Expectations versus reality – My first week at an Edinburgh PR agency

Holyrood PR Intern Programme
Edinburgh PR Agency uploads first week blog by intern
By Hannah Taylor-James

GETTING stuck in and a helpful team has helped me find my feet at a successful Edinburgh PR Agency.

Mixed Expectations

As this is my first internship, I tried to keep an open mind as to what would be expected of myself on the job.

Being a fourth year PR and Marketing student at Queen Margaret University, I was eager to put my knowledge into practice, confident that I would be able to offer at least some of my skillset to the team.

The weekend before I started, I knuckled down to do some research on the company that would soon take me under its wing. Looking back over past intern blogs, press releases and media coverage reports I had some idea of what would be expected of me but the first day jitters were still there, even if only minor.

Despite having experience with press releases, my first concern was that I would not be largely involved with the work within the office. From my fellow student’s stories of past placement experiences, I got the impression that an internship meant doing the office errands, filing and trying not to bother anyone.

A pleasant Surprise

Thankfully, all my concerns were put to sleep within the first day, as I was met with a list of tasks to undertake. Working through a mixture of jobs from press release uploads, working on photo-shop to even writing press releases, I was happy to be kept busy, while still being supported by the team.

The people at Holyrood PR have been amazing, always ensuring I have work to do and prepping me so I can confidently take on each task. I have particularly enjoyed the free reign I have to undertake tasks, allowing me to get on with work without being micromanaged.

So far, I have learned so many new skills that will definitely come in handy down the line in my PR career. Using Photoshop to make press release collages was something I was surprised to find myself doing; however I find creative tasks very motivating so took this on happily.

Photoshop was something I had never tackled before, so it has been great to be given the chance to learn how to use it, making montages to showcase some of Holyrood’s best work. I’m hoping that this will become a skill of mine that I can take with me and develop to a professional level.

In my first week, I was lucky enough to witness work in action as I was taken to The Royal Hospital for Sick Children to help the team’s videographer get some footage to go alongside a campaign for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. Being able to see a project like this first-hand was a great experience and it was so interesting to see how both videographer Craig and the charity team worked together.

I’ve also appreciated being shown how the company takes a story all the way through, from the beginning ideas to becoming a media coverage post on their website. Gaining insight like this is a great way to understand the process of working with a client and has allowed me to see the bigger picture beyond singular tasks.

Looking Forward to the Weeks to Come

I knew that there would be a leap between how PR is academically taught at University, and these suspicions did of course hold some truth to them. When writing press releases for University assessments, they were always fairly formal and were expected to follow a set guide on how they should be written.

Usually very fact based and to the point, they are naturally very different from the press releases done at Holyrood PR, which look more at writing a piece that that has colour and character in the writing, and will adhere to the formatting expected by different clients.

Whilst I appreciate that my writing abilities and knowledge of the PR industry is still lacking, the team have been giving me critical feedback on all of the work I have been handing back which is a great way to allow me to continuously improve.

As a requirement for my degree, I have to pull together a portfolio of all the work I achieved at Holyrood PR, so to have been able to take on a placement at such a successful agency, I have been able to take full advantage of the help and guidance I have been given so far.

Overall I’ve been enjoying my time at the office and look forward to coming in in the morning. The feedback has been really positive and I look forward to the upcoming weeks working with the team.

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