Kitty Whitaker, Journalism Student at the University of Sheffield, shares her insights and what surprised her about work experience with Medilink North of England’s PR & Communications department.
For the last two years I’ve been studying journalism at university, so you might be wondering why I decided to get my work experience from a “membership based representative body for the healthcare technology sector” - and you wouldn’t be the only one.
The fact is, Medilink has a fabulous PR department and I wanted to try something different. The team offered me a range of opportunities to get involved in many creative tasks.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified before my first day. Will I be any good? What if I don’t understand anything? And a million and one other anxieties, but I really didn’t need to worry.
One of my main concerns was that my writing style wouldn’t translate well into PR, but I actually think that my background in journalism helped me. I contributed to the copy for printed leaflets, the corporate website and promotional emails, all of which needed different levels of detail and were written for different reasons.
Helping to create several promotional emails was probably my favourite part. The writing I needed was short and straight to the point. The PR team are experienced email marketers and so luckily for me, there was a template I could follow and learn what makes a good HTML email. It was fascinating to see how emails are crafted for large distribution lists, especially in the knowledge of how audiences will engage with them and how it changes the layout and structure.
Copywriting was a huge part of my week, but I also helped plan, create and report on the social media accounts for corporate clients. To some, scrolling through social media sounds like a dream job, but it actually takes a lot of time, effort and thought.
I spent my time searching through hashtags and blogs to find the right accounts to follow. I followed influencers, businesses and relevant organisations in the hope that they would follow back, but building professional connections on social media requires patience and effort.
The amount of planning and forethought that goes into every post, tweet and email is staggering. It is essential to ensure that the company profile is reaching audiences with the key messages of their business, engaging with the key stakeholders, or recognising important dates and events in the industry. Not quite as easy as the 2 seconds I spend thinking about what I’ll put on my personal twitter account.
I enjoyed seeing the benefits of all that forward planning too. It was great to dive into the analysis of how well business social media performs, including retweets, likes and how many people had seen each post. Hours of drafting, researching and photoshopping could get your tweet seen by 12 thousand people, but only get 10 likes if you’re not planning for the right audience.
Before my week at Medilink, I didn’t really know what PR would have in store for me or that I might spend the whole week making teas and coffees. I’m glad I was proven wrong, even though I make a mean cup of tea.
You never really think about all the effort that has gone into every tweet or Facebook post you read, or every promotional email you get, but the fact is that someone puts a lot of work into it.
As my week draws to a close, it’s safe to say I’ve come out the other side with a whole new range of skills, from social media management to copywriting for websites, and now I will appreciate every email, tweet and Facebook post I see.