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Five tips for PR interns

Five tips for PR interns

I’ve learned a lot in my short stay at The PHA Group about the world of PR and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

So, if you are thinking about a PR internship, here are five quick pointers:

  1. Be curious about the bigger picture: One of the things that makes PR so interesting is its complexity. More is constantly going on than meets the eye. Always deliver on a brief but be sure to ask about the bigger picture and where it fits in with the strategic goals of the clients and the agency. Knowing this will also motivate you to do the ‘mundane’ tasks and, take my word for it, doing them fast and well will get you far enough.
  1. Don’t think “sell-in”, think “pitch in”: When I was first told to sell-in a story, I didn’t really feel up to the task. I thought I had to master some kind of sales skills and that put me off.  Turns out I had the term down wrong; to “sell-in” is to chat with a journalist and convince them that your content will enhance their piece or publication. So rather than a sales call, you should think about it as a persuasive dialogue. Also, be sure to discretely eavesdrop when an account manager or someone more senior is pitching and study them (without staring creepily though…)
  1. Less is more: If you’re moving straight from academia, you probably use words like ‘ameliorate’ where ‘improve’ works just fine. Of course you do – essays are more about expanding than condensing. To make the leap to PR, you’ll need to make your content short and snappy. Put it this way, you’ll have a journalist’s attention for less than 20 words or 15 seconds (if that). Make them count!
  1. Make friends: This may sound obvious. You want to have a good time and all that. Who wouldn’t right? That’s all well and good but what friends have to offer other than fun is guidance and crucially, backing. If you like the company and you think you’re well-suited for a role, make sure you take time to build relationships with the whole team and you’ll hopefully have more than just yourself making a case for you.
  1. Ask and take risks: Ask questions, and make sure you’re getting enough feedback to improve on your writing, time-management skills and pitching-in. But be grateful and understanding when people take the time to walk you through a task and show you’ve mastered it the next time around. It is useful to volunteer for a task that is more challenging than your previous one – this shows you’re growing and listening. Internships are short and if the learning curve isn’t steep and a bit scary, you’re not doing it right.

Dimitris Dimitriadis


Image: Thomas Edwards,

What I’ve learned from a month in PR

Monday morning, Wardour Street, Soho, 8am. Not due to be in the office until 9 a.m., I was two coffees down and definitely rather anxious about my first day in the big wide working world. The first thing I learnt, however, is that the most apprehensive part about a new job is the hours leading up to it: once you’re there you barely have a chance to remember to be worried.

A month has passed since my first day at PHA and I’ve learned a lot in that period. Looking back, if I could have asked for one thing before I started it would have been some advice on what to expect, so here is my guide to anyone starting in PR.


  1. Ask questions. Lots of questions. As Voltaire said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Smart man. The more you ask the more you learn, it really is that simple.


  1. Don’t expect to know everyone’s names within your first week (unless you’re in a company with ten people, in which case you probably should). During one internship I accidentally sent an email to a client instead of my colleague as I confused their names. Much embarrassment. Revisit point one.


  1. Flexibility is your friend. Firstly, no one day is the same in PR and you could plan your day down to the last second but chances are that something will crop up that throws this plan out of the window. By all means, be organised (this will help A LOT), have targets for each day, but don’t always expect plain sailing.


  1. Chances are, you may know more about the day to day workings of PR than some of your clients. This can be a bit of a blessing, the less they know the more responsibility you have and the less they might try to correct you. Of course, this also means that you need to understand exactly what you are doing for them and guide them through it step by step.


  1. Be a chameleon. Being in PR means that you have to be able to judge how you present yourself in front of certain people, and this changes from colleagues to client and from client to client. One client regularly includes ‘fo shizzle’ in her responses, some clients may not understand this down-with-the-kids talk, so probably best avoided overall.


  1. Speak your mind! At the interview you sold yourself as someone who would be able to contribute something valuable to the team, so voice your opinions and ideas. After all, you weren’t hired to sit in the background.


  1. You’ll develop a new found passion for something you have never even thought about before. Well, you will at least spend enough time writing and pitching so enthusiastically about something you’ll think you have.


  1. Very few things are ever irretrievable. Probably the most reassuring piece of advice: if something goes wrong, keep calm and ask for help, your colleagues will always be on hand to assist.

For more information about PR jobs, internships or opportunities at The PHA Group, visit our recruitment section by clicking this link or email


Image courtesy of Niuton May,

Gove’s fines on term-time absence a PR issue waiting to happen?

Many will have heard the news of the City banker taking a case to court after he was refused permission to take his children out of school for their grandmother’s funeral in California and suffered a fine of £120. This, of course, sparked outrage, as more and more parents came forward with similar stories, however, the problem is not so simple, particularly for the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

Around 20 percent of parents have been fined for taking their children out of school during term time and it’s well known that parents may occasionally tell a white lie to excuse their children from school. So how does this reflect on Gove? Well, you could say that he is successfully enforcing what he preaches, but when such personal cases meet the public eye tensions run high.

Michael Gove has been in the firing line over parent fines.

Gove is admittedly in a challenging situation; the ban on term-time absences is being applied universally with no regard for personal circumstances, as examining each situation individually would complicate matters for schools and for him. His roles, however, are to better education and improve the lives of children at school, so surely there should be more flexibility irrespective of the complication this may involve? Additionally, is it right to refuse parents the right to take their children out of school at their own discretion? A campaign group, chaired by MP John Hemming, has even been formed called ‘Parents Want a Say’, where words such as ‘dictatorial’ and ‘bureaucratic’ are in regular use.  In fact, there are few people who have anything positive to say with regard to Gove’s decision, with most teachers admitting that there is very little disruption caused to the child’s education.

This is, of course, the heart of the issue: will taking a child out of school be to the detriment of their education? Surely a universal rule cannot be applied to each and every situation, irrespective of personal or unforeseen circumstances? This leads me onto another, perhaps more common, motive for term time absences: holidays. There are of course certain trips that are more educational than others, say a charity project in India in contrast to a club med holiday in Spain, but if it engages the child in a new culture or language and broadens their horizons surely this is an invaluable opportunity?

Gove should perhaps instead be thinking about regulating the holiday companies from bumping up their prices to unaffordable levels during school holidays, as a more effective way of ensuring children remain at school during term. Combined, of course, with school discretion for unique circumstances.

Being at school, and being away from school, are both beneficial to children but they are not, and do not need to be, mutually exclusive. As he comes under fire, Gove needs to rethink his ban in regard to the impact it’s having not only on his reputation, but also on an education system in desperate need of attention.