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What I Learned From Working at a NYC PR Firm

By Tori Schubert

July 23, 2019

The current work climate can be daunting for young people graduating and entering the workforce; especially in New York City. As a recent graduate myself, I can say that the future is somewhat hazy. However, I am one of the lucky few who has had the opportunity in the past few months to gain experience working at a NYC PR firm. 

Due to COVID-19 most internships are remote, however this has not diminished the experience. Working for a PR firm based in New York City means that I have had a multitude of learning opportunities. 

Whether you are a recent graduate or a professional looking into making a career change, these are some things that I learned that might be helpful to know:

Public Relations Never Sleeps

In the city that never sleeps, PR is a profession that keeps up with its hours and ideals. There is always something to be done. Whether it be making a media list for a launch, pitching to a journalist, or just keeping up with the daily news cycle, PR professionals are always moving. 

I’ve learned that if there is ever a lag in assigned work to take initiative and start something new. 

Things move fast and you need to not only keep up, but try and stay ahead. If you finish an assignment that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything else to do. I have found that when I complete something, my manager will always have something else for me to do. The more you can get done the better because there is no shortage of tasks to be accomplished. 

Taking initiative and going above and beyond is something you should do in any job, not just PR, and will make you a more efficient employee. 

There Are No Small Jobs When You’re Working at a NYC PR Firm

Public Relations is not just brainstorming creative campaigns, and organizing glamorous launch events. There are so many little tasks that happen in the background of what the public sees. 

Behind the scenes of an amazing article placed in Forbes is a team of individuals researching journalists to pitch, analyzing different consumer and business angles, and writing up the perfect pitch. The task of making a media list of journalists that fit the story is just as important as putting together a campaign presentation. 

Every job is essential to the PR process, and should be treated as such. Just as in entertainment there are no small roles, in PR there are no small jobs.

Always Be Prepared 

It goes without saying that you should never go into anything unprepared. However, in my opinion this is even more important working in PR. You never know what is going to happen overnight, so you need to be on your game 24/7. It does not look good to be caught with your guard down, it is essential to always be ready for anything. 

For example, especially right now with COVID-19 new regulations keep springing up. In addition, with the BLM movement new information surfaces every day and it is important to stay educated and aware. Stay up to date with the news surrounding your client’s field of expertise, social media trends, and consumer preferences.

 Currently, I do Daily News Tracking every morning so that we know what is going on with competitors, and if there is any new relevant information. Also, it is good to be knowledgeable on calls with said client. 

It is your job to be the expert, so when they ask for advice be prepared to give well thought out insight. I’ve learned that preparation is fundamental in every aspect of PR and never something to skip over. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

In the wise words of Hannah Montana, “Nobody’s perfect”. You are going to make mistakes. That is unavoidable and also a part of the learning process. 

Not all of your ideas are always going to be winners, and some of them, when talked out, may leave you questioning why you ever said it. I have had my share of ideas that don’t work with the aesthetic of an Instagram or the ideals of the company. That is OKAY, learn from it.. Sometimes you will try something new and find out that it is not an area of strength for you. Discovering your strengths and weaknesses is important to knowing how to contribute in the best way. Also, never be afraid to ask questions because public relations is a team effort. The people you work with are there to help you out. I constantly have questions and have to ask others for clarification; it is better to clarify than to do something wrong. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. 

Working at a NYC PR Firm is Creative – Have Fun With It

Of course whenever you are working you need to give 110%. However, I firmly believe you can give your work everything you have while still enjoying what you do. Especially when working at a NYC PR firm, or PR in general; there is so much space for creativity. Take all that research you have and build something beautiful with it. If you have fun with your work, that comes across in the final project. 

A good working relationship with your co-workers is also essential, you should be able to  create killer PR strategies whilst laughing with each other. You can’t spend hours on the phone strategizing with just anyone.I have found that phone calls doing work with my fellow interns is not only lucrative but fun. 

My experience working for Channel V Media has been filled with good people and good conversation. If you don’t love what you do why do it? 

Working at a PR firm in New York City has been both educational and enjoyable. I have learned so much in a short period of time and cannot wait to continue to grow. If you had told me a year ago I was going to be graduating into a worldwide pandemic, I probably would have panicked. I could not have asked for a better opportunity, and although the world is a little bit scary right now, I feel prepared for whatever my future holds. I hope that what I have learned helps you feel a bit more ready too. 

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