Article by Emma Dempsey
Agency life is unlike any other work experience you’ll ever have, and I mean that in the best way possible. Before my internship with PRESS, the only insight I had on agency life is what my mom had told me about her job as a proofreader at an advertising agency back home in Iowa. In other words, I had very little understanding. After graduating with a degree in apparel merchandising and minor in public relations, I decided I wanted to dip my toes into the agency life and put that PR minor to good use; a summer with PRESS was the perfect way to start.
You get to know your clients on a personal level
Each client you work with requires you to become an expert on their background and industry. Thought your research and studying days were over once you graduated college? Think again. The learning never stops inside an agency (but we’ll get more into that later).
The most challenging thing I faced when I started at PRESS was regularly changing my mindset with each account I worked on. Creating a social media calendar for a restaurant client requires a lot more creativity than creating a list of conferences and events for a tech client to attend. Once I became more acquainted with each client and familiarized myself with all their wants, needs and goals, switching gears and changing my mindset became so much easier.
Organization is key
Of course staying organized in any work environment is important, but in PR and at an agency, there really is no other option. When I first started at PRESS, I used to look at my supervisor’s mile long to-do list and listen to the numerous people she was in contact with daily and basically thought she was Super Woman with magical powers. In reality, she is just a pro at staying organized.
Agency life is extremely fast-paced and it can be easy to fall behind, but when dealing with clients, you simply cannot afford to forget anything. It may sound overwhelming or stressful, but luckily there are many tools and shortcuts to assist in keeping you organized.
PRESS Tip: Using a web app like Asana is a great way to keep track of your work load. Creating teams for specific projects, assigning tasks and setting reminders are just a few features Asana offers that the PRESS team loves.
No two days are alike, but that’s the fun part
One of the most appealing parts of agency life is that there’s never a boring day. Although most of my days were spent at the office, it was always something different. At PRESS, I could start my day in the office, sitting in on a team meeting and drafting a press release, and then be standing behind the scenes of a client’s new menu photoshoot in the afternoon. I’ve learned that the range of experiences you’ll have working at an agency is unlimited, and that is what’s most rewarding.
You never stop learning
Each day, every client, assignment and event you take on gives you the opportunity to become knowledgeable on a variety of subjects and industries. Becoming a semi-expert on social media strategies like the new Facebook algorithm or the latest mobile app trends is just another part of the job.
If anyone at PRESS wants to know the lowdown on what’s new coming to the Tampa area, we go to Monica. As PRESS’s Account Coordinator for Strategic Property Partners, Monica spends a good part of her days researching developments and is always updating the office.
PRESS Tip: Subscribing to daily newsletters is a great way to stay well informed on news and happenings relevant to your work. A PRESS team favorite is The Daily Carnage.
No coffee runs here
In an agency setting, interns can especially thrive. Any extra help, ideas and opinions are always needed and appreciated. If you’re lucky enough to work at PRESS, interns are typically able to earn their trust to work on big client projects, which is an amazing way to learn the most useful skills you’ll need for any future full-time agency job.
As an agency intern, always take the initiative to go the extra mile. Make yourself available outside office hours, take notes and ask questions. You get what you put in, and if you show that you’re eager to learn, your supervisors will be there to give you what you need.