So you think you can intern? PerkettPR launches contest for first-ever internships at digital PR agency

If you’ve read this blog you know we talk a lot about the impact that social media is having on the PR world. Recognizing the value of an integrated agency approach, we’ve expanded our services over the last two years to include social media and digital production services – all of which we provide in-house (as opposed to outsourcing, which many agencies do). As a result, Our PR strategies call for a lot of new thinking, digital tactics and technical capabilities. We also recognize (along with the experts that we respect) that the recipe for success is still being perfected. We believe bright people with good ideas and an interest in the future of communications can have an impact right now.

Are you up for discovering new paths to success for clients?  Do you see value in digital communications and social media for marketing and PR? We want to hear from you! We recognize that the newest generation of employees entering the workforce are more naturally inclined to have this skill set in place. Therefore, for the first time in over a decade of business, PerkettPR is looking for interns that are capable of opening our eyes to new possibilities, executing on important communications strategies and excited to learn just how a PR firm helps companies and brands effectively communicate with key audiences.

Think you’ve got what it takes to intern at a virtual agency? Enter our contest for the chance to work with a nationwide, senior-level team in either Boston, Detroit or San Francisco.

Here are the official application guidelines:

  • The paid internship program will be awarded to up to three accomplished students or graduates with studies in public relations, communications, business, video production, English, journalism or marketing
  • Length of internship will be determined with individual contacts
  • We’re looking – ideally – for one intern in (or near) each city: Boston, Detroit, San Francisco
  • Submissions must be sent via video message (Facebook* or Seesmic**), blog post (yours with a link to ours), Twitter pitch campaign, or on our Facebook page. Or, better yet, something you create – show us  something we have never seen before. The submission is open to your creative interpretation – just don’t send us a paper resume. Show us your work digitally.
  • Must have excellent writing and research skills.
  • Must have a fully functional home “office” and be willing to meet and work remotely with co-workers at least once a week
  • Interns will work with PerkettPR’s PR and Social Media teams to study, create and implement social media, digital content and PR programs and services. They may also have exposure to and contact with clients, partners and journalists.
  • Submissions or links may also be emailed to: IWantToIntern[at]perkettpr.com.
  • Finalists will be asked for full resumes.

Applications will be accepted through June 26. A handful of finalists that will then be interviewed for the position in late June/early July.

Here’s what we’re looking for you to answer in your submission:

1.  Who are you, what do you do and where are you?
2.  What is social media?
3.  How does it play a role in PR? How can they both benefit businesses?
4.  What great examples of PR and social media integration have you seen? What makes it great?
5.  Where is the future of corporate/brand communications heading?
6.  List three words people would use to describe you.
7.  Why do you want to work for PerkettPR?
8.  What will you bring to our agency that no other candidate will?
9.  What is your favorite tech gadget or site and why?
10. Who is one person in business that you admire?

*  Video submissions to our Facebook page can be left on our wall after you become a “fan.”

** Video submissions can also be left right here as a reply on this post via the Seesmic widget that is accessible below the comments area. A free Seesmic account is required.

Online vs offline networking

Based on our expanded services over the last few years and the plethora of social media posts on this blog, we’re obviously huge fans of online networking. But when I attended the MarketingProfs B2B Forum TweetUp Monday evening, I was reminded how important face time is with those we connect with online.

I had the pleasure of seeing older friends/industry colleagues like Chris Brogan, Jim Storer, Jim Spencer, Patrick Rafter and Ann Handley, and I was fortunate enough to meet those who were – until now – online acquaintances such as Steve Woodruff, Diane Hessan, Mike Volpe and many others. I also received a lot of flack from Joselin Mane about the fact that I don’t go to enough TweetUps. And you know what, despite my push back about lack of time for family commitments, work and personal friends – let alone TweetUps – he has a point. There’s nothing quite like face-to-face networking. It provides the opportunity to create stronger bonds with others and discover chemistry that might not come through as quickly in online conversations. (It also keeps you “real” – here’s a funny post about how online and offline behaviors differ.)

Although I recognize the value in such events and enjoy most of them, I really don’t get to as many as I probably should. But you know what, I don’t see many other PR agency leaders at them either. So I started to wonder, is it a generational gap? Is online networking enough? Are those that don’t do both missing huge opportunities?

After a few of us listened to Brogan run through his event schedule – and wondered just how he does it – we talked about how not everyone is created equal. What I mean by that is that not everyone has the same personal or work situation – and so reasons for attending or not attending vary greatly.

@jeffglasson @chrisbrogan @fairminder

Younger workers seem much more likely to attend events on a regular basis – they often live in closer proximity to the city (here in Boston, anyway) and they usually have interest in meeting people for personal reasons as well (friendship or dating, for example). Older workers may live in the suburbs with a healthy commute both ways, and thus attend less often – and become more choosy about what they attend and why they attend. With many who have spouses or families waiting at home, the options for attending the overflow of events may be even slimmer.

Don’t forget that a lot of people who are active in online communities – such as Twitter and Facebook – physically live in rural areas and barely get to any face-to-face events at all. Are they at a disadvantage?

What’s your opinion?

  • Is there a generational gap in networking?
  • Is it a sign of career dedication (or lack thereof)?
  • Do you gain business value from every event?
  • Does it hurt to attend less events or is online networking just as valuable?

How even a dog walker can benefit from social media

The term “social media” continues to be subject to interpretation by many. Ask a room of 10 people what social media means, and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. So it’s no wonder that many businesses and individual entrepreneurs are unsure how social media can play a role in their marketing communications strategies.

I asked on Twitter today, “What’s one business you think would NOT benefit from social media initiatives?” Here are some of the answers I received:

While some of these were given in jest, let’s take a look at a few examples of businesses that might not think social media is appropriate for them – and how we think it in fact could help raise awareness for their brand and company.

  • Fisherman – as @YuliZ says above, perhaps fishing is not a business that one would think is appropriate for social media promotion. But let’s step back for a minute and remember one of the most wonderful things about social media – we are all publishers now. What does this have to do with fishing? Ever watch Deadliest Catch? If you have, you already know that fishing can be a much more interesting career (or hobby) than you ever imagined. So maybe your type of fishing isn’t life or death – say you’re a commercial fisherman. Scale it down, take your camera out, video the crew before your next trip. Ask them questions about the different types of lines/bait/tactics used. Ask them their top three tips for a successful trip. Ask them how long they’ve been in the business. Turn it into an ongoing series that involves a) encouraging people to ask questions on Twitter b) have your crew answer on video c) post it on YouTube, Facebook, etc. I think you’ll be surprised by how many people would soon want to learn more about “Fred’s Fishing Factory” – whereas before social media, they may never have thought to even listen.
  • Fashion Stylist - okay so your job is usually conducted in-person and you can’t think of how to drum up business through social media. Sure, you can talk about fashion and clothes and related items on Twitter, but how does that help you when your business is in Phoenix and you’re talking to people in Prague? Think credibility, awareness and maybe even expansion. Create a Twitter presence and a blog. Connect them together – use sites such as Polyvore to pull looks together and showcase your talents by posting looks on the blog and promoting them on Twitter. Tweet about “looks of the day” or style tips. Encourage followers to ask for “online consultations” based on a certain event they’ll be attending – you can pull looks together, post them on your blog as examples and eventually even begin charging a nominal fee for it (perhaps through Etsy). You may decide to incorporate video by taking the camera to your gigs and showcasing how you pull a look together. You’ll soon find that not only are you honing your skills but you’re building your offline brand online, too.
  • Dog walker - this one’s easy! Get a camera phone, Twitpic photos of your walks and write a “doggie blog” about your daily adventures. Add humor and begin building a community by sharing tips, tricks, facts and figures about dog care. Localize it by sharing insights on where to find quality day care or vet services in other cities. Post funny videos on your Facebook, blog or YouTube that come from your every day job – you know people love funny animal videos! Again, the point here is to engage – and to build credibility. If I can see videos and blog posts about how much fun you have with your charges, I am way more likely to hire you than the person who placed a text ad in the back of the phonebook. You could even begin to include short snippets of happy customers providing testimonies about how wonderfu you are with their dogs.

Of course, these are not in any way full strategies but rather just a few quick examples of how different types of busineses can engage an audience and expand online brand awareness and credibility through social media. If you think that your customers aren’t on these social community sites – ask yourself if you think they Google. When I’m looking for something, it’s the first place I go. Use intelligent tags and post your content to as many social community sites as you can and you’ll begin to see that potential customers will find you even if they’ve never heard of Twitter.

How do brands reach you?

While Twitter and other social media communities continue to gain popularity, we’re curious how you’re interacting with brands. Will you follow brands you don’t know or do you only follow brands that you already use and are familiar with? If you follow a brand are you more likely to purchase from them?

Moreover, we’re curious if interacting with brands on sites like Twitter convince you to purchase from them? No doubt such interactions help brands increase awareness – but what holds more weight – a brand interacting with you on Twitter or a consumer-peer blogging about the brand? For example, if a company has a product/service that you like but that isn’t top-of-mind with you, what would be more effective at not only catching your attention, but getting your business (i.e., begin using the product/service)?

Please take our survey or leave a comment – we’re curious. Thanks in advance!