internship

By Keri Barker

Ready to start your PR career?

Firmani + Associates, a progressive public relations and marketing firm located in Seattle, Washington, is offering a four-month, full-time paid internship beginning this November.

We’re looking for highly motivated and talented candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism or another communication field, excellent writing and editing skills, and the drive to succeed. Knowledge of social media concepts and experience with execution and implementation is preferred.

We serve a range of industries, with a focus on legal, technology, health care and professional services companies. Our dynamic team provides interns the opportunity to work alongside savvy public relations professionals spanning a range of ages and experience levels. We pride ourselves on offering a real-world learning experience and value someone who will step up and add to our team of creative minds. Our interns gain hands-on experience with account coordinator-level responsibilities such as writing press releases, researching market trends, pitching to media outlets and planning strategic social media campaigns.

We offer an internship stipend, transportation stipend, paid holidays, and a bevy of other perks.

To be considered for this position, please send a copy of your resume, three writing samples, and a cover letter describing yourself, your work history, GPA, and why you think you’d make a good fit to recruiter@firmani.com.

By Mija Maslar

A Newsie’s Inside Look at the PR Profession

Working in the broadcast newsroom trenches earlier this year alongside industry professionals, I quickly established an aptitude for pitching and writing news stories, monitoring media outlets, and championing social media, as well as deciding which stories are relevant, and which are not.

After graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in May, I took a hiatus from the news grind to focus my attention on building other industry-relevant skills. Thanks to my involvement in on-campus organizations, I’d gotten my feet wet as a strategic communicator, and I was eager to see how this other side operates.

When I landed this internship opportunity at Firmani + Associates in Seattle, I made my way up the West Coast, trading in the comfort of my home in the desert for a shot to flex my PR muscles in the Emerald City.

I’ve been told that there’s a notorious love-hate relationship between public relations professionals and reporters, but it’s no secret that the success of their jobs depends on symbiotic collaboration.  Just as there are no mountains without valleys, there’s often no news update without a story source, and no client coverage without a media contact. While they may seem like each other’s arch nemeses, their relationship is the bread and butter of the media circuit; with both professions having their perks – and often a lot in common. Here are several ways to overcome the misconceptions plaguing each profession, bridge the gap and reap the rewards of this partnership that, in the end, boasts a mutual benefit.

 

3 Tips for PR professionals working with Journalists

Always personalize that media pitch

  • It sure can be time-consuming; but letting a reporter know that you’ve done your research builds some serious industry clout for both you and your client. Don’t make them do all the heavy lifting – do some digging on their beat and what type of stories they cover. Ask yourself, have they done a story like yours? Does it even make sense to pitch that reporter? Landing critical client media coverage often hinges on pitching to the right contact. By holding up your end of the bargain, you can quickly earn your stripes and build a reliable network of media contacts.

There’s a delicate line between being persistent and being pushy

  • All PR professionals understand the importance of the good ol’ media follow-up – what journalist doesn’t appreciate a juicy story tip? However, even with the best intentions, reporters can find your efforts less helpful and more harmful if you don’t understand the art of the craft. Let the story marinate, don’t give them a follow-up call before they’ve had the time to make it past the first sentence of your pitch. Phone calls, emails and voicemails… Some journalists appreciate them – others don’t. Take the time to hone your media contact network to understand their preferences, and don’t let faulty follow-up etiquette overshadow a good client story.

Don’t take the inevitable “no” too personally.

  • In such a fast-paced industry, it’s great when journalists respond at all – after all, they have hundreds of emails to sift through daily. Don’t let being shut down shake your confidence. Nine times out of ten, rejections are related to timing restraints, subject matter, or the presence of other stories that take priority. And with daily deadlines approaching, journalists don’t have much time to sugar-coat their responses. Be proud of the coverage you do secure!

 

3 Tips for Journalists working with PR pros

Sometimes, a response can save both sides a lot of time.

  • PR pros know you’re busy sifting through those emails, but they have a job to do as well. Sometimes letting them know you’re not interested, or referring them to another reporter who might be, can earn you points on both sides. The ones who care will take note, relieving you of any irrelevant pitches clogging your inbox. Also – if you share what types of leads are important to you, you could be the first one they go to with their next relevant pitch.

Don’t assume PR professionals are blindly pitching you

  • PR professionals always (or always should) have a plan. They’re business-minded strategists, with a commitment to their clients that they wouldn’t dare compromise by firing aimlessly into the newsroom abyss. They have done their homework; they’ve put in hours of meticulous research to know exactly why they are pitching you and why their story is important to your audience. So, give these seasoned informants the same respect you give your colleagues, because they’re here for the same reason you are – to communicate captivating messages to the public.

Build relationships; they can keep you connected

  • PR agencies have a wide range of clients and the opportunities to do, learn and participate are much bigger than one meager story pitch. Think of PR pros as the gatekeepers to endless information and exclusive content regarding their clients. PR pros have unique on-the-ground opportunities – i.e. being a client’s brand ambassador at large corporate events and engaging with hundreds to thousands of people. With their fingers on the pulse of some of the most influential companies and executives, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship will be your greatest asset.

By Keri Barker

F+A Spotlight: Meet Our Talented Intern

Next month, our fantastic intern Emily Pate will be moving to Michigan to begin another adventure. Emily has been an incredible asset to client work and agency projects alike, and her vibrant energy makes her someone everyone loves to be around. We’ve truly enjoyed working with her and watching her grow professionally.

Meet our talented intern:

The first day on the Wonderland Trail, Emily covered 18 miles. She also injured her leg. She kept going, and finished her goal of spending a week on the trail, completing 80+ miles. Emily brings that kind of determination, love of challenge, and optimism to her internship here at F+A. Emily works on multiple client accounts and has become an indispensable part of F+A’s own social media outreach team.

 Emily’s love of writing and creative problem-solving led her into the world of PR and communications early on. She graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Strategic Communications and several internships under her belt. From writing blogs and co-producing podcasts for individuals with disabilities at Rooted in Rights, to working on communications and outreach for LPFM Seattle Radio, to managing social media at Evado PR, Emily refined her skills while earning her degree.

One of Emily’s overriding goals is to use her communication skills to solve real-world problems. That’s evidenced every day in her work here at F+A, and outside the agency as the Communications Director of Survivor Support Network (SSN), a non-profit group whose mission is to support students who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. Emily’s favorite quote is by Angela Davis – “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” And she’s doing just that.

When Emily’s not working in her chosen profession, she’s drawing, traveling, enjoying time with friends and family, and planning her next hike. In fact, she’s preparing to tackle another long-distance trail after finishing this internship. We won’t say “break a leg” given her earlier injury, but we’re thrilled she’s headed back to one of her favorite areas and wish her a safe journey!

By Keri Barker

At F+A, Learning to Embrace the Constancy of Change

We used to enjoy the quaint brick facades and cement dragons adorning the old buildings here in South Lake Union.  Now trucks, bulldozers and hardhats are everywhere, razing those old buildings within a day or two—but the smell of rotting wood, damp foundation and crumbling brick is gone and the area feels more energetic and optimistic.

We used to make a quick trip across the alley to Paddy’s for an after-hours beverage and conversation.  Paddy’s doors are permanently locked now—but that quirky metal dog sculpture still greets passersby and we now enjoy after-hours wine-tastings and stories gathered around the big cement altar in the center of our office.

We used to be able to see the Blue Angels practice and watch the July 4th fireworks show from the office rooftop.   A large new building now blocks our view —but it’s beautiful and the sun reflecting off its window panels creates its own striking light show.

Change is constant.  It can be good, or not, depending on your point of view.  Here at F+A change always presents an opportunity to learn and grow.  We thrive on it.  Whether we’re welcoming a new employee, partner or client, we appreciate the reciprocal nature of the relationship.  We enjoy learning from the new party as much as we enjoy sharing our expertise with them.

Our internship program embodies that idea of constant change and mutual benefit.  The program offers interns the opportunity to work with every member of the agency and participate in almost every client account. Interns are encouraged to bring their own ideas to the table, participate in meetings, and add value to the agency and our clients while they learn, grow and refine their own skills.

Interns who thrive here enjoy problem solving, responsibility and autonomy.  They’re proactive and hold themselves accountable to clients and coworkers as well as their own high standards—marks of a true professional.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of talented interns over the years.  Completing the internship opens many doors—whether it’s at F+A, another agency, in-house or at a non-profit—our interns leave the program with skills and contacts they can use anywhere.  It’s always bittersweet when they finish the program and make their next career move, but we look forward to welcoming the next new intern.  Did I mention that change is constant?

By Caroline Emde

A Firmani + Associates internship is #MoreThanMakingCoffee

They say that when one door closes, another opens. Well, as I close my internship at F+A and prepare to walk through the garage door of opportunity that has opened in my professional life, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on my time here at Fairview Avenue North.

This has been my third communications industry internship – the first in an agency setting – and I can honestly say that I’ve learned more from my time at F+A than the two others combined.

The learning is magnified and the experience is unique.  Yes, you are an ‘intern,’ but one who gets real, hands on, account coordinator-level experience.  From the first week, I was editing press releases, sitting in on meetings, collaborating on strategy and drafting content – all efforts essential to the collective team and agency’s operations.

After four months, I’ve fine-tuned my communication skills, gained valuable industry knowledge and am proud to be walking away with:

  • Strong writing samples – From press releases, media alerts and corresponding coverage reports to comprehensive research whitepapers, I am now armed with an arsenal of proud writing samples that involve notable clients from across the Puget Sound region.
  • Experience pitching and communicating with journalists – Building relationships with influencers and enticing journalists to read and run with the material is half the battle. Whether communicating via email or over the phone, I feel more confident in my ability to pitch a story, garner feedback and see it through to print.
  • Familiarity with media and outreach monitoring – Optimizing platforms like Metro Monitor, Sysomos and Hootsuite put you on the pulse of information. I’ve learned that monitoring coverage not only provides valuable earned media metrics, but attentively listening to industry trends and avidly monitoring news paves the way for timely and creative content.
  • Exposure to crisis situations and strategy – F+A has a wide range of clients, from tech to healthcare, to organizations weathering a communications crisis. The agency is home to crisis experts; they know how to successfully navigate, advise and guide organizations through what may seem like a disaster. I’ll venture to say it’s been fascinating and enlightening to watch strategies unfold and see clients back on their feet and back in business once again.
  • A newfound appreciation for Google – Google is your friend; use it, abuse it, peruse it, choose it, schmooze it, news it and DON’T lose it (how do you think I found all these great words that rhyme?) But in all seriousness, research is the foundation to any successful strategy and when used strategically, Google can be an optimal research tool resting at your fingertips.

And yes – let’s not forget, a talent for brewing a very strong pot of coffee. Every morning the interns may be responsible for making a fresh pot of coffee and every evening we might clean out the grounds – but in between, nothing resembles your typical intern “grunt work.” Simply put, the F+A internship experience is way #MoreThanMakingCoffee.

Ready to start your PR career?
A Newsie’s Inside Look at the PR Profession
F+A Spotlight: Meet Our Talented Intern
At F+A, Learning to Embrace the Constancy of Change
A Firmani + Associates internship is #MoreThanMakingCoffee