By Wynne Beyersdorfer, Intern
As I approach my three-month mark at Hoffman, I find myself reflecting on the difference between the fresh college graduate that started at the agency and the PR professional writing this today. Although I felt extremely prepared to begin this job a few months ago, the personal and professional growth I have experienced is more than I could’ve imagined.
Over the last nine weeks, I have faced numerous challenges from finding my professional voice to learning clients’ messaging and more. However, to give you a deeper dive into some of these challenges and how I’ve navigated them, I want to break it down into a timeline using one specific example: a reporter briefing.
Week 1-2: First-week jitters, meeting the teams and clients, learning the ins-and-outs of the agency, etc. You know the drill — cross the t’s, dot the i’s — get settled in with the Hoffman team!
Week 3: Happy pitching! I hit the ground running and had the opportunity to send out my first round of pitches to targeted media contacts that I assisted in identifying. There’s a rush you feel when you send out a first round of exciting pitches — who will pick it up? What are the next steps if someone does?
Week 4: Success! A notable publication was interested in our pitch, and that ignited a string of communication between the reporter and me. Throughout school, we are taught about this very moment — publications picking up your story. It was exhilarating! This communication was resting in my hands, and I had to do my part to maintain the reporter’s interest.
After some back-and-forth, I scheduled a briefing with the reporter and the client. This is when the true nervousness set in: I had never learned about client and reporter briefings, let alone hosted one. The questions whizzing through my head were relentless: What do I say? What if I can’t answer a certain question? My account lead quickly swooped in to guide me through this new experience. He walked me through a typical briefing and made sure I had all the relevant information necessary. While I knew this was an experience that would happen many times in the future, the first time is always nerve-wracking. However, after my account lead prepped me, I felt very confident to approach this new challenge.
Week 5, the briefing: The time was finally here. I woke up bright and early, reviewed my notes and practiced my introductions. My account lead was present on the call but gave me the reins. I felt proud that I was able to lead such a conversation so early on and was excited to see what this meant for the Hoffman team and our client.
My part in the briefing went quickly and seamlessly and opened the door for a productive conversation between the reporter and the client. From this, we provided the reporter with a deeper understanding of the client’s product which helped to frame the story in a meaningful way. Although this briefing was just the beginning of a long process, it was something that helped me progress professionally and further my relationships with both the client and with reporters.
My experience thus far has been both exciting and daunting, but I’ve been provided with the guidance and resources to approach it successfully on my own. The Hoffman Agency allows young professionals to develop their skills quickly and ensures that they are prepared to do so. I remember meeting a fellow account coordinator on my first day who had been in the position for a few months. The considerable impact she had on her team due to her meaningful relationships and purposeful work was something I admired. However, I couldn’t believe that I would soon be completing deliverables alongside her and even owning some of her past tasks. Today, though, I can confidently say that due to experiences like the reporter briefing, I am on a powerful upward trend of molding myself into the public relations professional I’ve always dreamt of becoming.