By Christina Giordano
“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on Public Relations.” This Bill Gates quote is a testament to the critical role of PR in any organization. I’ve always been aware of the significance of this industry, but it wasn’t until taking Hawk Communications that I realized the impact of Public Relations in social media. I manage the social channels and create content for my clients, the Garden State Winegrowers Association and the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State. Running these accounts for the past few months expanded my perspective on content strategy. I’ve learned that social media is indeed a PR function because earned media opportunities have the potential to maximize returns over that of paid advertising.
Audiences are cognizant of the difference between paid and earned media. When brands grow organically, it establishes a level of credibility that no advertising budget can match. For nonprofit clients, social media management from a PR standpoint is essential. From ideation to execution, content gets created differently when PR professionals take the lead. In my current internship, I work on the social media channels for a start-up brand at an advertising company. The approach at my internship differs significantly from the work I’ve done for my clients at Hawk Communications because our content strategy is driven by paid ads. I’m grateful for the challenge of growing accounts without an ad budget. This experience has made me re-evaluate what it takes to create compelling content and to motivate people to engage. I’m eager to leverage my experience with Hawk Communications and apply what I’ve learned to my future endeavors.
Being part of Hawk Communications honed my content creation skills. Working with The School of Communication and Media propelled me to learn more about graphic design, video editing and copywriting. Early in the semester, I created promotional content for students, faculty and organizations part of SCM. I was tasked with researching different people and groups to post content highlighting the accomplishments of members of the SCM community I was previously unfamiliar with. Later, our team added weekly campaigns to our content calendar. I chose to bring back the alumni feature posts, aiming to spotlight successful graduates that students could resonate with.
I sharpened my photography skills in working with the Garden State Winegrower’s Association. This client needed fresh content for their social channels, so my team and I visited three wineries to shoot photos and b-roll video clips. This was the first time I actually created content for a client. In my roles at previous internships, I worked on the research and writing side of PR by creating media lists, writing press releases and pitching journalists. The ground work of creating content gave me a new perspective when thinking about managing the social media accounts for a client. This experience inspired me to develop my hard skills outside of writing in order to best serve an organization with a variety of PR needs.
I’m grateful for the experience of taking Hawk Communications, especially during an unprecedented time like the pandemic we’re currently dealing with. For the first time in my college career, I feel like I gained a 360-degree experience of agency life. This class allowed me to take the lead on projects that required skills out of my comfort zone. Moving forward, I aim to approach future projects with all I’ve learned through Hawks.