Benjamin Franklin once said, “tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” These timeless words have been my guiding star throughout my journey in the world of public relations.
Hello, my name is Samantha Cardona, I am an intern at Strategic Objectives, PR Agency of the year 2023. My love for writing and knack for creativity started young. I always knew I wanted a career that entails each of these two things, so I obtained my degree in Communication and Media Studies with a specialization in Public Relations.
I thought long and hard about what type of PR work I wanted to do, was it non-profit, in-house or agency? I leaned towards agency due to its busy nature, but choosing the right agency for me was most important.
When I began my search for an internship, I was looking for agencies with two defining characteristics:
- They are known for creative and dynamic work
- They contribute to the growth of aspiring PR practitioners, by involving them in meaningful work.
Surprise, surprise, Strategic Objectives (SO) stood out among the rest in these areas!
I first heard about SO in a university class, discussing creative campaigns when their work with SpongeTowels Spring Cleans Toronto came up. I remember thinking, “wow the PR team actually made a paper towel fun and exciting while also encouraging me to spring clean!” Ever since then I have kept my eye on the agency and when I learned of their eagerness and commitment to nurturing young PR practitioners, I applied in seconds.
Working at SO
Starting my internship at SO, I set numerous goals for myself, I call it my “PR bucket list” which includes everything from expanding my writing skills to helping execute on-site events.
Throughout my internship thus far, I am ecstatic to say that I have already accomplished several goals. I am learning more than I ever imagined, with so many great mentors supporting me along the way. Shout-out to Katherine, Terina, Taffin, Siobhan, Christine, and Lauren!
The amazing SO team mentors me through diverse tasks and clientele. I contribute to many areas of PR including, nonprofit, beauty, health and wellness, and much more.
I am a part of some amazing campaigns, like Kia Canada’s Electrifying Road Trip. This influencer campaign helps spread awareness about the ease of living with an EV. The influencers produce gorgeous social media content which I monitor, track and report. I also participated in event management at Watier’s Neiges 30th Anniversary party. Watier hosted a fun filled cocktail party to educate influencers, media and beauty lovers about make-up application tips and skin care advice. I had so much fun helping transform the event space into a beauty-lounge.
Within these campaigns I successfully pitched journalists, signed on influencers and not to mention, watched live on-site a Cityline segment for Benjamin Moore's much anticipated color of the year 2023 announcement! I was so thrilled I got to meet Tracey Moore and be behind the scenes at a TV taping. Above all else, I work with brands I love, like St. Francis Herb Farm!
Top 5 Key Learnings
Throughout this experience I have learned invaluable lessons and skills, with the top five being:
- Writing a newsworthy pitch. It is an important skill to master, as I spend 50% of my time pitching and turning a simple fact into an engaging story is truly an art.
- Navigating media monitoring tools. PR is all about earning news coverage and knowing how to measure the value of coverage is essential.
- Skillfully orchestrating influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer marketing is at its peak, so knowing how to leverage digital creators is crucial.
- Successful brand storytelling and how to amplify it in an intriguing way. Brands are more than their products and services. Each has their own story and commitment to community that deserves just as much attention as their products!
- And all the immense hard work that goes into creating a strategic PR plan on a national scale for well-known global companies. It can look easy, but it takes months of hard work from an extremely passionate and talented team.
My favourite thing about working at SO is that there is always one, if not several, SO teammates cheering me on and offering a helping hand when needed. I remember when I successfully pitched a journalist and landed earned coverage for the very first time, the entire team was quick to recognize and celebrate my success with me. This kind of support makes me feel as if I have been a part of the SO family for four years when in fact it has only been four months!
My internship has been one of the most eventful experiences of my life. Every day I learn more about the PR industry and advance my communication skills, contributing to amazing campaigns for amazing brands that now hold a dear place in my heart.
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