Is it too lofty a goal to love the work you do, the people you work with, and the organization you serve? Luckily, no. Selena Coles, account manager at Herd Strategies, sang the praises of her workplace. Herd Strategies is a minority, woman-owned one-stop shop for marketing strategies, advertising, and public relations. I sat down with Selena Coles to discuss her role, internship opportunities, and what they look for interns.
Working for a Supportive Supervisor
“It’s amazing working under Denise [founder of Herd Strategies]. She is a wealth of knowledge and just knows so much about the discipline of Public Relations. When I don’t know something, no matter how busy her schedule is, she takes the time to help me find a solution. She’s like, ‘Okay, let’s take a step back.’ Her saying is, ‘Did you play the tape to the end?’ Together, we work through all of our options to find the best solution. So, I love working at Herd Strategies.”
The Account Manager Role
“As an account manager, my primary role is to service our clients. My job is to foster relationships, design marketing and communications strategies, prepare client presentations and reports, as well as manage our account coordinators. I love working with our account coordinators, especially when working on big, client projects. Being able to work collaboratively as a team is important to me and Herd Strategies. Also, as an account manager, I am Denise’s second in command, so when she’s out, our account coordinators will often turn to me for guidance and direction. It’s a lot of balls in the air but they never get dropped!”
Skills in the Role and Skills Learned
“It is definitely a one-stop-shop. You’re going to learn it all working at Herd Strategies! Every day, I know that I’m going to probably be doing a bit of everything. So, it allows me the chance to grow as a P.R. practitioner and helps grow the business.”
Selena mentions the following specifically:
- Crisis Management
- Community Engagement
- Social Media
“I can be indecisive but this job has definitely made me commit to a decision and stick with it. Even if you are unsure, you can never go to a client and tell them that you don’t know.”
“I lead a lot of team and client meetings so I have to embody the confidence to direct the conversation, answer questions, and provide counsel. For example, I may have a client who wants to issue a press release, however, a press release may not be the best choice. In this situation, it is my job to speak up and suggest another option like a social media post, or an Op-Ed instead. The beauty in this is painting the picture for the client and allowing them to see another form of communication.”
Being Open to Learning
“I’m [always] learning something new about media relations, or how to pitch to reporters, how to tweak my media alerts so I’m making sure I’m getting notified when news is being covered. I also like to remind myself that no one knows everything, there is always room to learn and grow. Take advantage of it.”
“Writing, proofreading, and editing are important. Even for social media posts, you’ve got to make sure your content goes up with no grammatical errors because you never know how many people will see it in five minutes. It sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many people do not proofread their material. I wouldn’t say that you need to be a great writer, but you need to be a good writer with the willingness to improve and take constructive criticism.”
Selena then mentions AP Style writing specifically.
We swapped stories about cringe-worthy moments when we noticed spelling errors after sending our work off over laughs. She gave the following advice.
“Follow [your organization’s] editing process. For example, say it’s Monday, and Thursday you need to post content. By Tuesday, you should already have the copy for your social media caption drafted. Then, if you can, have someone else proofread it. If not, walk away from it for 24 hours, then come back to [proofread] it.”
Selena also recommended creating a content calendar to be able to work ahead.
*Try creating your own editing process to illustrate leadership and self-direction.*
Internships and Opportunities
Of course, your favorite career coach couldn’t let the occasion pass without inquiring about ways for students to get involved.
“Students who want to intern with us need to be interested in public relations, what we do, our mission, who we are, and what we stand for. I’ve been at career fairs where students walk up and they know nothing. You need writing samples. Do you have a background in writing?”
Selena mentions looking for the following in students’ resumés:
- English writing courses
- Creative writing courses
- Knowledge of social media strategy
- Understanding what is going on in the news to stay on top of current events
“Communication is very important in this industry. I would even go on record to say that, at times you may have to over-communicate, especially when working in a virtual space. Context can get lost in translation through a text message or email, so sometimes you have to pick up the phone or schedule a Zoom meeting to talk.”
Other things Selena mentions are being a self-starter and paying attention to detail.
Herd Strategies offers summer internships for undergraduate students.
To stay connected, visit the Herd Strategies website or Instagram.