Swimming in the Deep End

By Katrina Lockhart, Intern

When you hear the terms ‘internship’ or ‘first-job’, images of both coffee runs and pushing the boundaries come to mind. In The Devil Wears Prada, Andy Sach’s entry-level job tosses her into the deep end of the pool with no lifeguard and submerges her in the world of fashion and magazine publishing. My experience has proved to be intense in a different way.

My internship at The Hoffman Agency has been a full immersion into tech PR complete with real assignments, inclusion in meetings, and content development opportunities.

Katrina Lockhart headshot

The only way to find your path is by doing. I knew I needed to find my PR voice and The Hoffman Agency brought it out. My favorite part of the internship was the weekly intern cohort meetings and assignments. They were inspiring and helpful in understanding the client work I was assigned.

I learned everything about PR from sourcing sessions, briefing documents, building media lists, vetting potential targets, news coverage monitoring, media relations, and ultimately … storytelling.

There is not space to list all the projects I’ve been a part of, so I’ll just speak on two. I enjoyed putting together a document on editorial calendars. I like to research, so tracking down editorial calendar information was a treasure hunt. Editorial calendars in PR are important as they help with planning efforts. Everything from topic deadlines to awards and speaking opportunities can be in an editorial calendar. From the research I compiled, multiple teams were able to benefit and compile opportunities for their clients.

Another project was developing a briefing document. Once again, research is handy in collecting relevant information. I had to organize the document into background information, discussion structuring, client overview, journalist bios and publication information. I find it important to have a detailed briefing document because that can make or break how the client will respond. It’s gratifying to know that it’s vital information that facilitates relationship building.

The best advice I received from my internship was that there are no fixed rules in PR. We all have to adapt and flow. People have different preferences, skills, and voices. It’s almost like an instinct of sorts. Your fingers must be on the pulse of the media landscape and your client’s needs. The beautiful thing about tech PR is finding the story in everything and taking complex subjects and making them digestible.

Any fledging tech PR professional needs real-world experience in their internship. I recommend an agency which throws you into it. Training and school only take you so far until you have to work with clients and deliver results. The only way to accomplish that is to jump in the deep end, but your agency should be there with you every stroke of the way.

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