Post contributed by Tom Willcox
Here I am – one month into my summer internship at Howell Marketing. I never thought I’d learn so much so fast!
PR means public relations – yes, I get asked that all the time. It’s not the most understood job in the world and it’s hard to get respect when I say I’m on Facebook and Twitter all day! When I get home, my roommate will routinely ask how my Tweeting went at work. He’s being sarcastic of course. I don’t blame him. To be honest, despite numerous college lectures, I was still a little unsure of what PR and marketing was all about. However, my first month here at Howell has taught me a lot about this constantly-evolving profession.
My boss, Amy, knows best – a crucial aspect of PR is a good social media strategy – and a good strategy means engagement with the online public. So when you have 25 clients who need to be consistently posting and interacting, it becomes an important job – and that’s where I come in! I learned quickly that one Tweet a morning won’t cut it. Social media management takes monitoring, research and quick replies. When I saw our followers communicating at all times of the day, I eventually realized that I needed Hoot Suite on my phone as well.
In an agency setting, I’ve learned that you need to be there when the client calls on you. For the experienced ladies in the office, no day is the same. My coworkers never miss a phone call. They know that at any time, they could be out the door – whether it be to a meeting, an event or even to take a flight.
The launch of Southern Airways Express
My internship couldn’t have started at a better time. I’ve had the honor of watching one of our clients, Southern Airways Express (SAX), build from the ground up.
While I haven’t been right in the thick of it, I’ve seen PR work in all forms. When the hard-working staff at SAX needed to delay the launch of their website, I experienced a social media crowd who brought the pressure. When SAX decided to sponsor a post, I watched how quickly something can go viral. The greatest part of it all, however, has been monitoring the incredible coverage and support for a small company that is quickly becoming the mid-south’s new favorite airline.
What I see for the future
Every day I understand a little more. I’ve so often heard of modern PR versus old PR but I never quite understood it. I also know that most people don’t understand PR in general – but I think I can finally explain it! “Old PR” was pretty straightforward. One’s task was to manage the company’s reputation in the eyes of the public. That meant scoring positive mentions of the company in the news and trying to squash crises as soon as they arose. In “new PR”, we often hear of the merge between PR and marketing – a merge that can be heavily attributed to the rise in social media. Old-school PR is still very important. I still see press releases, pitching and crisis management – however, with social media, companies now have their own news outlets. “New PR” brings a whole new strategy – managing your direct communication with the public.
It has been an honor working for Howell and I’m excited for the next two months!