- Lillian Sclafani
What My Internship at FYI Taught Me about PR
Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity of being a Public Relations Intern at FYI Brand Group located in SoHo, in lower Manhattan New York. FYI Brand Group is an award winning 360-degree brand strategy, communications and brand marketing agency that creates road maps for clients using a holistic business model. They work closely with pop culture, in sectors such as art, fashion, entertainment and especially music artists. The position I held was focused around the company's overarching mission, of creating a story and then telling it. Throughout the summer spent working for the company, I learned a lot about PR and what it's like working in an agency.
Below, I included a list of my main takeaways from the internship that I wanted to share!
PR Agency Experience
The position was hybrid, meaning that some days I’d have to commute into the city and others I was able to work from home. I worked a schedule of three days a week, 9am-6pm, which was interchanging based on blast press releases. At the start of every morning, the intern team and myself would do media monitoring. This meant going through news articles, social media, and web search to find the newest gossip on celebrities. After we found coverage on artists such as Doja Cat, Steve Aoki, DJ Khalid and more, we moved on to news/magazine sites. Here, we collected the latest articles and posted them into a shared google doc. Once this was complete (which would take about two hours) we would send it promptly to the FYI Group team at 11am. This was necessary because the LA Office and NY Office split up the news coverage, so we would gain coverage in return. Afterwards, we would look at our task sheet for the day. These roles varied from day to day, and many times we would have to quickly hop on another task that was priority. I think the biggest challenge I quickly learned working in PR is that things are constantly changing. You never know if an artist will decide to release an album and the client would need a press release within the hour. Being able to adapt and work in a fast paced environment is crucial when working in the field of public relations.
Another huge takeaway was all the different hats I would have to fill. The intern team had to have a grasp on a majority of PR strategies, and if you didn’t have experience, you were quickly taught. Some of the work included; creating press clippings/media recaps, outreach, tracking client coverage, pulling editorial contracts off Cision, updating media lists and clients electronic press clips. I also had to draft media kits and therefore, press releases for clients. The best feeling was formatting a press release for an a-list client that reached the media effectively. By the end, I can confidently say that I had a comprehensive understanding of certain daily activities that go on in an agency.
Client Needs & Goals
Overall, the experience taught me the value and importance of PR. There is a lot more power that we hold than most people think. To be effective, we must be able to write in a way that benefits the client in the public eye. This idea of creating change through content was difficult at times when evidence pointed in the other direction. This goes hand and hand with risk management strategies. Not only do we have one chance to do it right, but we have to do it quickly before any more damage is done. Another major factor that played into my role was proper outreach to news outlets. In order to cultivate a good campaign, we had to align these client artists with top-tier media that fit their brand. This brand varied depending on our clients field, for example, FYI worked with multiple pop-culture industries in fashion, music, sports or social impact.
Oftentimes, I’d find myself sending media blasts to hundreds of potential online news sources. Out of these a hundred or so prospects, you could expect only between 1-5 responses (and this is just the initial step). We would then have to communicate with the team regarding any questions they may have or if they needed additional information. This goes back to the qualities that make up a good PR professional, which I can strongly say, is being able to adapt, time manage, and communicate effectively. Handling rejections is also a huge aspect of the role.
In the end, I learned a lot about the career, but also about myself. I knew after the internship had ended what I could work to improve on. I also had a better understanding of the different sectors and roles within the PR industry in the real world. Along with the tasks I enjoyed doing, and those few that I would always want to pass on. I learned the value of teamwork and how team communication both external and internally is extremely important. With FYI, I was lucky enough to have been able to work with top clients in the media while also having that strong supporting team of people.
This blog post was written by Lillian Sclafani, Digital Publications Editor.