I came into the Hawk Communications class this semester eager to expand my portfolio and absorb a wealth of knowledge about the world of public relations and strategic communication. What I received was the most invaluable and unique experience of my entire academic career.
Through the client selection process, I was given the opportunity to serve the New Jersey Warriors, a non-profit veterans hockey team that serves disabled veterans, and ReelAbilities New Jersey, a film festival that represents and celebrates disabled filmmakers and actors.
Each client had specific needs that required me to dig into my skill set. The New Jersey Warriors inspired creativity in the form of content creation and meeting hard deadlines. The ReelAbilities abilities client also encouraged me to explore my creative side with content creation and promotional outreach within the Montclair State University community. Learning each organization’s voice and showcasing their inspiring messaging through social media and other promotional avenues was challenging and rewarding.
When starting on these accounts, I quickly saw that the New Jersey Warriors already strong personal voice and I appreciated the detailed direction the client provided. However, there was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning with depicting the Warriors’ exact language and style. I was tasked with creating promotional graphics and captions using Canva, a software I’d used previously. As the semester went on, I fell into a routine and created posts that embodied The New Jersey Warriors brand, so everything became more natural. By the end of the term, I felt confident that I could create content that fit both the client’s need and style with little direction. My biggest challenge for this client was juggling the various hard deadlines and integrating client requests into my personal schedule.
ReelAbilities New Jersey was different. The deadlines were less stringent, and the client gave me ample room for personal growth and creativity. While ReelAbilities certainly has a clear voice and mission, I was tasked with building their Instagram presence from scratch. With minimal, but supportive direction from the client I was able to build a profile that reflected ReelAbilities but also incorporated my own personal creative ideas. Having the freedom to explore what kind of promotion was most engaging to the ReelAbilities audience was eye opening. It gave me insight into what it means to tailor content to your audience and being able to watch the Instagram following grow from zero to over 60 in a few short weeks was inspiring.
Coming into this class, I had very little skill in targeted content creation, and I am thankful that I was able to explore this side of public relations and strategic communication more in depth. I appreciate all the professional skills, both hard and soft, Professor Keith Green taught the class throughout the semester. If you are interested in a career in communications, I highly recommend this course. There are aspects of this career that I hadn’t considered before taking this course, and through Professor Green’s instruction and real-life experience, I sharpened the skills I came in with and developed new ones.