Hang on! Don’t run away, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
If you’ve ever thought about being an intern you have definitely heard the horror stories of being the office kuli. Being made to photocopy papers, being the office runner and of course buying everyone their morning coffee.
Though most times they aren’t true, you do hear the occasional recollection from a friend while the blood drains away from their face.
When I started my internship with Suppagood I had absolutely zero idea what Public Relations really was. Being a lazy student I didn’t do any research and just relied on what I happened to hear. It of course turned out to be almost nothing that I thought it was, not that I thought much about it.
What I thought PR Was
When I thought about PR I thought about a life full of being invited to parties to meet media people, getting free drinks, lots of being out and being seen. It was a super glamorous image in my head. Now that I look back on it, who really has time for all that when theres so much else to do.
2. Meeting clients A LOT
I honestly thought I would be conversing with client a whole lot more on a daily basis and meeting up with them to chat about the ongoings and what needed to be done. This, I found out, was done so much earlier and I didn’t really meet clients as often. However there are A LOT of group chats on WhatsApp and many emails that fly back and forth.
Thinking about meeting clients and media made me think that there’d be a whole lot more coffee involved. Not that we don’t do coffee, I'd love to go to a quaint little cafe but I'm left in the office to do the dirty work. Hopefully one day I'll be worthy enough.
What PR REALLY turned out to be
Honestly, the biggest shock that came was the amount of paperwork that needed to be done. I guess it's a given that wherever you go theres going to be paperwork to do. It just never occurred to me there’d be THAT much. Not trying to scare anyone off, really. The best advice I can give to everyone is to keep up with the work. Don’t be a lazy bum.
When the fun work began it was writing the pitches to be sent to all media. This was the fun part I thought. Never before have I been rejected more in my life (insert sad face emoji). Writing a pitch is like choosing the bait for your fishing rod. You can't use a worm to catch both a tilapia and a shark. Write your pitch to suit the publication and make sure your information is right. You don’t want to send a generic pitch to everyone. It really makes a difference to personalise emails.
3. Follow Ups
There is so much time spent emailing, calling and texting just to see if anyone has taken the bait. The greatest feeling is when someone does! It’s not like it never happens it’s just a matter of working something out. Give and take and it’s important to give everyone time to think about it and discuss it with their team members. Relax.
4. Having common sense
It's okay. There have been many moments where I'd like to smack myself.
Ok lah,Got lah. You do get invites but it’s really up to you in the end. Can you survive the night? After a long days work it’s a little hard to get dressed and look nice when all you want to do is go home and get into pyjamas. BUT it is good to get out every now and then with your friends and colleagues to see everyone and catch up.
What I’ve come to understand and learn
Now, when my internship with this wonderful company of funny and entertaining people is coming to an end my feet are heavy. I’ve learnt that PR isn’t the glamorous life I thought it to be and it’s a lot of hard work. Really getting down and doing the dirty work. Getting coverage for your clients isn’t easy but it feels great when you compile that last folder or look at that report. Seeing how much you worked for finally put on paper is like looking at a perfect chocolate bar after a workout. You really feel like you worked for it and now you can enjoy it.
Attention to detail is VERY important. Too many times have I overlooked a typo or an auto correct and paid the price. When it comes to delivering reports to clients or sending out emails a small typo can seriously affect how people see you and as you know, in PR, it's key that your reputation is managed. Of course you’ll miss one every now and then and that’s perfectly acceptable but so long as you do your best to not.
Being quick on your feet is invaluable. Being able to keep up with everyone around you is very important. Often many things are happening and once and you’ve got to be able to keep track of most of them. You could be doing reports and thinking of a pitch and have someone telling you about another client all at the same time. Don’t get overwhelmed. If it’s too much then take a break. Stretch, grab a coffee maybe even do some yoga in the pantry. As long as you make sure you have the breathing space you need.
I know that this article may not have been the most insightful to the industry and is of course not to be taken TOO seriously. I’m just having a little fun.
I’ve learnt so much and am grateful for this team that’s guided me but not spoon fed me. They threw me right into the thick of it and wanted me to keep up with them. I’m glad that they taught me how to. We’ve had our fair share of impromptu performances, dog spotting and prolonged lunch breaks.
But what they taught me that I will take to the grave was #mouganjeong. Don’t fret.
PS: I'm still with Suppagood and having a ball. I'm still not worthy enough to go on coffee or lunch dates yet though. Almost there!