Megan Skelly is a senior public relations and advertising major at Ball State University. She is currently serving as the spring BLASTmedia B2B PR intern.
With the amount of time I have spent in college and the endless amount of writing I have done for my PR courses, I thought I was ready to tackle the PR world. However, during my first week of my internship at BLASTmedia I was smacked back into reality when my boss asked me to write an email pitch. I had heard of such a thing before, but I wasn’t ready to create one myself. So I started thinking, and as my internship continued I started realizing, there were quite a few basic things they don’t teach you in college.
Here is a list of the top five things I wish they taught in PR 101.
1. Writing a pitch:
Once you get the knack of it, writing a pitch can be really fun. But when you’re getting started, it can be very challenging to determine your target market, make sure the pitch grabs the audience’s attention in the first sentence all while getting the message across in a concise and effective way. At BLASTmedia, we like to use what’s called the “pitchwich”—and it’s a great way to make sure your pitch is set up correctly.
2. Compiling a media list:
Besides gathering a few fake media lists for a couple courses, I had very limited knowledge on how to compile my own media list. My first few media lists at my internship took me almost all day to complete. Writing a pitch and compiling a media list are the two activities that PR specialists perform almost every day.
3. Drafting quotes:
Although I have learned a lot about quote writing from my PR courses, I still find quotes the hardest part of the press release. I can whip up a press release in a matter of minutes, and then stare at the quote for hours. This is a skill that takes time and experience to fine tune.
4. Compiling case studies:
I have written quite a few case studies in my courses but I didn’t realize they played such a big role in the PR world – especially B2B PR! What better way to share the capabilities of your clients than telling the story of a happy customer?
5. Interviewing client’s customers:
Both of my internships have included a lot of interviewing. Whether they are for case studies, articles or press releases, you have to make sure you are asking the right questions in order to get the best information and quotes to put in your writing.
All the PR courses in the world will never completely prepare you for what you will see in the “real world” but this should give intern seeking college students an idea of what to expect.
What have you learned since entering the PR world?