Jumping in at the Deep End of public relations work at Holyrood PR
Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
on behalf of Holyrood Partnership
My advice for interns at this Scottish PR agency – don’t panic!
By AVA MELVILLE
WAKING up at 6.30am on the first day of my Holyrood PR internship it was safe to say I was pretty clueless.
The only guide I had was reading all of the previous intern blog posts. Those messages from past interns made it pretty clear that a stint at Holyrood PR is not your ordinary internship – and that you are sure to be thrown right in at the deep end.
I read about interns who seemed super skilled at WordPress, able to write pieces for clients and post online, just like that. Little did I realise that after just a week with this exciting Edinburgh agency, I would be doing exactly that.
What I can say with confidence is that it wasn’t nearly as scary as it seemed at first. So for future interns who get the valuable chance to work with the Holyrood PR team, here are my tips:
The first piece of advice to any prospective intern is don’t panic.
The people you will work with are going to be kind and helpful and that the tasks that seem impossible at first will actually become pretty routine.
This is life at a busy PR agency so don’t be alarmed by the fast-paced working world.
Shouting between desks, phones permanently ringing and a constant background track of fervent typing.
Walking into the office by 9am, be prepared to be thrown right into the middle of the action. My desk is right in the middle of the office sitting between the company directors and the account managers.
As promised in other intern blogs I am handed the ‘Intern Bible’ – a detailed PR how-to guide outlining the working practices at Holyrood PR.
This will be a survival guide taking you through tasks step by step – follow it! If it doesn’t all make sense just ask. If you are a PR novice like me there is some jargon that will need decoded.
Practice Makes Perfect
My second piece of advice is to practice at WordPress before you get here – being familiar with the platform will definitely make your workload easier.
My first task was to become an expert in WordPress – the platform which the Holyrood PR website is built on.
Learning how to upload colourful posts to the website is the starting point for virtually every intern working at this agency. That involves formatting and uploading press releases, coverage reports, and image galleries to make them accessible on line – while making sure they are both readable and likely to bring Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) value to Holyrood PR.
It’s a winning formula and the ‘Intern Bible’ will walk you through it.
That first upload took me an hour to perfect. Just a few days (and 15 press releases) later I had it cut down to 15 minutes!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are a lot of boxes to check and getting the SEO light to go from red to green was the bane of my life for the first week.
When in doubt – Write!
Drafting my first blog post for one of the Holyrood PR clients on delivery drones was definitely challenging.
Since I graduated with a psychology degree I was used to constructing essays. However, blog posts were most definitely out of my comfort zone.
Moreover, I knew nothing about delivery drones.
After 10 minutes of flapping about how I was going to complete this task I began to write. Within the space of an hour delivery drones went from being the complete unknown to my Mastermind specialist topic.
Starting is the hardest part – but brace yourself and just start typing. The written word is the fundamental currency of Holyrood PR so you can’t afford to be precious about it.
The team at Holyrood PR will be happiest when they see you getting something down in words. The help and feedback they give will be the most useful advice you get during your time here.
Watch Holyrood PR’s Videos
To end my first day I had the privilege of watching the filming of newly re-launched HPR TV.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’ll give you an idea of the work you will actually be getting involved in as well as getting to know who you’ll be working with.
Once we had battled to get the design aesthetic of spreading newspapers across a table just right, the cameras began rolling.
Watching Chris (the star of the show for this episode) perfect his newspaper shuffle, Craig (the camera guru) perfect his angle and Kenny perfect his behind the scenes commentary, the episode was born.
This was fun to watch and exciting to see the video come together but also learning how important it is to have an accessible communication channel and a face for Holyrood PR.
If you really want to impress the team and show them you have done your homework to prepare for your internship, let them know you’ve watched plenty of client videos and HPR TV episodes.
It’s just about the quickest and easiest way to get an idea what Holyrood PR is all about – the people, the clients, and the successes.
Sitting next to Holyrood PR’s digital dynamo Kenny, it wasn’t long before I was set the challenge of drafting and posting social media content for a few of our clients.
This may sounds easy but I was surprised just how much time, thought and effort goes into generating fresh content, that is on-brand and appealing to the client’s customer base. It was definitely more difficult than I expected.
Posting my first tweet was nerve-wracking, after all my words were representing a business.
Don’t be a Wallflower
My favourite moment of my time was when the team got together to deliver a client brief for a new PR campaign.
Getting everyone together led to a fast paced brainstorm of creative ideas.
My advice here is to get involved and don’t be shy, share your ideas too.
It was exciting to watch the web of ideas begin to form as the discussion happened. Thinking about what is new, achievable and meets the client’s needs.
Now I’ve talked through the ‘what you do’ I’ll add in a ‘who you’ll do it with.’
Sitting next to the directors Scott and Raymond sounds scary but although they are the ‘big bosses’ they are approachable – and PR encyclopaedias.
There’s Sarah, Ainsley and Alie a team of tough PR ladies and the office boyband Chris, Kallan, Kenny and Craig.
Aside from the England vs. Scotland debate (sorry Chris, you’re borderline Scottish) and an in-depth analysis of who is the most posh, the history of Kallan’s haircuts, plus the extraordinary amount of Jaffa Cakes Kenny can consume in one day, it’s just a normal office.
Not to mention saving sheep, new tattoos and that person you know who’s in the paper – be careful what you share, it might just become the latest news!
One thing’s for sure the real boss of the Holyrood office is office manager Linsay, if you need anything she is the head of the Holyrood family.
When I was tasked to write an intern blog post my reaction was ‘already?!’, surely it was too soon? I hadn’t yet done or learnt enough to advise anyone else. Yet, , when it came to writing this blog post it has dawned on me just how much I have achieved in a week.
If you are considering applying for an internship at Holyrood PR, just do it. Whether you have PR qualifications or are a complete PR novice this internship is a great opportunity. It is hands-on experience and already in just week it has become invaluable.
As every intern that walks through these doors will tell you, this is an internship like no other.
Do you think you’re made of the right stuff to tackle a PR internship with our Scottish public relations agency?
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