Louise Wheelan is our Digital Intern and joined Pagoda PR at the end of January as part of her university placement. She is studying Marketing with Digital Media at Edinburgh Napier University and is looking to pursue a career in digital marketing. Louise reflects on her journey at Pagoda and discusses the benefits of taking on an internship.
In January of this year, I was a Marketing with Digital Media student at Edinburgh Napier and had very little experience in the marketing and digital industry, having decided to change career in 2020 from the beauty industry.
I needed a placement opportunity as part of my third-year module: ‘Work Based Learning’, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to secure one due to high demand.
After studying for a few years, I was eager to get out into the workplace and learn more about my career of choice. I was put in touch with Pagoda’s Deputy Managing Director, Holly Russell through a mutual friend. We met for a coffee to discuss what I wanted to achieve out of a placement, what areas I was interested in and if Pagoda would be a suitable placement host and two weeks later I was starting at Pagoda as an intern! It’s an amazing opportunity to work in a well-established PR consultancy like Pagoda alongside such an experienced team. Having never worked in an office environment before, it was daunting, but the team couldn’t have been more welcoming.
As part of my placement, I need to write a graded report on my experience, as well as including relevant theory and models. This report is worth half of my third-year grade, so it was important that I had plenty of suitable tasks and responsibilities throughout the internship.
During my internship, I have been working across accounts, mostly focusing on digital aspects such as social media and content creation – two areas which I’m very passionate about. Pagoda has been fantastic at making sure my workload is related to my degree and areas of interest. They planned a well-structured induction from day one, with various team members introducing me to the accounts I’d be working on. I’ve worked closely with Pagoda’s Digital Content Strategist, Melissa Jones because of the skills I am acquiring. Melissa has been brilliant at providing training sessions and answering questions, as well as just demonstrating how to do the job well.
A great part of my experience has been delving into the world of PR: creating media lists; conducting influencer research; and attending a client launch event. At this event I met journalists and local influencers, which was totally out of my comfort zone, but was such a great networking opportunity.
I also had a brilliant time attending the Scotland PRCA DARE Awards with the Pagoda team; seeing us win two awards (Medium Consultancy of the Year and the Digital and Social Media Award). This was so exciting and it was an amazing experience to be part of a team and to see the wide range of Scotland’s PR industry. Another highlight, of course, has been the regular Pagoda socials which have included a couple of pub quizzes and visiting the Neighbourgood Market; great fun with a great team!
I have particularly enjoyed some of the creative tasks such as creating and designing assets for clients based on brand guidelines and learning how to write suitable social media copy. This has helped me to develop essential digital and writing skills. I feel proud to have made a difference to some client accounts, generating content that upped their engagement, supported their brands and increased business. This has really taught me the commercial purpose of digital and social marketing.
I highly recommend doing an internship, whether through a university placement or as a stand-alone role. As someone who had very limited industry experience, the knowledge and skills I’ve gained from working at Pagoda has been so valuable and will contribute massively to future job opportunities and my broader office life throughout my career.
The great news is that my internship has been extended for a couple of months which means I get to work with team Pagoda for a little while longer before I head off to the US for the next stage of my career. I can’t thank the team enough for their continued support, for welcoming me so warmly and for also providing me with such a fantastic learning experience.
Pagoda PR will always consider paid internships and if you have an interest in talking to the team, head over to our jobs page and get in touch.