Every semester, Next Step Communications accepts one undergraduate intern interested in gaining firsthand experience in public relations. As we made our way back in the office again for the first time since COVID started, our intern had the unique opportunity to partake in a hybrid model and work with us both in the office and remotely.
This fall, we were thrilled to welcome Boston University senior Miranda Johnson to our team! Miranda studies Public Relations at BU’s College of Communication with a minor in Psychology. As our intern, she dove headfirst into blog writing, social content creation, news scanning, and more. We recently sat down with her to see how her experience interning at Next Step is going and what she has learned so far from working in the fast-paced world of public relations. Continue reading to get to know Miranda, from what drew her to healthcare PR to her favorite beverage and hobbies.
WHY HEALTHCARE PR?
Healthcare PR is a unique intersection of my different interests. I was drawn to PR because I love writing, and I find the fast-paced environment exciting. I love that no day is exactly the same, so you’re required to think strategically and quickly on your feet. In terms of the healthcare component, I’ve been interested in working in the medical field for as long as I can remember. I want to help people by diagnosing and treating diseases, but I realized early on that a career in nursing or pre-med isn’t for me. Healthcare PR allows me to still get involved in patients’ journeys and use my communication skills to make a difference for these patients – which is very rewarding.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST AS YOU DOVE INTO PR?
As I dove into PR, I was most surprised by the depth of research that is required before any content is created. I used to think of PR as being solely communication-focused, but interning at Next Step has allowed me to see the extensive research that is behind every social post, blog, and media pitch – such as researching what reporters would be targets for certain pitches, looking for articles to promote on social media, and diving into all things TikTok for a client project.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR TIME AT NEXT STEP?
My time at Next Step has allowed me to strengthen the PR skill set I’ve been taught in the classroom and provide valuable hands-on experience by teaching me to think quickly on my feet and multitask effectively. I’ve been able to try my hand at every facet of PR, from crafting news scans to creating media lists and social media content, which are all valuable skills that can’t truly be taught in a classroom. I also got to see what a tremendous difference team collaboration makes in the work that’s created and the overall productivity of a PR agency. Everyone at Next Step is always willing to go the extra mile to help each other out, whether brainstorming ideas, providing feedback on work, or simply cheering each other on.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OVERALL CHALLENGE YOU FACED DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP?
The biggest challenge I have faced so far during my internship was managing my time to meet deadlines and adjusting to the pace of work. Understanding how to keep on top of routine tasks while having new client work layered each day was a challenging yet welcomed learning experience. Everything in PR is proactive and premeditated, so there is always more to do, and I never truly feel like my work is done. I had trouble at first figuring out how to juggle multiple tasks for different clients without losing the quality of my work, but I’ve been able to adapt, and I feel more confident in my ability to multitask. I still find the pace to be challenging at times, but thanks to my time at Next Step, this is now a skill in my PR toolbox that I will take with me in future endeavors.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF SO FAR?
So far, I am most proud of the blogs I’ve written for our client OvuSense. Seeing my writing/work published on a client’s website as a college intern is a great feeling, and has helped me build confidence in my abilities. By writing these blogs, I got to dive into the part of healthcare PR that drew me to the field in the first place: taking information from medical professionals and, through storytelling, communicating it to the public to help patients by raising awareness. It gives me a sense of purpose to use my PR skills to share how our client’s products are helping people.
WHAT IS YOUR (PLANNED) #NEXTSTEP AFTER GRADUATION?
While I am still figuring out where I want to live post-grad, I hope to continue my career in PR by working at an agency or doing in-house work for a healthcare/fitness/wellness company. In the meantime, I plan to spend the next few months leading up to my graduation gaining as much hands-on experience in the field as I can and strengthening my PR skill set.
Beverage: Coffee or Celsius energy drinks (is it obvious that I’m a caffeine addict?)
Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Movie: Any movie in the Harry Potter series
Activity: Spinning & Pilates
Type of cheese: Cheddar