Tough to believe summer’s coming to an end this fast. I know I’ve had an experience this summer and I know quite a few of my friends have in their jobs and internships as well. So what’s my internship with the City of Ankeny’s public relations department been all about?
Throughout the summer, I’ve improved my skills as a writer. Coming from a year of, for the most part, strict news writing, it’s been interesting refocusing to write press releases. Discipline wise, I’ve found that press release writing and news writing are like cousins. They’re similar but you can’t approach them the same way. Through news writing, I learned how to discern important points to bring out in a story. Writing press releases has focused my writing and my ability to focus a message towards a very particular audience.
It’s been an exciting opportunity to help the city extend their brand through YouTube. I’ve produced several videos for the city’s channel, ranging from a firefighter swearing-in ceremony, to the most recent, a more comic piece on why citizens should “fan” the city on Facebook. The city is truly dedicated to harnessing the power of YouTube and other social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter and my observations on how they model social media as a customer service tool will be a lesson I’ll carry with me into future organizations. Seriously, for students of marketing and PR, it’s worth following their social media feeds to see how it’s done.
First and foremost, I’ve learned one of the most important lessons of PR: if you’re not out there telling the story of your brand, someone else will be and you’ll have lost control of the message. In the duties I’ve done for this internship and the conversations I’ve been part of, I’ve figured out that it’s a tough challenge, but it’s a motivating one.
With two years left before I graduate, it’s tough for me to say exactly where I want to go. However, after a great summer in an internship that I never expected to be in, I guess it’s all about exploring. And that’s exactly what I intend to keep doing.