A PR professional in the making

Tsholo Montwedi

I can still recall clearly the day I received a call from Angela, telling me that I have been selected as one of the interns at FleishmanHillard South Africa. I went running to class and I ran out of breath because I was so excited. I could not believe what I had just heard and I felt like I was daydreaming.

My journey at FleishmanHillard has been nothing but the best I have ever had, and it still continues.

Being an intern provides the skills and experience needed to equip me to work in the PR industry.

What I enjoy the most about being an intern is that I get to learn more about other departments in terms of what they do, and how they do it. In that way, I can develop a passion for something and build more focus on it, and with the learning, I receive, become an expert in a chosen field.

So far I have worked across industries including healthcare, banking, insurance, NGOs, and various FMCG consumer brands.

These industries are all very different but they do have something in common, and that is I have learned a lesson from all of them, and that they individually need a strategy and approach to set them apart.

Through my experience of working at FleishmanHillard, I have really grown, not only as an individual but also as a team player and an up and coming PR consultant and communicator.

These are the lessons that I have learned since my arrival:

  • Respect and conduct.

This is one of the most important lessons I have learned that I will forever hold with me and build on. The work environment I am in means that I respect everyone and conduct myself in a professional manner. I have also learned that loving what I do is very important because this is the place where I spend most of my time and I have to make it count.

  • Writing

Writing is knowing your audience and your message. Comparing the first time I started writing media releases, newsletters, and competition copy, I have seen that I have improved and that with a lot of practice and feedback from my mentors, I will definitely become better at it.

  • Attention to detail

It is always the little things that matter and make the most impact, either positive or negative. For instance, when drafting a media list, what I had learned from Mpumi and Pippa, is that ensuring that the content aligns, using the same font and making the media list appealing to the eye is important so that it is easy to read.

  • Time

Being respectful of time is always the essence in everything I do. It determines how long it takes me to draft something, what time I get to work and when something is due. For me respecting time is very important because it can never be recovered. I have to make the most of the time I have and be of value to my organisation.

  • Communication

Knowing how to communicate and with who is also one of the things I have learned, communication is everything in the PR industry because how I communicate represents my personality and personal brand. When communicating with the media I have to be specific in terms of what I want from them and what I want to communicate, what is in line with what they do and how are they going to benefit.

The skills I have learned include writing media releases, newsletters, motivations, competition copies, drafting a content calendar, social media monitoring for brands and to track conversations in the media. Another essential skill is constantly being on the lookout for opportunities for our clients.