How to Stand Out During Your Internship

What brings you joy?

 

Ever since binge-watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix at the beginning of the year, I’ve been asking myself that question in every aspect of my life. Before Marie Kondo, I actually already used this phrase with my friends somewhat jokingly when approached with a question: “Vanessa, should I buy these new shoes?” “Well, will it bring you joy?” But now, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.

 

Digression aside, one of the things that brings me the most joy in life is Dittoe PR’s internship program. As a former Dittoe PR intern myself, I remember how incredibly amazing my own experience was. While there were several perks to the internship, what made it truly impactful was the real-life agency experience I gained while still being a college student. This group of strangers brought me onto their team and almost instantly trusted me to help handle their day-to-day tasks – were they crazy? I’m not sure. But now, a few years later, I help lead our internship program and these strangers have become my work family (and yes, I can confirm they are a little crazy).

 

Every semester, it’s my goal to make sure our interns have the same experience I was afforded as a DPR intern. While we’re known for holding our interns to a high caliber, we believe this will help you in the long run. Our interns walk away feeling like they’ve gained the tools and lessons they need to become a PR professional. In fact, many of our current staff members started at Dittoe PR as interns. So, what is it that we look for in an intern? And what can you do to become a stand-out intern? Below I’ve scrounged up some tips and tricks I think will help any student stand out from the crowd, at a PR internship or elsewhere.

 

Take all the notes and ask all the questions.

This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give all interns. Especially in PR, it’s imperative to take notes. Come to every meeting with a pen and paper and be prepared to write everything down. This shows that you’re not only prepared, but attentive, too. We also love when interns ask questions – we want to make sure you have a good understanding of each task at hand. And don’t be afraid to ask the daring questions, like “what if we did it this way?” or “have you thought of it this way before?” Questions like that will surely knock our socks off.

 

Treat this like a real job.

We hope you see this opportunity as more than just another college credit hour or another entry on your resume. Treat this internship like a real job because, well, that’s what it is. A real job. We give our interns real projects with real deadlines with real expectations. Forget the fluff projects you’ve had at other internships – at Dittoe PR, each intern is plugged into a dedicated account so you can see the ins and outs of how an account team works. Our goal is for you to walk away feeling like you have worked in a true agency setting.

 

Own your mistakes and grow from them.

We all make mistakes – from interns to senior account managers, it’s going to happen. The best thing you can do is to own that mistake and grow from it. Instead of dwelling on what happened and having it affect your confidence, look at each mistake as a learning opportunity. We don’t expect you to get everything right the first time, but we do hope to see you improve little by little over the course of your internship.

 

Maintain a “first-day” attitude.

I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this point on my own, but this one has really stuck with me. We all want to make a great initial impression – we usually do this by dressing professionally, taking notes, arriving early, participating in extra activities, etc. But don’t let complacency get in the way. While we’re a pretty laid-back bunch, remember to stay professional throughout your internship. Just because you start to feel comfortable doesn’t mean you can start to slack off in other areas. Treat every day like it’s your first day.

 

Ask for feedback.

The only way you can grow is if you ask for feedback. While we try to give feedback on projects in real-time, we often get bogged down and can let this crucial step fall to the side. But by taking this extra step and asking us for feedback shows that you care and that you want to improve. I can guarantee if you ask someone for feedback, you’ll receive it.

 

Integrate yourself with the team.

We truly see our interns as an extension of our team and not just interns. We love when interns join us during activities outside the office – lunches, book clubs, house warmings, etc. This allows our team to get to know you on a more personal level and help build deeper connections. It also shows that you want to be a part of our team. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and it’s a small act that can go a long way.

 

Think you have what it takes to be a DPR intern? We’re now accepting applications for our 2019 summer internship program through Feb. 15. To apply, send your cover letter, resume with references and three diverse writing samples to Vanessa Staublin at vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

 

 

Our Favorite DPR Moments of 2018

The new year is a great time to reset, reflect and set new goals — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

 

From landing our clients in national media outlets and key industry publications to hiring six new full-time team members, Dittoe Public Relations has had an incredible 19th year driving results for our clients and growing our team. Relive our best moments of 2018 below.

 

Securing big media hits

At Dittoe PR, we don’t wait for news to happen. We make news happen. We’re all about securing consistent media coverage for clients in top tier media – national, local, trade and influencer outlets – by proactively brainstorming new story ideas.

 

Here are some of the biggest headlines we secured for our clients this year:

 

Bringing on new accounts, upsells

We pride ourselves on expanding our client roster and client scope with a variety of projects in the media relations, social media, event planning, content marketing and thought leadership spaces.

 

In 2018, Dittoe PR brought on multiple client wins in a variety of industries including Lonely Whale, Hoffmaster, Merchants Capital, Scooch and Massage Heights. Additionally, the company earned increases in scope for Aardvark and Medxcel. PSI, also new client in 2018, recently increased their desired scope of work with our team, as well.

 

Growing our team

Dittoe PR added six new full-time account coordinators and account executives to the team this year, each of whom are bringing exceptional results to clients day in and day out.

 

Shelby Kaiser joined the team in February and brought her experience of managing a sorority’s quarterly publication, assisting with email marketing and overseeing social media for individual chapters. Haley Williams brought her six years of industry experience in branding, storytelling and communication to the team in April.

 

Ashley Shuler (me!), a previous intern who started full time in June as an account coordinator, was promoted to the account executive role in October. Ashlea Alley, another former intern, also joined the team as an account coordinator after after graduating from the University of Indianapolis with a dual focus degree on public relations and journalism.

 

Jillian Thomas brought her eight years of TV reporting and anchoring experience to the team when she joined Dittoe PR in September as an account executive.

 

Kaitlyn Beck, who graduated from the Indiana University Media School with a B.A. in journalism and specializations in public relations and advertising, and Natalie Weber, a previous intern who started full time in October after graduating from Purdue University with a public relations and strategic communication degree, also joined as full-time account coordinators.

 

Developing our skills

Dittoe PR has always held personal and professional growth in high regard. We firmly believe that our premier PR agency can only grow if our people continue to grow, too.

 

This year, Dittoe PR introduced a professional development budget for all employees, and our team members took advantage of those dollars by attending conferences across the nation. Megan Custodio, Ashley Eggert and Greta Snell attended INBOUND 2018 in Boston; Kaiser, Vanessa Staublin and Sophie Maccagnone attended Digital Summit in Dallas; and Mallory Sturgeon and Kasie Pieri attended PR News’ Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C.

 

Defining our values

This year, we embarked on a six-month journey toward building a stronger company culture through unified personal and professional development with the help of organizational coach, speaker and author, Katara McCarty.

 

After crowdsourcing responses to a select set of questions about Dittoe PR’s culture, the team collectively crafted four core values that we firmly believe in and practice daily to support each other, our clients and Dittoe PR as a system.

 

  • Cultivate Happy: At Dittoe PR, we have fun, work with passion and purpose, and value work-life balance.
  • We’ve Got Your Back: Because our team is always there for each other. Similarly, this value speaks volumes to how we treat our clients, because we’ve got their backs too.
  • Here We Grow: Because we believe we can go farther, together, by investing in our employees through professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, new client opportunities and more.
  • Exceed Expectations: Our team doesn’t just aim to meet client expectations. We strive to exceed them in any way possible.

 

From securing top tier media hits to cultivating our values, we can’t wait to see where 2019 takes us! Want your business on our 2019 list? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation and learn more about our services.

How to Prep a Client for a Media Interview

At Dittoe Public Relations, we offer a variety of services that all help our clients put their best foot forward in their respective industries. You may have heard us refer to media relations as our “bread and butter,” and while it falls on us to secure the opportunities for coverage, it falls on our clients to execute a great interview (with a little help from us).

 

Let me start by saying that some clients are rockstar interviewees and love an opportunity to speak with media. To those clients, we salute you.

 

To the clients that don’t love the spotlight, we feel you. There is a reason we PR pros chose to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. We know you still love your companies but add in the lights, questions and the difference between a live shot and a look-live shot and all of a sudden, the thing you do every single day – talk about your goods and services – becomes incredibly complicated.

 

That’s where Dittoe PR comes in. We’re here to guide clients through the process, even the ones that are confident in their abilities, because, let’s face it, no one can ever be over-prepared. We make sure that no matter the outlet, format or interviewer, each of our clients are ready to knock every single interview out of the park.

 

Research.

Whenever we secure an interview, the first thing we do is research both the outlet and the reporter conducting the interview. Providing a synopsis of the target market of a publication can help frame the type of conversation. Is this a national publication or a specialized trade magazine? This knowledge can help shape the direction of the interview and set expectations.

 

Prior to pitching, we research reporter bios, beats and writing history. Fast forward to securing an opportunity and this knowledge gives us a feel for how they may conduct an interview, reducing the amount of potential surprises to our clients. We share all this information with our clients, so they feel at ease with the person (and media outlet) they’re conversing with.

 

Prep.

In addition to a thorough summary of who they’re going to be talking to, we also provide our clients with a detailed analysis of what topics will be addressed in the interview. This summary includes the story angle that secured the interview as well as key messages to support the client’s side of conversation.

 

We make sure that significant stats are top of mind and offer advice on how to give the perfect soundbite. We also offer suggestions on how to deliver flawless messaging, reduce background noise in phone interviews, and how to come across like an Emmy winner when on camera. We’ll even hold media training sessions with clients, as needed, to keep interview tips and tricks top of mind.

 

Execution.

When our clients go on interviews, we go on interviews. We listen it on phone interviews to provide introductions and take note of key information and necessary follow ups. With local TV interviews or larger national interviews, we accompany clients to the station, assist in visual setup and teardown, handle any final coordination with producers and reporters, and snap behind-the-scenes footage. Often times, we’re also helping with any last-minute prep – answering questions before going live – for the reporter conducting the interviews.

 

Trust us, as badly as we want the interview to go well, reporters want it to go well even more. Knowing that we’re there to take care of any issue that might arise lets our clients know that they, and we, have the situation under control. We also are committed to being visible and build real relationships with reporters outside of our email or phone exchanges.

 

At the end of the day, talking on live television or live radio can be daunting. At Dittoe PR, we put our clients at ease and help them navigate each individual interview as it comes along, leading to spectacular segments, articles, reports and coverage of all kinds.

 

Interested in getting more media coverage for your brand or company? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation and learn more about our services.