The End of an Incredible Journey

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was nervously starting my first day at Schneider Associates, so it’s even more unbelievable that today is my last. I have had such an incredible experience this summer. I have moved from a rural town in Virginia to a small apartment in Boston, a transition I loved. Most importantly, I have gained valuable experience in the marketing and PR industry and made connections that I will treasure. photo

I am filled with gratitude to those who helped me on my journal. Most importantly, the Dickinson Internship Grant provided me with the funds without which I would not have been able to take part in this experience. As I continue working as a virtual intern with Schneider Associates during my fall semester, I hope to continue learning and growing as I am exposed to more industry knowledge. I have truly found my passion this summer and am excited to begin my career.

 

 

 

Life’s Better in the BID!

Over the course of the summer, Schneider Associates interns were put into groups and given a theoretical scenario. My group was assigned one of the SA clients, the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, and asked to create an integrated marketing and PR campaign to promote it. We spend the entire summer developing a proposal and were able to present it to the executive board last week. Our CEO, Joan Schneider, seemed impressed with our work, so asked us to give the presentation directly to the client. Obviously, this was extremely exciting news as it was an honor that no group had ever received in the past. We spend the next few days cleaning up the presentation so that it would be client-ready.

BID lunch

Two days later, my group, along with Joan Schneider and other SA employees, walked to the BID headquarters just a few blocks away to discuss our plans with President Rosemarie Sansone along with other staffers. She was extremely receptive to our ideas to connect with the large college student market in Boston. We included a weekend-long Welcome Back Bash as well as some creative social media strategies in our proposal that they plan to consider for their future campaigns. Overall, it was an extremely rewarding experience and I am so grateful I had the chance to interact with one of our clients. Read the blog post I wrote about the meeting here: http://www.schneiderpr.com/blog/sa-interns-present-life-is-better-in-the-bid-campaign/

Intern Workshop: Social Media as Part of Your Brand

“Social Media Profiles as Part of Your Brand” was our third intern workshop. In it, we discussed how

important social media profiles can be, especially in the communications industry.

 

LinkedIn is obviously the most professional social network. It is important to keep the information

updated and double check it with your resume to make sure it is accurate. It can be helpful to share

relevant industry news as it demonstrates that you are passionate about your work. Make sure to

add people that you actually have professional connections with. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for

recommendations if you believe that you have truly done a good job.

 

Facebook is a personal social network, but that doesn’t keep employers from checking into it. While it is

important to still show that you have a personality, clean up your profile and remove any unprofessional

or inappropriate pictures or posts. While you may want to show off your beer pong skills with a series

of photos, your future employer may assume that that means you don’t take your work seriously. If you

don’t want people to see your entire profile, change your settings to private. However, understand that

once something is on the Internet, it is available to anyone.

 

Twitter is a great way to show off your social media skills. Like with Facebook, clean up your tweets,

especially if you are following any of your coworkers. Make sure to follow relevant handles and retweet

interesting news. For example, I follow @adweek and @prdaily, along with others, to get marketing

and PR news. Regularly tweeting professional information shows employers that you are genuinely

passionate about your field and are up-to-date on news.

Community Management

While a lot of what social media marketing entails involves posting on social media platforms,

community management is important too. It is important to engage with your followers and

demonstrate that you aren’t just a faceless profile. This should be done roughly once or twice a day to

make sure any urgent matters are handled as soon as possible.

On Twitter, thanking new followers is a great way to show appreciation for their interest in your brand.

While this strategy doesn’t work for every company, it engages followers so that they know someone

cares. Also, make sure to follow relevant handles. In general, you should follow more handles than

the number that follow you. Regularly monitor your newsfeed and retweet relevant and interesting

information. The same applies to Facebook. Make sure to like the pages of relevant brands and share

related news.

Both Facebook and Twitter provide opportunities for your customers to directly contact or talk about

your brand or company. This can be good or bad depending on how it is handled. If a customer contacts

you with a question, try to answer it as quickly as possible. Some customers might mention you in

a tweet or post on your wall with a good review. It is important to thank them and recognize their

content. Even if a customer has negative things to say, you can turn it into an opportunity to show off

your customer relation skills. Get back to the customer to answer any questions and solve their issue.

Intern Workshop: Media List Building

Recently, we had another intern workshop to discuss how to build a media list. Although I am technically

a marketing intern, I am interested in PR as well so I have been tasked with building several media lists.

Although the information we learned was relatively basic, it was helpful to have a seasoned professional

to talk to and ask questions.

 

The goal when creating media lists is finding a targeted group of journalists and reporters. You have to

research the background of each person to make sure that they’re a good fit for whatever story you’re

trying to pitch. We use Cision, a database of contact information for all major publications. You can

search for all employees under a specific source (ex. Boston Globe) or just search for reporters that

cover a certain niche market (ex. Technology, culinary arts). Another way to find reporters for a specific

field is to Google news about that topic.
A media list should be in a cleanly-formatted Excel spreadsheet. If it’s a large topic, have different sheets

for regional and national sources. Print and media sources should be separated as well. The columns

should include the outlet, the location, the circulation, first name and last name of contact, contact

phone and email, and their job title. It is also helpful to have a column for notes so that you can keep

track of which outlets you have called and their interest level. This prevents mistakes like calling the

same reporter twice. After filling in all the information, merge cells and bold relevant titles to make it

look clean, polished, and most importantly, easy-to-read.

Intern Workshop: Media Pitching

Just another thing I love about interning at Schneider: we have weekly intern workshops where a

member of the staff talks about a topic related to PR or marketing. As a marketing intern who has

interest in the PR side of things as well, these have been very interesting as I get a more well-rounded

experience. In the first workshop, we discussed media pitching.

There are two types of pitches: those that promote client activities and those that find a way to connect

a client to an existing story. For example, one pitch might promote an event that a client is throwing

while another might position a client as an expert on a trending topic.

A pitch should be concise and factual while capturing the reader’s attention. In the first one or two

paragraphs, you should tell the story of what you’re trying to pitch. In the third paragraph, tell the

audience why they should cover the story. Include a “call to action” at the end. Pitches should not have

any attachments or photos, but relevant hyperlinks are encouraged.

After the pitch is emailed, you should follow up with a phone call a few days later. However, be

cognizant of their schedule. For example, if you are pitching a news station, don’t call right before a

broadcast. When calling print reporters, you can talk a bit longer and introduce yourself. For broadcast

reporters, keep the pitch as short as possible, ideally in one sentence. Smiling as you talk, even over the

phone, makes you sound happy.

The Essentials

After working in the industry for just over a month, I have found several websites to be crucial to the work we do, some of which I utilize for my personal accounts as well as my freelance work. I use all of these programs at least once everyday along with everyone else in the office. Here’s the comprehensive list:

Hootsuite is well known for being an excellent social media management program. It allows you to easily manage several accounts at once, which is great for marketing firms. It’s very convenient to use because you can schedule social media posts for future dates, which makes it easier to get all the work done at once. I use it a lot for freelance jobs because I can do a week’s worth of work in one night.

TweetDeck is another great social media management program, but it’s specifically for Twitter. It’s free to use, which is great. Like Hootsuite, you can schedule tweets for future dates and manage multiple accounts at once. It also allows you to create columns for mentions or retweets so that you can monitor what is being said about your brand across Twitter.

Feedly is another free program that allows you aggregate feeds from sources around the internet. You can create several categories, for example Marketing, and add feeds from relevant publications, for example Ad Week. I use this everyday to stay up to date on marketing and PR industry news and news related to clients’ industries.

Basecamp is essentially an organized online to-do list. My supervisors will add tasks under my name so that when I arrive in the morning I know what has to be done that day, which gives me an idea of how I should manage my time. I can check off tasks as I complete them, which notifies my supervisors. It’s a great way to keep everyone in the loop.

Sprout Social is a great program for businesses that want to gain insight into their social media strategies. Like other management programs, it allows you to schedule posts. The most distinctive aspect is that it creates organized, visual statistics of your social media platforms for any given time period. You can see the posts with the greatest engagement, and lowest as well as amount of followers gained, male/female ratios, and more.

Fitting In

It seems crazy that I have already been living in Boston for almost a month! I have been thoroughly enjoying everything about the experience. With the help of the Dickinson Internship Grant, I have been able to rent a relatively nice apartment in the suburbs of Boston. Luckily, many of my fellow interns live in the same area so I haven’t been quite as sheltered as I feared. I usually have a buddy for my daily T ride, making it much less monotonous.

My workplace is a very social environment, which has made getting to know my fellow interns very easy. It has been wonderful to have girls my own age to talk to about everything from the best shops in Boston to SEO techniques. Many of the interns are from the Boston area, but some also have moved from other states as well. As the weather continues to get sunnier, we have started to have our lunch picnic style on the lawn at the beautiful Post Office Square Park. Sometimes, we even splurge a bit and pick up some food from one of the many delicious street vendors in the area. I just couldn’t resist the yummy watermelon lemonade!

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This past weekend, some of my family was able to come visit. I had been in Spain since January and flew directly to Boston after, so it was definitely a welcome visit! Until I saw them, I hadn’t realized how much I have evolved since winter break. I have lived in a foreign country and am now living on my own in a major city working at my dream job. Considering my rural roots, this is truly a large transformation. My mom was shocked that I am no longer wary of crossing streets and that I have mastered the public transportation. I guess the aggressive drivers of Boston have cured me of that!

Becoming Informed

It has only been three weeks since my first day, but I have already learned a lot about the marketing industry. My work varies, but most days I create social media publishing calendars for our various clients, some of which are popular national brands. Generally I create two Facebook posts and two Tweets per day. The ratio of promotional and outside content varies depending on the brand and the strategy that they want to use, but generally it is an 80/20 split with the majority being outside content. Although it may seem like tedious work, I have so much fun writing these! I get to browse for relevant and trending articles and use creative writing skills to come up with the most catchy way to phrase the post. Also, the 140-character Tweet limit has helped me become a more succinct writer.

When researching, I have found a variety of great websites with quality content relevant to the marketing and PR industry. I use them both for social media post purposes and to keep up to date with the marketing and PR industry. For example, I was inspired by Coca-Cola’s new advertising campaign that promotes the brand promise of happiness and sharing with a Coke bottle design that requires users to pair up and link bottle caps to open them. It’s a very clever idea that resulted in a lot of media buzz.

Here are a few of the websites I use every day:

www.prdaily.com

www.adweek.com

www.mashable.com

www.bloomberg.com

www.usatoday.com

www.nytimes.com

www.alltop.com

www.online.wsj.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.entrepreneur.com

 

 

 

 

My First Week

This summer, I moved from my hometown in rural Virginia to Boston for my dream internship. I’m ecstatic to be working at Schneider Associates as a Marketing Intern as it was my first choice of over a dozen internships that I applied for.

I just returned a week ago from a semester studying abroad in Málaga, Spain so being back in the United States was in itself a big transition. Also, being from a farm in Virginia, I hadn’t ever experienced big city life. Although it has only been a week, I love everything about living in Boston. My apartment, my job, and the general culture of the area are all perfect.

I was more than a little nervous for my first day. I was still transitioning from the Spanish culture and also the 6 hour time difference. Not only was it my first day of work, but I had to figure out the transportation system from my apartment to work for the first time solo. Luckily, everything went without fault. Everyone that I met at the office, from my fellow interns to the directors, was extremely welcoming and made me feel relaxed.

Although I have only completed two days of work, I have already learned so much about the industry. As the Marketing Intern, I created social media publishing calendars among other tasks and I really felt that I was able to make actual contributions to the workload. My supervisor was very helpful and patient as he taught me the websites and tools used to find relevant and trending content and aggregate social media feeds to make the research process easier. The office itself has a great feel of community and it is wonderful to work in an environment where coworkers are actually friends. I am so excited for the work week to start again and I know that this will be a summer full of learning opportunities.