Monthly Archives: July 2010
July 23, 2010
When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in or what career path I wanted to pursue for my future. Once I started taking business courses, I became very interested in marketing and advertising and decided to make it my major. After taking a few marketing courses, I had a better feel for it but still didn’t know what to expect from a career in marketing. I decided to apply for an internship to learn about my potential career field and gain real life work experience.
Interning at a firm that primarily focuses on public relations was a whole new world for me. In the beginning, I had difficulty understanding PR. Having studied mostly the advertising aspect of marketing, I could hardly differentiate it from public relations. The fact is most people not working in this field wouldn’t be able to explain the difference. I began to understand PR when I recognized the difference between PR and advertising.
In a nutshell, in advertising the company pays for ad space, has complete creative control on what goes into the ad, and knows exactly when that ad will air or be published. The main purpose is to promote a product or service that a company offers. Unlike advertising, in PR your job is to promote a company’s image and reputation by getting free publicity for that company. You need to strive for positive publicity, because in the end you have no control over how the media decides to present your information. Despite their differences, the two often work hand in hand.
I am now in my eighth week of my internship with MWW and my experience so far has been exceptional. Everyone is very friendly and helpful. I am looking forward to my last few weeks. I look forward to gaining more experience and learning more about the PR industry.
July 20, 2010
In an ideal world, one would go to college, graduate, and find a job at a company they love. However, the truth of the matter is that experience should be the number one qualification for any young graduate trying to find a job…especially in this economy. That is why I strongly believe that one of the most important things any student can do during their college career is to get as much internship experience as possible. You can spend countless hours in the classroom, and get straight A’s throughout your courses, but what employers really love to see is actual hands-on experience.
I attended William Paterson University and received my degree in Marketing and Management; however it wasn’t until I graduated that I discovered I had a true passion for the public relations industry.
When given the opportunity to be one of MWW Group’s Consumer interns, I jumped at the offer. I was very eager to learn more about public relations by utilizing the knowledge I had in Marketing and Management.
From the start, everyone on the team was extremely helpful and willing to teach me about the tasks at-hand. I was also given a lot of responsibility and assignments that helped me learn faster and made me feel like I was contributing to the bigger picture.
I remember a month into my internship, I was asked to compile a press release for one of our clients and pitch it to several media outlets. Though I was a bit nervous at first, my colleagues trusted me to get the job done successfully. I am pleased to say I have now composed press releases, pitch letters, and media advisories for clients including NutriSystem, Sara Lee and Gold’s Gym. Furthermore, I am continuing to learn more and more each day that is contributing to my growth in the public relations field.
At this point in my life I am very thankful for the people who have steered me in the right direction here at MWW Group. The level of experience I have received through my internship is tremendously valuable and has provided me with the tools I need to further advance my career in public relations. I am grateful to have worked with such a smart, talented and helpful team, who has made my internship experience so amazing.
July 16, 2010
In college I learned about non-profit, agency, healthcare and corporate public relations. Not once did a professor mention public affairs as another area. I had no idea that it existed. In becoming an associate in public affairs, I was taking a leap into the unknown.
Before beginning this internship, I couldn’t give a description of what exactly PR professionals do in public affairs. My mind was programmed through college courses and internships to think nothing but promoting a brand or service through typical methods common to public relations.
However, I learned that public affairs is not about promoting a brand or a service, but goes behind the scenes and helps companies manage issues. Instead of trying to get the public interested in a product, in public affairs we perform tasks like help business owners track legislation regarding an issue that may impact their company or draw attention to research and legislation that can benefit them.
For our efforts we commonly turn towards elected official support. We utilize this powerful tool to invite officials to events and to gain support or spread knowledge of issues regarding client or competitor issues. I have first handedly had the chance to write letters and do outreach to elected officials for these reasons. As an example, I attended a McDonalds “Check It Out” event where a Councilman for the area attended. Not only does this councilman now know of the positive and educational activities that McDonalds does, we have created a relationship where the public is aware of client activities.
Additionally, I have learned about clients and issues that directly affect people and the way they live life. From working on iGPS, a plastic pallet company that uses GPS to track the contents on the pallet, I am now knowledgeable about the health aspect of shipping safety. Through research, blog articles, and competitors in the pallet industry, I now know about the risk of bacteria-related problems that are being spread through wood pallets versus the plastic pallets of iGPS. Most of the clients that we work with have intentions of offering the public a service or product that betters their lives in some way.
In nearing the end of my journey as a Public Affairs Associate, I can say that I have a firm grasp on its definition and practices. The next time someone asks me what exactly public affairs is, I can say with confidence that it is the use of public relations strategies and methods with an understanding of politics to help inform the public of all sides of an issue so they can create their own educated and well-rounded opinion not swayed by a potentially biased media.
July 13, 2010
I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy guy. I can handle a laptop well, effortlessly navigate the web, and I’ve been known to perform a little of my own Geek Squad maintenance on a hard drive from time to time. I thought I had a decent grip on what computer technology was all about, but when I was introduced to cloud computing, my tech resume suddenly seemed pathetically underwhelming.
It was during my first few days in the Seattle office while I was receiving a briefing on Hubspan, a growing company in Seattle and one of our tech clients, that I was first formally introduced to the term cloud computing. The account manager mentioned cloud computing was a topic of growing interest in the technology community for analysts, media and bloggers alike and that Hubspan offered a cloud-based business integration platform. It was at this point in the briefing where I gave my manager one of those blank affirming head nods, complimented with an “Oh, yea, ok. Cloud computing, of course,” even though I had no idea what she was talking about. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to ask questions, it was just that I was so clueless about cloud computing I didn’t know where to start.
When I went back to my desk and started researching cloud computing to better familiarize myself with the topic for a project, it felt like I was reading a foreign language. There are billions…alright, that’s an exaggeration…maybe only millions of acronyms in the cloud computing world that all stand for phrases made up of seven-syllable words that haven’t even been recognized by Webster’s yet. Let’s just say if Rosetta Stone made a cloud computing edition I would have gone out after work and bought it.
As I continued to work on projects, write press releases, and conduct research for Hubspan, things finally started to click as I began to engage myself in the tech world of cloud computing. The more I tried to understand what Hubspan was really all about the easier it was to notice industry trends and popular topics of discussion. I somehow even began to memorize what all the acronyms stood for. It became apparent to me that to best serve my client I had to step out of my world and into theirs by becoming a well-informed expert on the company.
Realizing the immense value of being versatile and quick on your feet in the PR world has been a major learning point for me during my internship. Working at a firm that has clients in industries all across the board means being a specialist is out of the question. If anything, a PR practitioner’s best bet is to specialize in being a generalist.
There have been times when I have worked on tasks for a financially focused client, a client in the tech sector, one in the consumer world, and another in the joystick-rumbling arena of gaming all in the same day. Those days can get pretty crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Working with all these different clients means there is never a boring day in the office. It keeps me on my toes and forces me to be well-rounded, but most importantly, it allows me to drop a sentence like, “If they reconfigured their COA platform into more of a CSA style program then it could really benefit SME’s concerned with protecting their private cloud through methods of tokenization,” without skipping a beat.
July 9, 2010
Since I started my internship here at MWW Group, I have been assigned to work with the Gold’s Gym team. Being the gym rat that I am, I couldn’t be happier with the client I was assigned to. The team is great and my Supervisors keep me well informed with everything that is going on and truly make me feel part of the team. In my time here at MWW Group, I have been given many different tasks, I enjoyed being “thrown into the fire” with each new assignment because my Supervisors were looking more to see where I fit in on the team, along with wanting me to learn as much as possible about all the different facets of PR. A little nerve-racking at first, but this method helped to make the most out of my opportunities and provide some of my best work when under pressure or in uncomfortable situations. Originally, I was spending a lot of time researching client information and creating media lists, but as time went on, my focus was generated more towards media monitoring, writing pitches and press releases.
Media Monitoring has become my daily routine when I first enter the office in the morning and it has opened up my eyes to social media coverage and the buzz it can create for a client. I use Google News, Google Alerts and Radian6 to cover all the articles, blog posts and Twitter mentions regarding Gold’s Gym from the previous day. The task seemed overwhelming at first but after a few days and some good direction I got the hang of it pretty well.
Another big piece of my time here at MWW Group was devoted to writing pitches and press releases. I enjoyed this writing very much because it allowed me to be more creative throughout the day.
One of my biggest projects was working on the new GGX for Kids Program. This new program blends together fitness fundamentals with yoga, and dance to entertain customer’s kids while they are working out. The new “Gold’s Kids” fitness program is a great incentive to help parents keep their kids fit and healthy this summer. I was first given the outlets we were targeting and directed to compile a Media List, after that I began writing the pitch. Once I had compiled my list and written my pitch for the program I had to pitch it to the media and follow up with any reporters or broadcasters that were interested. All in all the GGX for Kids Program was a great experience because I was able to follow it from start to finish and learn an ideal amount about public relations along the way.
July 6, 2010
After hours fighting off sleep in lecture halls and poring over textbooks with 12 pt. font, an internship can help give meaning to all that students learn in class. We all know that internships are essential out-of-the-classroom learning experiences that allow students to apply their knowledge in a workplace setting and prepare for life after college.
But what about preparing students for life in college?
No doubt my summer as a corporate communications intern at MWW Group has allowed me to experience more than I could ever expect to learn in a classroom. I’ve been able to actually do the things I’ve heard teachers talk about, from media lists to pitching to finding impressions, as well as learn new things I didn’t even know were part of public relations. As I expected, I feel more prepared for “real life” after college—but I also feel more prepared to return to college.
I’m excited to see how I can apply what I learned this summer to my classes at Virginia Tech this fall. I feel that lectures and assignments will have a new degree of relevancy to my life, as I hope I’ll be able to see how they fit in a real public relations campaign. I think that having completed this internship will absolutely help me not only in the distant future, but also in a month when I return to school: I’ll be able to tackle assignments and exams with a new point of view, and maybe even stay awake through my 8 am communication research class.