My eventful four week transition at a successful PR Agency

by PR Interns

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Trading pints for print and so much more, as I became the newest member of a successful PR agency

Man with beer in one hand and newspaper as he prepares for successful PR agency stint

By Arran Ponton

GOING from sporadic, late night shifts of the bar trade to a steady 9-5 working regime was always something I welcomed after securing my four week internship at Holyrood PR little under two months ago.

Going into the job with no experience of the industry at all and zero idea of what to expect, was not so welcomed. Although, I was most excited for the change and willing to dive head first into my new role.

In more ways than one, working in a bar is similar to a PR environment. Both have customers and clients respectively that need attention and hard work from the staff in order to be pleased. Friendliness goes a long way and both professions require a personable nature. There is an expectation to possess a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise about what you can deliver and the most effective way to do so.

Despite these similarities, I quickly realised there wasn’t a lot of bar transferable skills once I took my seat in the office.

As soon as I walked in to Holyrood PR (which I’m surprised I found so easily, due to my dreadful sense of direction and knowledge of Edinburgh) I was greeted kindly and in a way that made me question why I was so worried. Any nervousness or apprehension was washed away and I was ready to get my teeth into some proper work for the first time since leaving university.

The first day, and indeed the rest of the week, offered up a large variety of tasks and within a few hours I was asked to make calls to BUPA Care Homes to get quotes from the staff on various topics. My first reaction was ‘I can’t do that, it’s my first day. Can I not send an email or something?’ Of course, I kept this to myself. The idea of talking to someone I don’t know and probing for information, doesn’t bother me at all. Asking the right questions and discussing topics I don’t know much about, was the challenge. Although it’s daunting, making calls is one of the most important parts of the job, so I took confidence and tips from my temporary colleagues as their professional, natural phone manner continued to impress me.

Further assignments delegated to me included; drafting and issuing press releases, writing blogs for the website including SEO, creating coverage montages via Photoshop and researching social media involvement figures. This collection showcased all technical and practical PR aspects.

Not all work takes place in the office. I was lucky enough to accompany videographer Craig on a number of occasions, filming for various clients and helping productions go from their early stages right through to completion. This refreshing break allows you to interact with clients, unrestricted by phones and email, to uncover their stories first hand and help convey them to an audience.

As a newbie you are provided with the ‘Intern Bible’. A bulky binder with everything relevant to opening up the world of a Holyrood PR intern. I have a small confession to make…I didn’t read past the first page.

I’m not the kind of person who learns from masses of information as I find it difficult to absorb and process it all. I can barely read a book without getting distracted and usually have to read each page twice. For me, there was no better way to learn than watching the exceptional Holyrood PR team at work and replicating what they do. Following the format of previous releases as well as adopting a similar manner on calls allowed me to stick to an already successful criteria.


Sitting with a paper and a beer in the foreground at a successful PR agency

There’s certainly less room for beer in my new working environment.

Each member of the team brings their own personality to the table (or the desk in this case) and each are on hand to provide guidance, support and entertaining quotes (Alie’s list of Chris quotes). Most of all they are a very talented bunch who are willing to put in the time towards helping the constant conveyer belt of interns that pass through.

For those of you who aren’t aware of what a PR company does, I can assure you, it’s not handing out flyers in the cold. Skills as simple as communication are underestimated in any working environment and this is the main asset to have in the PR industry. A knack for writing is necessary but I was surprised to see how close the links are between journalism and PR.

From my journalism background and brief PR stint I have realised where the differences lie. After university I was never completely sold on a career in journalism. PR firms work to deliver positive stories for their clients with ways in which both staff and client work together towards a common goal. The people are friendly and open on both ends, creating an enjoyable place to ply your trade.

Two years after graduating, I’m still unsure where I want to start my career or what I want to be doing in twenty years. What this month at Holyrood PR has given me, is a sense of direction. It has provided me with an insight into the workings of, not only a well-structured and driven agency, but the industry as a whole and it’s certainly somewhere I could see myself working.

For any future interns at Holyrood PR: go in with an open mind and take part whole-heartedly, if it’s not for you, fine, at least you’ve tried. Although I can assure you, a month at Holyrood PR is well worth the leap.

If this sounds like your kind of work, you could be the newest intern at Holyrood PR.

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PR Interns

Scottish public relations agency Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland, runs a rolling programme of placements for PR interns, working alongside our team of PR experts. Many of the most successful PR interns go on to land full time PR jobs with our award-winning Scottish public relations agency.

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