During my junior year at the University of Houston Downtown and the spring semester of 2020, I had a PR internship at Thompson & Co. Public Relations in the Houston office. My time at T&C consisted of writing blog posts, drafting captions for social media, lots of research and account planning meetings.

When T&C Vice President Liz Baker told me I was going to write a blog that would be published online, I panicked a little. Changing my writing from academic essays for school to creative and engaging blog posts was an adjustment. However, once I got the hang of it, I loved that style of writing.

One of my favorite internship tasks was writing for The Alaska 100, a monthly e-newsletter with stories that are exactly 100 words. I was assigned an Alaska-themed article for each edition. The stories I wrote went to 15,000 subscribers and were published online, giving me my first work samples for my portfolio.

While I learned to enjoy writing for blogs, another writing task turned out harder than I expected. Drafting captions for social media posts was the most challenging part of my internship because each client has a different voice and style for their different channels. One must be serious and factual, while another could be fun and lighthearted.

Drafting captions strongly improved my writing skills, but another aspect of the content creation was research. This piece fine-tuned my creative thinking abilities as I sought out content from other users’ social channels to share from client accounts. (I learned this is a great way to promote social media engagements!)

I had the most fun doing this for Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. I combed through beautiful photos and exciting travel stories about the Southeast Alaska community.

While working with the digital and creative content teams, I learned more about T&C’s tactics for PR messaging. Search engine optimization is important for reaching target audiences, and I observed how the teams integrate programs like SEMrush keyword planners into content creation strategy.

I also learned how to use Cision to build media lists and monitor news coverage, among other skills that I hadn’t yet learned from my college courses in communications.

One of the biggest takeaways from my internship is that T&C really cares about its employees and clients. This agency is full of public relations professionals who love their job and are passionate about doing their very best for their clients.

The work atmosphere is so welcoming, and everyone embraces the agency’s family first Tenet & Conviction. Even though I was an intern, I was never treated like one. The tasks I was given were challenging but achievable and built on the skills I possessed.

My advice for any student interested in pursuing an internship is don’t be afraid to ask for help. As interns we feel the need to do everything right in order to impress; we often think asking for help isn’t an option. Asking for help doesn’t make you seem less competent, it shows your willingness to do a good job.

  • Julyssa Bogan, former T&C intern and communications major at University of Houston Downtown

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