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How to thrive in your PR internship

Shannon Buckley

As my time as a summer intern at Walker Sands draws to a close, I have realized all I have learned, and want to share my “wealth” of information with those that will come after me (I’m looking at you Fall interns!).

DO Make a prioritized to-do list each day that you actually follow. This will ensure nothing falls through the cracks during your busy day.

DO Monitor the news. Stay up to date on the news that is related to your clients. This is great for pitch ideas, and you’ll find reporters that may be perfect for your next media list.

DON’T Send any email without checking that you have the correct email address, and that your grammar and spelling is perfect.

DON’T Be afraid to speak up. Volunteer for tasks (if you have the bandwidth – don’t overload either!), and be sure to share your ideas! Add a different perspective as a newcomer to the clients.

DON’T send out any pitch to reporters you haven’t researched. Make sure you’re always tailoring your pitch and contact list to the news you are sharing in order to maintain positive relationships with the reporters in your area.

DO Take the time to get to know your coworkers. You’re spending 40 hours a week with great people with similar interests as you – you’ll have a better experience if you get to know them – and you’ll make valuable connections for later on.

DO Ask questions! But be sure to think everything through yourself first – develop your problem solving skills. The answer could be in a previous email, client website or even a quick Google search.

DO be human and polite! Always answer a reporter who responds to you– even if you get rejected – they took the time to write a response to you, you should do the same. Bonus points if you follow up with reporters you worked with when their story is posted with something you liked about their article.

Those are my top tips for now. One of the best things about public relations is that you will learn something new every day, whether it is something about public relations or your clients.

If you’re interested in getting hands-on PR experience in Chicago, I would highly recommend applying for one of Walker Sands PR internship positions.