What My First Agency Internship Taught Me


By: Kristal Castro, Account Supervisor at PRLab 

October 1, 2018 

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at Matter Communications’ Boston office. Matter is a public relations agency with a vibrant company culture and robust team of PR professionals. It was invigorating to work for a company that had “Matter Fun Days” and a volunteering initiative. It came as no surprise that my manager took me under her wing and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. A big part of my growth came from all of the learning opportunities I had. Sitting in on company presentations and workshops was instrumental in learning about the importance of networking and media relations. I was assigned to two company clients, which allowed me to learn about client needs, team dynamics, and work distribution. It was exciting to perform work for real clients that in turn was used. This internship was my first time working at an agency, which raised the stakes because, while I felt I had a knowledge base in terms of my previous experiences, I knew I was going to learn invaluable skills from the many PR professionals around me.

If there was one thing that I did really well this summer it was saying “yes.” When my supervisor asked me to take the first stab at a press release for our client I said, yes. Was I terrified? Absolutely. No intern wants to “mess up” on their first client assignment. The wonderful thing about teams and being an intern is the opportunity to grow and learn from all the work that is being offered to you. There was not one time throughout the entirety of the summer that I turned down an opportunity to learn. I was curious and excited to tackle new assignments because, while I was anxious, I knew that this was my chance to take on a challenge in a position designed for growth.

Prior to my internship I had never written a pitch, much less contacted a reporter.

What did I do?

I compiled a media list, and pitched journalists. I was asked to write a briefing document for a client’s Wall Street Journal interview, so with the guidance of my supervisor, I did just that. It was rewarding to work on many aspects of the client’s scope of work. I drafted social media posts and sometimes  took on a few extra drafts. I worked on daily news scan and learned about the importance of understanding my client’s industry to the point where it felt like I was the client myself. It was important to be a fountain of knowledge for my client and for my team, so that I could support my work with the information I was learning on a regular basis. The fact that I got accustomed to tracking certain retail and technology reporters, even missing their articles on the days that they did not release one, was a clear indicator that I was truly getting to know the industries my clients called their own.

However, there are things that I would do a bit differently. If I could go back in time and change a few things about my experience it would be to ask more questions and voice more
 ideas. I spent a big part of the summer worried that I would say the wrong thing or overstep my boundaries, so much so, that I muted my creativity. This was an opportunity for me to brainstorm and share my ideas on client opportunities and part of me assumed that because I was an intern, my thoughts were not wanted. I thought that as long as I accomplished what was asked of me and worked diligently on meeting all of my assignments deadlines, then I was doing enough.

My advice to the next intern? Speak up. Ask more people for coffee dates. Don’t be afraid to engage with your peers. It can be so easy to focus so much on just accomplishing the task on hand that you forget about this network of people sitting in the same office as you.

My summer allowed me to feel like a PR professional in downtown’s busy neighborhood. I was rewarded with experience that has carried over to my client relations this semester. I feel confident in handling PR plans, taking on client meetings, and presenting new ideas. Being open-minded and willing to challenge my own expectations is what I valued most from my summer at Matter Communications and I know that it will reflect in all of my future work.