Your hardworking interns joined about 150 of tomorrow's future PR superstars, to gain insight from industry leaders at the Council of Public Relations annual Internfest. Each speaker and panelist offered treasured advice on all things PR - from breaking into the industry to current creative trends, no topics were off-limits. Here are some inspiring takeaways:
Reach for 'Good Uncertainty'
Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO, Pure Performance Communications
Someone (by someone I mean an obscure Google source) once said that "uncertainty is the human emotion that surfaces right before genius emerges," grasping the essence of Breakenridge's opening point. Too often we fall into a rut of comfortable repetition, even in the ever-changing world of PR. As an intern, I'm often feeling uncertain - is this pitch the perfect balance of professional and conversational? Breakenridge urged us to hold onto that. When you're uncertain, you're trying. When you're trying, you're pushing yourself and the industry forward.
From an Internship to a Job
The panel discussed setting yourself apart from a sea of desperate recent graduates trying to break into the same field. Understand the work culture for which you are applying, always raise your hand, attain an air of professionalism without losing your individuality, and of course, network, were all themes echoed throughout the discussion. A reminder of the advice we hear all through school - but set against the backdrop of a current internship experience, the panelists' words held more weight. We are more than "the people who write the press releases," so why settle for that, even as interns? While every piece of work is important, it's just as important to know why you're producing it - so ask questions and understand a campaign's strategy. Once in the industry, learn the media landscape, get to know the issues, and constantly keep a pulse on industry competitors - that, according to our panelists, will be a great head start towards earning a reputation as an industry expert.
Jim Joseph, President, North America, Cohn & Wolfe
Our keynote speaker gave an engaging presentation on current industry trends. The key to staying on top, he explained, is engaging with other brands yourself - feeling the impact and strategizing what works, what doesn't, and how you can adapt trends to engage your own audience in a meaningful way. "The rise of the stunt," "consumers taking control," "brands having a voice," "brands having a purpose," "news drafting," and finally, "the use of employees" are trends all dominating today's hot campaigns.
Overall, the program was packed with important industry insight, fostering discussion that sets the bar high for tomorrowÂs public relations industry standards. And to answer the duel-personality question, Joseph made it clear that there is only one you - your social media presence is your first impression, so keep your keg-stand skeletons in your closet.