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Survival guide: Getting through a B2B Tech PR internship (part 1)

By Roxanne Asare

Picture this, you’ve nearly finished university with ambitions of a grade that has you walking down the street with your head high and pep in your step.



However, now you need to do a placement year to apply all that theory into real life and get some all-important industry experience under your belt.

Having studied PR, or some kind of communications subject, for two years you manage to bag yourself an intern role at a B2B Tech PR consultancy – result! (especially if it’s with ITPR)

No doubt you have high expectations for what your life in PR is going to be – all those events, all that client coverage and all those boozy lunches you’ve seen some interpretation of PR people do in the films – but really you have no idea what you’re walking into: this is your first real life PR experience after-all.

But fear not, in this blog Roxanne Asare (who not only survived an internship with ITPR but is now an account executive here) will go over what to expect during the first half of your internship and provide top tips to make sure you not only survive, but excel with flying colours!


Month one – thrown in the deep end

It’s month one, and you’re the newest member of the team.

You’re introduced to the extensive client list (which you’ve done a bit of research on – of course) and now you’re sat visiting client websites, “getting to know” the main contacts, and learning key industry terms – most of which you’ve probably never heard before, but it’s fine, we’ve all been there.

During this period, you’re likely to do one of two things:

  1. Relax and enjoy the ride – “this is easy, if every month is like this, this year will be a breeze”
  2. Become restless and want to do more – “there are only so many times I can read the same information, surely there’s something more productive I can be doing?”

Surprisingly, each reaction isn’t wrong.

Spending the first few weeks getting to know the clients is good and shows you’re interested and engaged.

On the other hand, wanting to do more shows that you’re keen to learn and take a more active role.

But, don’t overcompensate for the sake of making a good impression – first make sure you have a good understanding of the information you’ve been given. Then you are free to ask questions and be more proactive getting extra work.



Months two and three – treading water

You’ve survived your first month – hurrah!

Now you are being introduced to the world of pitching. You hear “pitch” and instantly think Dragons Den, justifying to a panel why your client’s story is worthy of coverage – which it essentially is, but without the suit and tie in this case.

When it comes to engaging with journalists and getting them interested in a story, you have two things to do:

  1. Create media lists and select your targeted publications
  2. Draft your pitch and tailor it to grab the journalist’s attention

Step one involves understanding the story and being able to pinpoint the media outlet(s) that the blog, opinion article, press release, etc, is most suitable to.

Tip/FYI - journalist databases, such as Response Source, will become your best mate! They will allow you to find publications across any industry and find out about the journalists who work there.

Step two involves highlighting the key points of the story and tailoring it to be pitched as a pre-cursor to the main event – the juicy full piece.

Tip/FYI – use current affairs, a recent news story, or a social topic to help you sell your story in. Journalists get thousands of emails a day so make sure your pitch is attention grabbing.

At times you can get carried away with your pitch – no complaints here – but remember that journalists are busy people, so a 10-paragraph pitch will be straight up ignored. Usually a two or three line intro to the story will do, with a list of three to four bullet points of what is covered in the article to support.

As always, your manager will be there to help and offer guidance, so just go for it and absorb any feedback. Once you have knocked out a few pitches, it gets a lot easier.


Months four to six – a confident breast stroke

Pitching is now your b***h – you’ve got coverage being placed all over the gaff.

Now it’s time to meet the clients for an update or account review meeting.

Before the meeting, your account manager or senior account executive (SAE) will give you an idea of what to expect and it’s likely you’ll be asked to take “extensive, but clear notes” for the contact report to follow the meeting.

You will probably agree to this even though you have no clue what that means.



The meeting starts off with introductions - you even get a shout out and now the client knows your name




(which you probably record in your “extensive notes”).

These meetings usually last an hour or two and it is only after you look proudly at your comprehensive note taking that you realise you might as well have written in another language, because making sense of it all just isn’t happening!

Simple solution – talk to your account manager or other team members who were there. It takes less time to discuss it with them, than trying to grasp the fading memories of the meeting.


Tips for dealing with a client meeting:

  1. Be prepared – getting your prep right before the meeting makes everything work a lot smoother.
  2. Use the agenda as your basis – during the meeting take notes in the same format as the agenda. You cannot go wrong.
  3. Listen out for actions – this can be in relation to actions for both the client and your team. These are things that have to happen as a result of the meeting so are important to record accurately.
  4. Don’t wait too long – even if your meeting is close to the end of the day, and you just cannot be bothered (very understandable), still review or type up your notes in a timely fashion. You’ll only forget things when you come back to it later.

And BOOM, six months done!

Stay tuned to find out how to own your next six months in the next blog.

Tags: PR Advice