Lessons Learned as a Public Relations Intern

By: Ashley Vickney, Intern, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

With graduation looming and Christmas almost upon us, my time as an intern at Leonard & Finco is quickly coming to a close. The past seven months here have taught me almost as much as the past three and a half years of college have. With that in mind, here are the top five lessons learned as an intern.
Public Relations is about the clients: When looking at practicing public relations it’s important to look at what works for each client. This was my first agency public relations internship and I had never had the experience of working on multiple client accounts. It’s easier said than done, but just because something works for one client doesn’t mean it will work for another. Knowing your client and their industry well will help you the most!
You are the public relations professional: While it’s easy to get in the habit of just asking the client what they want, it’s important to take a look at what they need. As the professional, you are the expert and it’s especially important to remember that when a client asks you to do something that isn’t a good idea. They hire you to be the expert, and it’s important that you keep that in mind.
Take advantage of what is already there: Some of our clients already have a very loyal fan base, or are doing some great programs. It’s important to highlight what they’re already doing and leverage their existing fans. Don’t reinvent the wheel, rather take what your client is already doing or has and expand on that!
Client relationships are key: Many professionals put in a lot of time and effort into attracting new clients; however existing clients are just as important. Scheduling lunches, emailing and calling your existing clients regularly will help keep the relationship healthy and may even bring in more business for you.
Passion changes everything:  As a soon-to-be graduate I am very biased towards the fact that I have found a job that I want to do the rest of my life. What I have learned here at Leonard & Finco is that passion changes everything. Each person here has a passion for public relations, and doing the job to the best of their ability. Our clients are passionate about what they do, and it shows in their work. As I begin my career, I can only hope that I get to continue to work in an industry I am passionate about.
As I look to graduation and what lies ahead, I am grateful for the experiences that I have had here at Leonard & Finco. One last piece of advice to other college students, make it a priority to have internships before your graduate. Knowing that what you are studying is what you want to do after college is satisfying, as well as gives you the opportunity to figure out exactly what you want to do.