Kion Sanders is a recent communications and public relations graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the former Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) national vice president of chapter development and a current member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Recently, he officially started his career in Cleveland, OH as an account associate for Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations.
As a student, I was fortunate to have internships that provided me with pitching responsibilities. One of the major roles of entry-level PR professionals is building and maintaining relationships with media representatives. My relevant experience made the transition from student to professional that much smoother because I was properly prepared for future responsibilities.
A few weeks ago, I concluded my post-graduation internship with Weber Shandwick – a global public relations agency. As a consumer brands intern, one of my major responsibilities was pitching the media on behalf of clients I represented. I was able to practice everything from writing and distributing pitch e-mails, using social media tools to engage my targeted journalists, the proper way to pitch bloggers and of course, jumping on the phones to tell my client’s story.
This experience prepared me for one of my most challenging roles to date – serving as a PR manager for a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show. Nicholas Lindsey, a brand designer and one of my fellow PRSSA graduates, was in need of last-minute PR support for one of the biggest shows of his life. Immediately, I jumped at the opportunity; it was a great way to help a friend in need and a way to practice what I learned from my internship.
As PR manager for the show, my main responsibility was media relations. On show day, I had journalists present from Essence Magazine, NBC Universal and fashion bloggers from around the country, including an NYC Fashion Examiner. To solidify these high profile media representatives, I used everything I learned from my internship, especially social media for media relations purposes. My wonderful PR agency allowing me to pitch as an intern led to something I am very proud of – my first national magazine placement: NYFW Designer Q/A: Nicholas Clements-Lindsey.
To answer Tressa Robbins’ question, posted on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, “Should PR Interns Pitch the Media?” … YES, they should – I am a living example of how it can prepare interns for the “real world.” In fact, I recently accepted a full-time position with Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations where I … pitch the media on behalf of clients.
Giving the valuable experience interns can learn from pitching, can you think of any reasons why they shouldn’t?