For the summer, I’m a public relations intern at Bell Pottinger, a multinational public relations and marketing company in London, England. Bell Pottinger is the largest U.K.-based public relations consultancy. Here, I worked in the consumer branch, one of many.
Every day is a bit different for me, with constant work on a few major projects in between. Tuesday, I could be researching and writing about brands and logos for an upcoming presentation, but on Wednesday I could be researching the different local motoring journalists for Volvo’s mid-summer party.
My internship revolves around three major areas: research, communications and client coverage. Basically, I research. A lot. I also make a ton of media lists for prospective client coverage in their specific areas of interest. Along with that, I keep in communication with the media, specifically with journalists who could give our clients media coverage.
However, I’m not completely tied to a desk. One weeknight, I volunteered at a charity gala for the Children in Crisis foundation, an organization founded and maintained by the Duchess and Princesses of York. I even got to meet them when I was working the event. In total, we raised more than £165,000 in donations.
One time, I even ran chocolate to the BBC (by accident, I might add). Though I was actually just supposed to walk the box of chocolates to the front desk and ask for a courier, I just went to the BBC Broadcasting House myself. I was a proud pseudo chocolate courier for the afternoon.
I have learned two new search engines that have made my job a lot easier: Gorkana and Factiva. Gorkana is a media database that has every journalist’s contact information. This makes my media list construction much, much easier. All I have to do is search a name, and an email, phone number and address come up. Factiva is a media coverage database. If I’m trying to find an article about a client or a certain area of interest, I just type in a few keywords, and I get a list of published articles in seconds.
I also get to work with new clients. For instance, Bell Pottinger is working to acquire a new client, so when they were preparing for their meeting, I had to construct a media packet that included the history of the company, its products, media coverage and even its competitors. This packet was then given to everyone on the team. It felt great that they could use something I created.
We also get to test our client’s products. One of our clients is a chocolate company, so we have plenty of samples lying around the office. Whenever I need a sweet pick-me-up, I just grab one of those. Not only are they delicious, but it’s also nice to be able to experience firsthand the product you’re helping to promote.
Tori Lawhorn is now a junior at Indiana University, majoring in Journalism, specializing in Public Relations and Advertising and Digital and Interactive-Media Journalism. She serves as active President of IU PRSSA, and has worked actively as Co-Director of the Programming & Publicity Committee in the past year.