Expectations vs. Reality: What an Internship in PR is Really Like

From the beginning, I knew my internship with Curator was far from what I expected. I didn’t spend my days running errands around the streets of Seattle or brewing endless pots of coffee. Spending my summer with Curator made waking up at 7 a.m. well worth my time. I was more than an intern, I was part of a creative and collaborative team.

As I say goodbye to Curator, I want to break down my initial expectations for my first PR internship and compare them to what I actually experienced. Hopefully, it'll encourage you to intern for a PR agency and, if you happen to live in the Seattle area, intern for Curator. I promise you'll gain a wealth of knowledge you may not get elsewhere!

Expectation: I'll be spending each day doing the same “busy-work.”

Reality: While I did spend time every day on simple tasks like tracking media coverage, I spent the bulk of my days tackling new projects and tasks that directly impacted and benefited our clients. The PR industry is ever-changing and that was reflected in my internship because no two days were the same. I had to be ready to embrace constant change and willing to take on high-level projects I had no prior experience doing. As a result, I was able to do so much more and touch numerous client accounts. I wrote press releases and media alerts, researched influencers, crafted social media recommendations and created editorial calendars--and I'm only scratching the surface here. I could list many more projects.

Expectation: My co-workers will be too busy to give feedback or answer my questions.

Reality: Just because you're an intern, doesn't mean you aren't important to the team or have a voice in the room. The office is incredibly collaborative. Everyone is constantly communicating and working with one another to get deliverables out the door, while investing time in each other's career growth--including mine. With every project or task I was given, I was able to openly ask questions and my co-workers happily answered. With every project I completed, I was given feedback and constructive criticism, which helped me better understand my weaknesses and how to turn them into strengths.

Keep in mind, the PR industry is extremely detail-oriented, so having a group of individuals willing to share recommendations and feedback on work is incredibly important and the best way to improve your skills. 

Expectation: I will be spending the entire day writing press releases.

Reality: While the PR industry is writing-heavy, I wasn't solely writing media materials. Now, don't get me wrong. I wrote my fair share of press releases and media alerts, but I spent the majority of my time completing other writing assignments. From crafting calendar listings to editorial calendars, I touched so many different projects, which taught me how to write professionally, craft creative content and change my voice to best reflect the client I'm writing for and better connect with the intended audience.

I’m so incredibly grateful to have spent my first internship with Curator. I've never been surrounded by a harder working group of individuals. At the end of the day, I'm glad this internship didn't meet my expectations because I wouldn't have gained the knowledge, experience or skills I'm now taking back with me to San Diego. I'm happy that I'm able to walk away with more real-world PR experience than I could have ever imagined. Thank you, Curator!

Curator Newsfeed: July 2017

Summer is in full swing here in Seattle and we're loving every second of it. If only the past month hadn't flown by so quickly! As you prepare to enjoy the rest of your summer, before entering full-on back-to-school mode, take a few minutes to read through some of our recent client coverage. With that being said, sit back, relax and take advantage of the Seattle sunshine before it disappears!

Client Coverage:

30 Things You Must Do This Summer In San Francisco, Huffington Post

Portland Date Night at Henry's TavernMommy on the Mound

Whole Kids Foundation Launches Organic Education App, Progressive Grocer

This New App Teaches Kids and Parents About Eating HealthyMartha Stewart

Chef Ethan Stowell and Delta425 Magazine

Date Night at Henry's!, Fashion Sensored

This Is How To Honeymoon In Vegas Like An A-ListerWedding Bells

Delta Adds a Southern Oregon RoutePortland Business Journal

Review: We Play Sway, The Game Of Debate And Silver LiningsLioness Magazine

Stanford Shopping Center's Summer JazzLuxe and Linen

Fashion Friday: Summer TrendsKTVA Alaska

Our Staff Loves These Things and Thought You Might, TooBoulder County Home & Garden

How do you measure PR results?

Appropriately tracking and measuring results is what illustrates the value of public relations. It is critical in both defining success and mapping goals to outcomes. 

At Curator, we evaluate both quantitatively and qualitatively to benchmark our work. Quantitatively, we look at things such as the volume of coverage, media impressions and social media engagement such as likes and comments. Qualitatively, we can gauge earned media, including articles and TV segments, through tone, position and placements highly visible to readers and viewers.

We see how PR impacts business metrics for our partners such as web traffic, sales or growth on social media. For example, after Curator landed Sway a feature story in Upworthy, they quickly saw their greatest influx in sales and social media activity ever. The game sold out of stock!

Similarly, Curator brokered a partnership between Ably and the nomadic adventurer behind Expert Vagabond when the brand was launching via a Kickstarter. More than a year after that partnership, Ably is still tracking web traffic that is directly attributed to the Expert Vagabond post

The tools available for measurement are often dependent on the scope of work and the budget. These systems and analysis are how are team reports on brand impact and effective earned media. 

Be a Capable and Competent Spokesperson

Our team recently led one-day, immersive media trainings for a couple of our client teams. These workshops were incredibly productive and practical, covering everything from crisis to consumer interview scenarios.

The purpose was to prepare our brand voice representatives to be impactful media spokespersons and to create transferable skills that go beyond media relations. Today, we’re sharing some of these best practices with you.

There are four phases of an interview cycle. First, preparation by establishing the objectives of the interview and defining your top three key messages with supporting points. Be an expert instead of a salesperson with strong and concise information to share.

Phase two is execution. Constantly drive your answers back to your objective to shape and steer the interview. Remember than an interview is a series of one-off questions, not a conversation. Everything is on the record. Other critical tips to be cognizant of: ask the reporter to rephrase loaded or confusing questions and absolutely take the offer to provide anything they missed. Flag vital points with phrases such as “what your readers need to know is…” or “the important thing to remember is…”

The third step is to debrief with your team to review how the interview went and to determine next steps. Interviews are an incredible opportunity to share your brand’s news and reach consumers through a credible third party. Recapping the interview’s successful will help inform what’s next.

Finally, once the interview publishes, repurpose the content from the article, blog post or TV segment by sharing it. Post to your social media channels and tag the news outlet, reporter and/or influencer and include the link on the news page of your website.

Curator Newsfeed: June 2017

The overcast skies in Seattle have officially disappeared and we're enjoying what we hope will be three months of continuous sunshine and pure bliss. As you gear up for backyard BBQs, beach trips and overdue travel plans, take a moment to soak up the sun and read through some of our favorite client coverage from the month of June. You might just find a last-minute, must-have travel piece, thirst-quenching beverage or family-friendly game to top off your holiday weekend. Happy Fourth!

Client Coverage:

19 Amazing Father's Day Gifts Your Dad Will Actually UseBuzzfeed

Pack Light! Travel Gear That Folds Up Small and Snaps Right BackMen's Journal

The Hop Reviews Vol. 13: A Monthly Beer Review, The Hop Review

Secret Las Vegas: 35 Insider Tips From The LocalsForbes

Working Geek: Srikant Vemparala captains the 9Logic Technologies ship, with focus on new gameGeekWire

Do I Need an Attitude Adjustment? Remember: Everything Has a Silver Lining, Sweet Snapchat (view from mobile device)

Pyramid H7 Unfiltered Imperial IPA | San Diego Beer Vlog EP 608Beer Geek Nation

Buying locally made nutrition bars is beneficial, in more ways than oneAustin Women

{DATE NIGHT IN THE CITY}Raspberry Glow

You could be the first fan to join the Sounders FC teamSeattle Refined

Seattle Sounders FC Stefan Frei talks Fan XIKING 5

To Gain You Must Maintain

As Stephanie and Kate have both discussed recently on the blog, influencer relationships are of growing importance. Here at Curator we are experts at cultivating those relationships, but how does your brand maintain them? It’s imperative to continue fostering those relationships with regular communication. Like friendships, if someone only reaches out when she needs something, the relationship isn’t likely to last long-term. We recommend engaging in the simple ways outlined below to continue to care for and foster established influencer relationships.

Support their platforms.

  • Influencers work hard to build strong followings on social media and their blogs. Continue to follow them, visit their blogs and websites and support events or programs they host when possible.

Interact with their content.

  • Regularly ‘like’ and comment on their social posts.
  • When there is a compelling fit and it’s appropriate to do so, share or repost their content with your own followers.

Expand your network.

  • Influencers follow and interact with other influencers, often building a strong network and community. Pay attention to the other influencers that engage with the content shared by your existing partners. Where there’s overlap or synergy, begin to follow and interact with that influencer’s content as well.

Not Child’s Play: The economic influence of Generation Z

A new generation of consumers is growing up quickly and has increasing economic influence. This cohort immediately follows Millennials, but they’re vastly different than their older peers. Meet Generation Z.

Gen Zers are those born between 1995 and 2010. The oldest members in this generation are just turning 21-years-old, some are getting their driver’s licenses and the youngest are still in elementary school.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently conducted a study of this generation to help brands understand how these young consumers impact the family wallet. A few noteworthy themes emerged in what motivates Gen Z and how this bears on their spending power.

First, this generation grew up during the recession. Accordingly, they really care about the value a product, service or experience as much as the quality. While two thirds of this generation noted quality is the top factor in choosing brands, just as many (65%) want to get a lot for their money with discounts, coupons and rewards programs.

Gen Z was raised in a family democracy with parent consulting their children before making decisions. Parents seek their kids’ opinions on purchases specifically for them such as toys and apparel as well as family choices such as where to eat and vacation. 70% of Gen Zers surveyed influence family spending and their parents agree. The NRF shares, “Of the more than 1,000 parents of Gen Zers surveyed, 67% said they get their child’s input before making a purchase.”

 Lastly, Gen Z is the first set of true digital natives with technology ubiquitous to their upbringing. They’re accustomed to the urgency and connectedness of having never known a world without the Internet. Perhaps this is why 98% of Gen Z survey respondents make their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. There is no lull between an online order and shipment delivery. The immediacy of a brick-and-mortar transaction allows Gen Zers taking home their purchase instantly. 

With the back-to-school season approaching in the coming months, the target shoppers are members of Gen Z and their families. This NRF survey offer insights to inform Gen Z marketing for this critical retail season. 

New Season, New Intern: Meet Tracy Monk

Hello, everyone! My name is Tracy Monk and I am joining the Curator team as an intern this summer. I will be starting my junior year at San Diego State University this fall, and am majoring in business with an emphasis in marketing. I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to work alongside the creative and unique members of the Curator team. I’m looking forward to being able to combine my real-world experience with the concepts I’ve learned in my college classes.

New Season, New Intern: Meet Tracy MonkAlthough I spend most of my year in San Diego, I am a Seattleite at heart. I still live in my childhood home in Bellevue and love the Pacific Northwest, but I like to pretend that, after my two years in San Diego I’m quickly becoming a Southern California girl. I complain when it rains, I only drink my coffee iced and if it drops one degree below 65, you will find me wearing my warmest jacket.

When I’m not out pursuing my career dreams, you’ll probably find me exploring new cities with a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, soaking up all the San Diego sun at the beach or eating at a trendy new brunch spot! When I’m back home and the Seattle weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities (which, as you know, is often), you’ll find me curled up on the couch watching a movie from my extensive collection of DVD’s. On the rare occasion that I’m feeling athletic, you might just find me on a mountain taking in the beautiful scenery that Washington has to offer.

Say Hello to Our New Intern: Holly Warendorf

Hey! My name is Holly Warendorf and I am one of the new summer interns here at Curator PR. I will be entering my senior year in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management this fall where I am studying marketing and business analytics. I was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington and am so excited to return home for a few months. I can’t wait to enjoy another Seattle summer of boating on Lake Washington, going to Mariners games and, of course, learning more about the world of PR here at Curator!

I am returning home from a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark—if you haven’t been, I highly recommend you add it to your list. Copenhagen is a magical little city. It has colorful architecture, charming canals and the most amazing food. I had the privilege of spending five months gallivanting through Denmark and the rest of Europe to amazing places like Amsterdam, San Sebastian, Munich, Prague and Stockholm. Even though I do have a slight case of the Post Abroad Blues, I am still thrilled to be back in the States. I am looking forward to applying what I learned overseas at Copenhagen Business School to what I will be doing here this summer!

When I am not in class, interning or traveling, you can probably find me watching some kind of comedy— I love a good laugh. I’m not ashamed to say I think I have seen every single stand-up special on Netflix. John Mulaney is by far my favorite, and I have watched his routines so many times I can probably recite them word-for-word. I am also a dedicated SNL follower. I made sure to watch each new show live during my time in Europe, despite the fact I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch because of the a nine-hour time difference.

Curator Newsfeed: May 2017

Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy month here at Curator as we keep up with our amazing clients and prepare to move into our new building next week. Lots of exciting things have been going on and summer is sneaking up fast, but before we look ahead, let’s slow down and take a look at some of our favorite client coverage from last month!

For our client Simon Property Group, we partnered with incredible fashion and lifestyle bloggers to highlight malls’ Mother’s Day steals and deals, as well as fundraising events for Susan G. Komen. Additionally, our client Ably was featured in GOLF as must-have, active apparel for golf trips, and our client Chooka in Denver Life, featuring fun footwear designs and styles to make a true spring statement!

Check out more of our clients in the links below!

Client Coverage:

Small Business Week: Colorado Mills mall makes local retailers part of its mix, Denver Business Journal

10 Eco-Friendly Brands to Add to Your Suitcase, Drink Tea & Travel

Henry’s Tavern Planning Two New Offshoots This Summer, Seattle Eater

2017 Local Food Heroes, Edible Austin

The New Bee Bubble, Edible Austin

A Bloom for Every Room, Gentry Home

Budget-Friendly Outfits from Santa Rosa Plaza, Whiskey and Lace

The New Delicious: Deschutes, Silver City, Great Notion, Heathen and Pyramid Get REAL, The Pour Fool

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas & Local Event, By Brittani Lauren

How to Pack for a Golf Trip, GOLF

Mother’s Day Gifts from Stoneridge Shopping Center, Raspberry Glow

529 New School Gardens Funded by Whole Kids Foundation, Garden Center Magazine

Mother’s Day Gift Guide, Obsessed by Portia

Make a Splash with Spring’s Prettiest Rain Boots, Denver Life

Mother’s Day Shopping at The Shops at Mission Viejo, Cupcakes & Cutlery

What to Buy Your Mom This Mother’s Day, Willamette Week

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Interview with Joy Stoddard, Development and Outreach Director of Whole Planet Foundation, The Good Trade

It’s a Pop Culture Party: ThinkGeek to Celebrate Grand Opening of New Store at Tacoma Mall, GeekWire

Conscious Collaboration: The New Competitive Advantage for Nonprofits, Philanthropy News Digest

Something Else the Romans Conquered in Vegas: Shoppers. Forum Shops, First on the Strip, Mark 25 Years, Los Angeles Times

Walk the Plank, Pokèmon, New AR Game ‘Captain Blimey’ Promises Huge Digital Treasure Hunt, GeekWire