How to PRactice PR without an internship

By Abbey Thomas

Need PR experience but you can’t make enough time for extra-curricula’s? Too bogged down this summer for an internship or missed the chance to apply? Why let those stop you? As Michael Jordan said, “I can’t accept not trying.” And let me guess, you’re thinking you would try but there’s nothing to try. You don’t have an internship! Well, have no fear!

Here’s a little DIY list you can try to experience you need without falling behind:

  1. Become a social media manager

13Are any of your friends in a band? Do you know anyone with a small lawn-mowing, photography, or baby-sitting business? Try managing their social media accounts for them. Test yourself to see how many followers you can attract and become familiar with different social media tools such as Hootsuite. Create a unique brand for them that other’s will recognize and see how your efforts contribute to their success!

  1. Start a blog

BlogWhether or not you consider public relations to be a form of journalism, writing experience is an inevitable part of the job. From blogs to press releases to social media posts, utilizing your writing skills is a dominant demand. Just because it’s summer and there are no campus publications to write for doesn’t mean you must give up. There’s always a way, and that way is blogging! Try setting up your own blog and posting even just two entries per week. See what feedback you get, and if you can, email it to old professors or mentors for some good ol’ honest criticism. If possible, go back and edit the post and then add it to your professional portfolio!

  1. Plan events

Event-PlanThis one is tricky without the experience, but nevertheless, nothing’s impossible! Use your social media and networking experience to attract people to an event. If you want to throw a concert for your friend’s new rock show, practice finding contacts and taking everything into consideration. What is the goal of this event? What is the budget? What’s the best location? How many people are expected? How’s the lighting? Are there enough plugs? Will I need to bring extra seats? Details, details, details (Did I mention details?).

  1. Network, network, NETWORK!!!

networkingwords-eeeYou’ve probably heard this at least 5,672 times already this year to be exact, but nothing puts you ahead of the game more than becoming buddy-buddy with those who’ve been playing it for years! While others are busy inserting skin cancer into their body at the tanning salon, you could be networking with those who have the potential to change your future. Seriously, network with everyone. Alumni (you know what they say, ‘Bobcats love helping other bobcats’), current college friends, old friends, teachers, professors, everyone! You will benefit so much from this you’ll wish you could kiss yourself!

  1. Be an Active Reader

Girl-Reading-BookScripps PRSSA does a really good job of keeping up with the times! Every week my email contains articles about all the big trends, issues, and tips of public relations! Read as much as you can. Follow PR accounts and agencies on Twitter and read just one article a day! You can’t learn everything in school, so you may as well learn from the next best option.

  1. Become one of the pro’s

twitter-drops-linkedin-partnership-ece762014e1I can’t stress it enough, this is the time! Update your Seelio and LinkedIn. Make sure all your social media handles are the same. Create your official signature for your email address. Take headshots. Update your bio on all your accounts. Go shopping for business clothes (Blazers are the essence of confidence). Add work to your online portfolio. Spice up your résumé. Network with professionals. Do all you can to put yourself at the top!

There are plenty of ways to practice PR on your own even without an internship. If Beyoncé can be independent, then so can you!

10649702_814200218601070_518779580546410223_nAbbey is a freshman majoring in strategic communication. She is working towards a specialization in public advocacy. After graduation, she hopes to work for a human right’s organization that looks out for people’s best interests, hopefully one who works with girls who are forced into sex slavery and helps young girls with HIV/AIDs. Follow her on Twitter at @abbsrthomas!

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