Intern Thoughts

Internship Takeaways

My time at Curator has come to a close and what I have learned over the past 10 weeks will not only stay with me, but hopefully will lead me to an entry-level position post graduation. Below are the three major takeaways from my time at Curator.

Prioritization is key
Working on so many accounts is an incredible learning experience, but can be overwhelming. With different supervisors for each account all asking you to work on time-consuming projects, it is important to prioritize your work. When you first get into the office, list out all the tasks that need to get done that day in order of urgency. Cross them off as you go to feel a huge sense of accomplishment! Also, make sure to give supervisors status updates on when projects will likely be finished or if you need additional time in order to finish a more time-sensitive assignment. They will understand and appreciate the heads up!

Say yes to new projects
When asked if you’d like to work on a project, the answer is always a resounding "yes!" How else will you learn? When asked if I could work on a graphic design project, I gave a hesitant “yes,” initially thinking I lacked the skill set required, but I succeeded. Consequently, I was handed additional design projects, which turned out to be my favorite tasks to work on. Now, I’m considering a graphic design certificate program to pair with my communication degree! This wouldn’t be the case had I said “no,” without making an attempt. 

Small contributions are important
It can be disheartening, repeatedly working on seemingly insignificant projects when you want to dive in. Remember, you’re an intern and you are here to get your feet wet (don’t worry, I’m finished with the swim analogy now). You will come to realize that even the smallest of tasks is part of a much larger picture. Your contributions are necessary and important to the team, so be diligent no matter the task.

Thank you, Curator!
- Your Summer intern

How to Attract a Millennial Audience

Traditional media is in the process of undergoing its greatest evolution yet. Why? To stay relevant with Millennials.

Accustomed to a digitally saturated upbringing and driven by convenience, an entire generation is consuming news on mobile devices and on social channels. This "convenience model" suggests that the balance of power is shifting toward the consumer who searches for simple and seamless ways to consume content, anywhere. With this in mind, we dig into how the PR pros can attract this particular audience. 

Pitch to publications that utilize visuals, as visual storytelling is the easiest way to gain traction among a Millennial audience. 

According to HubSpot, Facebook posts with images get 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments than the average post, while tweets with pictures are nearly twice as likely to be retweeted. Content with compelling images receives 94 percent more views than content without because humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. 

According to Omnivideo, if an image is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 1.8 million! Replacing online print media with short video segments will only increase viewership and engagement. Publications such as Refinery29, Dodo, AJ+ and NowThis are utilizing video in order to share content directly on social, making content convenient for consumers to watch and engage with. Pitch them. 

Visual storytelling increases views and engagement, and editors are in the know. With editors of major publications urging journalists to include visual content in articles, you can increase your odds of receiving coverage by distributing multimedia press releases. 

Cision found that multimedia press releases receive 77 percent more traffic, while 55 percent of journalists and media professionals stated in a Business Wire study that they are more likely to review a press release with multimedia. Now, go hire a photographer or videographer! 

In the past year, we have seen the video-enabled Internet rivaling television as a more convenient destination for breaking news. Social media platforms are making news consumption more possible with the introduction of “auto play” to grab the attention of users. 

It is important to note that real-time content must be tailored to individual platforms to be effective in attracting the Millennial audience. Snapchat allows only 10 seconds of visual content at a time, while Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope allow for unlimited live-streaming, effective in covering events. Coachella Music Festival and the DNC are among a very long list of events streamed live over the past year. 

Subscriber-based email newsletters have recently been resurrected due to their convenience. Lenny Letter, Rookie Mag and Goop may even be more convenient than the monster that is social media.   

Just as successful publications are placing content where consumers already are (social media), newsletters are sending content directly to consumers via the original social channel that everyone has -- email. 

Subscriber-based e-newsletters are also much more effective, receiving more clicks than click-baiting social posts. You see, email marketing is targeted at consumers who have already indicated an interest in your product by signing up for the newsletter. This means they are increasingly likely to open it and share via that old 'forward' feature. 

Why I Love Interning at a Small Agency

There are countless Seattle-based PR agencies to intern for. While most college students on the road to a career in public relations may think name recognition of a sizable agency on a resume will help in the pursuit of a full-time position, I have realized otherwise. I chose to work at Curator due to its size and I love working at a small agency – here’s why!

I feel like an important part of the team

While I was often left with little or seemingly insignificant work to complete at a large agency, at Curator I am given much more responsibility than the typical intern. In fact, I have accomplished more at Curator within one month than I did in three months at a past, larger agency. My first week here, I was assigned the task of drafting press releases, which I didn’t touch until the latter half of my last work experience. And not once have I answered a phone or gone on a coffee run, unless invited by my coworkers!

I have gotten to know everyone I work with

The importance of networking is drilled into our minds, but having 500+ LinkedIn connections is only useful if they all know your work. I have worked on projects with each of my colleagues at Curator, including our Principal. This has given me a better grasp of working in the PR field. I also love the small office culture. Working at a small agency allows you to really get to know your colleagues, who can offer valuable advice and recommendations post-graduation.

I wear many different hats

Experience is essential and internships offer that opportunity to learn what coursework cannot teach. At a small agency, I have been afforded the opportunity to touch varied accounts and projects. Not only am I gaining skills in monitoring press coverage and writing press materials, but I am also working with social media and graphic design. Curator has allowed me to expand my portfolio greatly, which will only help me in the long run.  

From One Intern to the Next…

Image courtesy of Unsplah

Image courtesy of Unsplah

As my time at Curator comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on some of the most important things I’ve learned here. Internships are hard work, but they can be incredibly rewarding if you give them your all. Here are the key takeaways I got from my internship, and some advice on how you can succeed in your own:

Be curious

The whole purpose of an internship is to learn, so never be afraid to ask questions. However, there is something to be said about figuring out the solution to a problem on your own. Be resourceful and genuinely curious, because you can learn a lot when you give yourself the opportunity to do so.

Put 100% effort into everything, even the small stuff

As an intern, sometimes you might feel like you’re being given all the work that no one else wants to do. But remember that being an intern is all about building upon your abilities. Show that you can succeed at the small stuff so that you are trusted with the bigger stuff. How you handle the less fun tasks is the truest reflection of your work ethic.

Be adaptive

Throughout your internship, but especially in the beginning, you might be asked to work on a project you have zero background knowledge on. When this happens, you have to be willing to learn. If you don’t do your own research on the front end of projects, your outcome won’t be very good. Friendly reminder that Google is your best friend!

Celebrate your successes

You’ll go through a bunch of different projects in a given day, and just like you might make a mistake here and there, you’ll also do some awesome things. When you’re told you did a good job, be excited about it! Be aware of both your weaknesses and your strengths so you know what to work on and what to be proud of.

And last but certainly not least…

Be detail oriented!!

If there was just one thing I took away from this internship, it’s that the details matter the most! Correct your typos, fix your formatting, and keep your projects organized. You will be dealing with a lot of moving parts throughout your internship, so keep it all straight so you never miss anything. Being detail oriented is THE key to success. 

Four Reasons Why You Should Accept an Internship Extension

Photo by  @k.rickkks

Photo by @k.rickkks

I started as an intern at Curator in December and once winter quarter ended, I decided to stay another three months. As this is an unpaid internship, I had a lot of friends asking why I would stay when I could have an easy final quarter before I graduate. I simply explained I wanted the extra experience.

Well, now that my time is coming to an end, I can say I’m glad I stayed.

My advice to all the interns out there is this: if you’re given the opportunity to extend your internship, whether you’re paid or not, you should definitely accept. Here’s why:

You get three extra months of experience. For college students, most PR internships have a timeframe of three months, which seems like a while but, in reality, is barely enough time to get your toes wet. Toward the end, you finally start catching a rhythm and making fewer mistakes on tasks that actually take a lot of practice to perfect, although they may seem easy. In this field, you’re expected to pay excellent attention to detail, which can take a great deal of practice for some people.

You get to take on bigger tasks. If you’ve been offered an extension on your internship, this is your opportunity to do more and learn new things. You’ve proven your ability to get things done and complete basic research and media monitoring efficiently, as well as shown eagerness to take on additional projects. In the second half of my internship, I spent the majority of my time on different projects that I found I really enjoyed. The opportunity to expand my work really solidified PR is the field I want to pursue post-graduation.

You get to know the team better. And they get to know you. Three months is not a lot of time to get to know your colleagues. The people in the company where you intern are helpful for networking or finding jobs down the road. Between every day office chatter and collaborative work on various account teams, you get to know one another on an individual basis, allowing for a better understanding of each others work style and ethics. As an intern, you learn and grow a lot – they get to witness that and if you use them as a reference later on, they’ll probably speak to your improvement and personality. Plus, they’ll also continue to give you valuable advice.

You get a better feel for the bigger picture. As an intern, you’re usually doing smaller projects and you only get to see one piece of the pie. When you stay at an agency for a longer period of time, you get to see the outcome of the projects you worked on three months prior. You get to see so many initiatives unfold and witness all that goes into it. That gives you a better idea of the types of things you might do later in your career.

Interning is such a valuable experience in general and I can definitely say I’m leaving Curator a better student and young professional than I was when I walked in. I’ve had a great experience in the last six months at Curator and I’m so sad to go!

A Three-Piece Typography Starter Kit

Being that most of our written communication is comprised of type, I think it behooves just about everybody to get a little basic break down of typography. Understanding just a few principles can really help you to make your presentations, agendas or your family's holiday update letter to feel more professional and to look nicer. It's not just about looking sleek: paying attention to your type can actually help you to get your points across more clearly. Better still, everything I'm going to talk about you can do in Microsoft Word. Best of all, I won't even get all completely technical type-nerdy on you.

My starter kit for killer typography boils down to just three umbrella rules: 1. Be Context Aware 2. Create Contrast 3. Go Simple So ditch the 12-point Times New Roman and let's try something fun!

1. Be Context Aware The most important thing to recognize in selecting a font is how it will be used and what message the words in that font will impart. Consider the level of impact you want each item to have, what sort of mood you want to convey. This infographic section has a pretty simple breakdown of different categories of fonts (or typefaces, if you do want to get technical).



Another thing to be aware of is readability. Always make sure to set body copy in a legible, clean font. Serif fonts are generally easier to read for lengthy bodies of text, which explains why most books are set in serif fonts. However, for any broken-up text boxes or block-text the length of – oh-let's-just-say – a cover letter, a crisp sans serif can also make a legible and engaging impact. Furthermore, people tend to err on the side of picking fonts that are larger than necessary. Twelve-point is kind of a default in Word, but when printing, I almost never print body copy at more than 10-point, frequently going as small as 7-point or 8-point (it helps to add a bit of space between lines to increase legibility). If your body text is that small, you probably don't need huge headings either–just enough difference to be understood as different types of information. The rules are a little different on screen though; things need to be a bit bigger, which usually means using type that that's about the size you would normally expect to use anyway.

2. Go Simple There are loads of resource sites (Check out Font Squirrel, Google Fonts, and The League of Moveable Type for starts.) where you can get free fonts that range from highly practical and useful additions to your library, to exciting-and-fun fonts that can look a bit ridiculous if overused. Don't overdo it; be sparing with all the crazy-cool decorative fonts to punch up the overall feel of whatever you're making. Think of decorative fonts like neon: a great fashion accent, but it takes a real fashionista with a wild streak to pull off a whole outfit. For example, the largest headers or the title work well with creative fonts being that they are short and surrounded by extra space, but I wouldn't recommend applying them to subheadings–that can get overpowering and illegible (and for the love of Eric Gill, never set paragraphs in script).

The key point of maintaining simplicity is to limit yourself to two or (as needed) three typefaces in a document. One to two of these should typically be very utilitarian and legible, while the other can be a little more expressive in terms of mood. If you don't know what to think about a particular font, search up some reviews. Designers are typically very vocal online, sharing resources and opinions steadily.

3. Create Contrast

The last step is to consider how to create variety in your document. It's helpful to establish something of a hierarchy of information. Different parts are assigned different levels of importance or relate to different elements. The best way to differentiate and help readers quickly ascertain what relationships exist between different pieces of written information is to use different fonts. Think of all the different types of information you might have: headers, subheaders, body, contact info, captions, quotes, time schedules– it's a lot of different things. But didn't I just caution against using more than 2-3 typefaces? Well, sure, but it's all about how you treat them.

A single typeface, particularly a good one, has a lot of breadth. You can use it in all capitals or small caps; italic or bold. Many typefaces have ultra-light or ultra-black weights in their indexes. Capitalize on them! As always, size and scale are other ways to create contrast within a document, but if you can treat the scale with more subtlety and work different weights and complimentary type pairings instead, you'll find you have a more sophisticated final product. When choosing your typefaces, the trick is too make sure that they not only aren't too similar,  but that they also compliment each other. Usually, pairing a sans serif and a serif will work in your favor, but there are some handy pairing guides (herehere, and also here) that I've enjoyed and made use of to help you start. It's a commonly held belief that typography is such a utilitarian element of communication that it doesn't necessarily need to be original so much as it needs to be good. So feel free to seek out and employ precedents. A final helpful way to create contrast is to find different ways of breaking up text. Use columns or pull quotes to add variety to your reader's flow. As we all know, nobody really likes to look at long monotonous documents so the more points of interest, the easier to engage people with content(cue the guffaws at my ultimate failure to provide such things in this post).

Now if you've made it this far, you're basically qualified to take on my internship (That's everything: my entire design BA in a blog post). If you're nerdy enough to still be curious, check this out because it will make you smarter and cooler almost immediately. I wish you all Garamondspeed in your future day-to-day typographic endeavors.

Hit the Ground Running

My first week of interning at Curator has already been chock full of new adventures and experiences. This is the first time I have spent any real time in Seattle, apart from visiting the traditional tourist sites, and so far I love it, though I am still paranoid about missing my train in the mornings.

This week I was looking for inspiration, not just for my first blog post, but for my career in general. I found it in the form of an article in the Ragan newsletter titled 15 Shakespearean Quotes for PR Pros. I have always been a Shakespeare fan, but I was curious to see how someone could apply the Bard to PR. A few of these really spoke to me, so I thought I would share them:

An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told. -  King Richard III, Act IV, Scene IV

In PR it's one thing to craft elegant messages, it's quite another to create news or hard facts where none readily exist. The best PR practitioners don’t make stuff up.

Nothing will come of nothing. - King Lear, Act I, Scene I

You can't build a solid program or campaign until you've done your research, and know what measurable objectives you're trying to reach. In PR, you need to be mindful of the best ways to reach your key audience and get them to engage. Without taking the time to do research into, this your campaign tactics are simply shots in the dark and will not deliver the results you need.

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. - Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V

There's nothing wrong with starting your PR program modestly. Some of the best campaigns start out small. The main thing is to keep on going.

One example of this is starting a Twitter hashtag campaign. In 2011, Edge Shave Gel started the Twitter hashtag campaign #soirratating where they encourage people to share what irritates them and then try and to find a solution to that irritation. In a matter of months Edge gained 1,500 followers on Twitter and the hashtag had had been used over 6,800 times!

Brevity is the soul of wit. -  Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

Articulate and intelligent communication should use few, but wisely chosen words. This has become especially true when writing for social media channels. If you can’t tailor your messages to a few sentences or under 140 characters, then social media is not the place for them.

While I am still in the process of familiarizing myself with all of the Curator clients and getting to know everybody in the office, I’ve already been included in a number of meetings, written blog posts and created media lists. Work has been fast paced, and I am sure that soon I will be taking on even more responsibility, which I am looking forward to. Keeping organized and on top of my work will be critical, but so long as I abide by the immortal words of Shakespeare, “Better three hours too soon than one minute late,” I will have no problems. - Elizabeth Glavish, Curator Intern