So, six months down at your B2B Tech PR agency as an intern; who would’ve thought it? GO YOU!
For some, the first half of the PR internship has either been an absolute walk in the park...
...for others, the return to university can’t come soon enough and the thought of the “D” word (dissertation, don’t be inappropriate) isn’t as daunting compared to your current experience.
Whether it’s been all sunshine and rainbows, or more like a bleak cold walk home in the rain, just think – you now have a better insight into the real world of PR than you had when you were sitting in those lectures! Let’s recap what you’ve gained over the past six months:
- You’ve learnt all about your clients, the main contact for each account, and relevant tech-related keywords.
- You’ve become one with the B2B Tech clan, some of the journalists now even ask you how you are in your correspondences...
- You’re now a top note taker, and your organisation skills are on point.
Now for the next six months…
In the final edition of this “survive your internship” series, you’ll get top tips on dealing with the world of client management, how to stay on top of reporting, and what to do when things don’t go quite as planned. So sit tight, absorb all you can, and get ready to boss your last six months as a B2B Tech PR intern.
Months seven to eight – a consistent backstroke
Now that you have attended a few face-to-face meetings, sat in on a number of client calls, and probably put your note taking skills to work during one or two prospect kick off meetings, here comes the client management side of PR.
One of the first phrases you learn when it comes to client management is “over servicing”.
Your clients know you work for an agency, but that doesn’t stop them dropping ‘just one more thing’ on your desk or asking for an extra favour.
This usually means that the client is asking for more than what had been agreed during initial contract agreements, or simply asking for more of your personal time to have a “quick call”.
Although you want to keep your clients happy, the occasional push back can benefit both yourself and the client.
Consistently doing more than what had been agreed in the first place only ends in you feeling overworked, and can lead to a few awkward conversations where you have to explain to the client they need to pay more to keep your level of service going.
It can be tempting to avoid taking their call, or add their email to the “need to respond to…” folder due to lack of time, but you can support yourself and your team mates with these tips:
Tip #1: Respond to your clients in a timely manner, even if it is just to let them know that you have acknowledged their request and that you will be working on it in due course. This not only shows that you are organised, but also reminds the client that there are other accounts/activities that need your attention.
Tip #2: Give your clients achievable and suitable deadlines that you can meet. Even if your client’s request is urgent beyond belief, your response and ability to put the right actions in place still need thought. Review your to do list, re-jig some of your actions depending on priority, and let your client know when you will be able to complete the request by.
Months nine to ten – deep sea diving
...and with client management comes reporting - woohoooo!
Some love it, some hate it – but it’s got to be done!
“Why is it so important?” I hear you ask – well, day-to-day updates will 100% save your butt when explaining to clients how awesome you are, or just help you pinpoint where improvements can be made in your campaign.
Thankfully, the 21st century has blessed us with the gift of Google Docs, making your job (and mine) a hell of a lot easier. *choir sings*.
Google Docs, particularly Google Sheets, will allow you to give your whole team, and the client, clear visibility of the actions being carried out throughout the contracted period – increasing your team’s credibility and helping to keep you honest.
Using tools such as these will then allow you to quickly reference actions for other reports, i.e. coverage reports, weekly activity reports, quarterly reviews, etc (as you can tell, there’s a lot of reporting that goes on with client management).
Tip #3: Ensure you are date specific. Adding chronological dates to your reports detailing your activity will allow you to track what happened and when, as well as pinpoint next actions, especially during update calls or for pitching purposes.
Months eleven to twelve – swimming against the tide
You’re on the home straight, the end is nigh, and you’ve nearly finished your third-year placement – booyahhhhhh!
You’re in your stride when, all of a sudden, s**t hits the fan with one of your clients and they are no longer the nice and friendly ‘John’ and ‘Jodie’ you speak to on a bi-weekly basis.
Something hasn’t gone quite to plan with the campaign, or your client’s expectations haven’t been met...
So, what happens now? Enter into hysterics and freeze with panic? No:
Tip #4: Take a breath – it may feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t! And a panicked brain is more likely to make further mistakes than a relaxed, level-headed mind. Chances are the problem isn’t as bad as you first feared but diving in to fix it without thinking, or fully understanding the problem, is definitely going to make things worse.
Tip #5: Discuss the situation with your team – don’t forget that even if it may have been a slight mishap on your part, you are part of a team for a reason and it isn’t only your name above the door! Chat to them to think about what the best course of action will be to sort the issue out.
Tip #6: Acknowledge the client and give them a clear action plan – even though it may be scary to own up to the mess by acknowledging your client’s frustration, it shows them that you aren’t “neglecting them” but rather that you are doing whatever you can to resolve the issue with an achievable plan.
And that’s all folks, you now have some real PR experience and feel ready to take on the world (after you tackle that final year of course).
GO FORTH AND CONQUER!