My Internship at Award Winning Holyrood PR in Edinburgh
Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Dolly Parton, puns and the not so 9-5 of PR in Edinburgh
STARTING this blog post has been really challenging for me (great, right? She’s supposed to be a good writer by now and she can’t even start a blog post). The reason for my difficulty in knowing where to begin is that when I started here 4 weeks ago, I never thought that I would have survived such an incredible experience, coming to the end of my month here at Holyrood PR.
If you had asked me 4 weeks ago what a press release was, how to create a montage on Photoshop or how to pitch a story to a newsdesk I would have probably laughed in your face. Almost a month later and these are all things that are asked of me on a daily basis, to which I can now confidently say, yes I absolutely can do that!
Having had no previous experience in the world of communications, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived. I make a great cup of tea and am pretty swift with Microsoft Word…what more do you need as an intern right? How wrong I was.
As an intern at Holyrood PR, you’re not just there to get coffee or run errands, but you’re there to gain actual work experience. This internship is an incredible way to learn so many different skills, and has taught me so much about the PR industry in general, just from listening to the team talking or reading their work.
One thing I can’t stress enough to any potential intern is to ask as many questions as possible. No matter how stupid you think you’re being, you are so much better off knowing the answer and learning and growing than to just sit idly by because you’re afraid people will think you’re annoying. The number of questions I have asked in the past 4 weeks and not one member of the team has made me feel that way. They are all more than happy to help and will go out of their way to make sure that you go away with the best learning experience that you possibly can.
Ultimately you are there to learn and it’s all too easy to sit at your desk twiddling your thumbs or scrolling through Twitter. Yes it might be fun for a while but you’re wasting an amazing learning opportunity which would be hugely beneficial to both yourself and to the company.
During my time at Holyrood, I decided to be a ‘yes’ man. To get the most out of any experience like this and to really learn all that you can, saying yes is the key! Can you call a 100 year old lady and ask her what her secret is to long life? Yes! Even though the thought of this terrified me, there is such a sense of accomplishment once the task is completed. I am a big advocate for pushing the limits of your comfort zone and that is something I have absolutely been able to do at Holyrood. Being too comfortable does nothing for us, so it’s vital to shake up your routine and do something different. By exposing yourself to a new context, you’re literally growing as you learn to act in new circumstances.
As a bit of a lover of puns and all things silly, I was delighted to learn that part of my role would be to come up with clever headlines for press releases for certain clients. This was one task that I had had some practice with! It wasn’t until Stuart was stumped while writing a release for Mackies and needed a pun that involved ice cream and Citizen Kane that I immediately chimed in with “Citizen Cone”. From that moment, I knew I would be accepted into this pun-loving family – I’m still waiting to hear if it made it in to any of the coverage!
Another highlight for me has to have been my first experience of a press call. The Sick Kids Friends Foundation organised for the Hibs players to come down to the Sick Kids hospital to visit the children and bring presents to the wards. Alie invited me along and this was a brilliant chance for me to see what was involved. We set up photo opportunities for press and coordinated everyone to make sure that everything that we wanted to be said was said. Alie even managed to get STV news down to cover the story for Live at Five.
In my last week, I was invited by Craig to assist him on a shoot at City of Edinburgh Council. This was an amazing chance to see what goes in to capturing some great video content, as well as liaising with clients. Interacting with professionals within the industry is a great way to gain new connections and also to learn how to communicate in a professional environment. This is another example of Holyrood’s ‘hands-on’ approach when it comes to the constant stream of interns coming in. Instead of just listening to what would happen and going with it, I was able to contribute to the conversation and make suggestions on the shoot which is just one of the ways in which this last month has felt nothing like an internship!
Of course my final highlight would have to be the Holyrood Christmas Party. I was very lucky to have been invited for the gang’s festive shenanigans – Raymond’s infamous quiz, Secret Santa and a night out to Surgeon’s Hall who threw a weekend full of entertainment; karaoke, prosecco bar, ceilidh, casino amongst others. It was a great opportunity to get to know the guys outside of the work environment – even if we were cut off midway through our rendition of Dolly Parton – 9 to 5!
All in all, this has been an incredibly immersive and hands-on experience. It has given me a huge insight into my strengths and weaknesses, as well as confirming the fact that I definitely want to work in Communications in some capacity. At the risk of sounding incredibly clichéd, any internship is what you make it. Be open to any task thrown at you, be willing to ask questions, be proactive and it will be such a valuable experience.
I cannot thank the staff at Holyrood enough for all their kindness and support during my first foray into the world of PR. I have learned so much from them, and there is no better way to do so than to listen and watch them at work, and trying my best to replicate what they do. There is no end to the amount of time they are willing to give to their interns and they are a very talented lot indeed.
If this sounds like your kind of work, you could be the newest intern at Holyrood PR.
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