A New Start? My first week at an Edinburgh PR agency
Monday, May 6th, 2019
A placement unlike the others
By Murray Glen
HAVING my fair share of work experience from press offices to newsrooms, I am very used to being close enough to the action to tell my friends, but rarely being allowed to get hands on.
This coupled with the fact that my daily journey to the office would begin at 5:30am meant that I had more than a healthy dose of anxiety coming into the office on day one. I didn’t know that by the time I typed this on Friday afternoon, all of that would be replaced by a very real sense of accomplishment and optimism.
By lunchtime on Monday morning, I had discovered that this placement would be unlike the others. To use a cliché that is probably a tagged phrase on the intern section of the website by now, I have learned more this week than I have at three years of university.
I do not write that to blow smoke up Holyrood PR, nor to bash my University. I write it because speaking as someone who wants to progress in PR, there is rarely an opportunity to learn about the industry without diving into it head first. As such, this week I have spent what time I can trying to wrap my head around the work I am actually doing. Social media planning for one client, press releases for another, market research for another. Pretty important tasks at the best of times, but being given them on week one really shows how this internship is only scratching the surface.
I’ve also been shown that an internship should be about learning, not solely about going through the motions of things you can already do fantastically.
I found as well that there is so much to be said for learning on the job. I barely opened Photoshop or optimised a blogpost for a search engine optimisation until this week, because no one had ever considered that an International Relations student would need to. For many, that fact alone would stop you from getting an internship. Here though, you are allowed to admit that you are not a naturally gifted PR genius. Holyrood PR recognises that we all need to learn somehow, and gives you a chance to do just that. I have already used Photoshop loads since being shown how to and I know it’s just one of the new skills I’ll take with me then I leave.
The internship is also worthwhile. At no point this week have I felt as if I shouldn’t bother coming in because it isn’t worth the hassle. It felt like I had actual work to do. When you see the releases you helped write showing up online or in the paper, it honestly feels as if you’ve made something people care about, and there is no better feeling than that.
It is also important to say, even in week one, the exposure to such vastly different sectors of the economy is one of the best parts of this role. I didn’t think that Property PR could ever be anything more than “interesting”. However, in the week where CALA The Crescent attracted Ruby (of Bake Off fame) I realised that any sector can be transformed into a diverse and engaging field of public relations by the right team.
It is also worth mentioning that despite plenty of journalism work, this week was my first in “proper” public relations. That was a scary thought, but in reality it has proved to be liberating. I didn’t come here with any preconceived notions of the industry or its tools, so everything I have been taught was accurate and reliable up to the minute I learned it.
The first week is always a good indicator as to how the next month will play out. If that is true, I think I might see PR as a fresh start, because it certainly feels like one.
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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.View PR's Profile
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