working life of a PR professional.
From day one, I knew it was going to be a busy few weeks, with the phone constantly ringing and a never ending stream of new e-mails popping up in the inbox. Although I had dabbled in ‘PR’ working for a Glasgow nightclub throughout my university years, I had had no previous experience in real-life PR or an agency and so I was certainly being thrown in at the deep end!
I was primarily assisting with the West End Festival, (Aura manages all the communications activity), and by the end of my first week I was compiling media lists, sending out media invitations and helping organise and prepare for fundraising and launch events. Additional tasks included preparing blog posts and preparing content for social media in order to engage with our client’s target audience.
The art of communication can sometimes be underestimated in the business world, however, as I have quickly realised effective communication and engagement is vital to an organisation’s success whether it be for consumer, business-to-business or not for profit campaigns. As Bill Gates famously quoted ‘if I was down to my last dollar I’d spend it on PR’. This says a lot for the impact that strategic PR campaigns can have and after my time at Aura I feel a lot more confident in my knowledge of how to implement a successful campaign.
An additional bonus of my internship was attending one of the CIPR’s ‘fresh’ series workshops that Laura, in her role as Chair of the CIPR in Scotland, had organised. The workshop, entitled ‘How to Write A Photography Brief’ hosted by professional photographer John Linton and picture desk editor Chris McNulty was a fantastic seminar helping reinforce the skills I had already started to learn at Aura whilst working on photo calls. The event was also an excellent networking opportunity where I got to meet other CIPR members from a variety of backgrounds and I very much look forward to becoming more involved in CIPR as a student member next year during my masters studies in PR at Queen Margaret University.
Throughout my three months at Aura, no two days were ever the same so it was exciting to go into work each morning and not quite know what you would be working on by the end of the day. Although there were times where the job did live up to its glamorous reputation (attending a fashion event at Hotel du Vin being just one of these), the working life of a ‘PR Girl’ as I’ve come to discover is no mean feat, with crisis management, late nights and working to tight deadlines all essential to being successful in the field. Nevertheless my internship at Aura PR has shown me that the hard work is most certainly worth it and has confirmed my desire to step into what is a challenging but highly rewarding, energetic and fun career and I would like to thank Laura and the team at Aura PR for the invaluable experience they have given me.