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Intern Insights: PR and Social Media Worlds Collide

August 9, 2016 - Advertising, Branding, Graphic design, Marketing, Public relations, Social Media -

When I first applied to intern at O’Donnell Agency, I knew of the firm’s reputation as a marketing innovator, but I never expected to be swept up in the excitement from my first day by getting real-world insight into ideas, strategy sessions and tactics at work in what might be my future career path. As soon as I entered the lobby for my first day, it was clear that this agency was anything but average.

I’m Bronson Rauch, a sophomore at Suncoast Community High School. I had the incredible opportunity to join the O’Donnell Agency team this summer as a Public Relations and Social Media Intern.


My first day I spent some time shadowing each department. This was a great opportunity to experience the many aspects of the Agency including public relations, advertising, social media, graphic design, and cinematography. Since I am somewhat artistically challenged, I quickly realized that the design aspect is not for me and I spent most of my time learning about PR and social media marketing.

From calendar listings to crisis management (we had an unusual number of serious issues to manage during my time there) to content strategy and creation, I got a real feel for public relations and how closely it intertwines with social media. I learned that not only is it crucial in this fast-paced, high-pressure industry to have a strong social media presence to drive awareness for your brand or business, but there are many strategies, tools and tricks to create optimized and engaging content. Simply posting a status will not work, and this is where too many brands fall short. This was probably one of the most surprising things I learned in my time here since I always viewed social media as just another marketing option for companies, rather than a necessity.

Whitney Pettis, O’Donnell’s Director of Digital Strategy, showed me how Facebook, Twitter and Instagram algorithms work (I never knew these existed!) and how she structures content to overcome them and gain the best reach for the Agency’s clients. She even gave me the opportunity to create mock content to learn the best ways to communicate with various audiences and industries.

I want to express how kind and open the people who work here are. Every single person is welcoming, extremely easy to talk to and open to sharing their experiences and answering any questions I had throughout my experience. It made a huge difference and although I was still nervous about making mistakes, I felt comfortable asking questions and discussing potential ideas for clients with the team.

I can’t think of a way I would have rather spent my summer. The team went out of their way to help me learn and experience all aspects of the industry, from sitting in on client meetings to researching potential opportunities for the firm. I can honestly say that I am excited for a future in PR and social media as a result of this summer at O’Donnell Agency.


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