Posts Tagged 'SHIFT Communications'

Confessions of a PR Intern: How To Spend Your Summer as a SHIFTer

By Lexie Bowser



For the past three months I have interned at SHIFT Communications in Boston, MA. If I were to describe my first day, or month, of work in one word it would be: intimidating. Seeing as this was both my first internship and first experience in PR, I was not sure what to expect. I was frequently dodging terms, such as b-doc, clipping, media list and other various jargon words, while trying to maintain my composure.

However, after learning from my remarkably patient team and the mistakes that I can’t pretend I didn’t make, I started to get the hang of things. I worked on a team whose clients were mainly tech and social tech. Three months ago, I would’ve had no idea what that meant. Even after conducting my own researching and scheduling a briefing session with my team, I wasn’t remotely close to being comfortable with what the clients do. If I had never immersed myself into this internship, I never would have known what phenomenon’s like BYOD and cloud computing were.

Most college students would be fine with never knowing what these tech-y terms mean and I have to admit that I was one of them! But instead of staying in my comfort zone and dealing with concepts and situations that I was familiar with, I was determined to master an entirely new set of skills, which is a critical take away for any intern experience. Whether it’s technology, finance or bio-chemistry, learning about a new space, and becoming comfortable with it, is an imperative life skill.

Before I knew it, I was monitoring for coverage and drafting clients’ tweets like it was second nature. I created and managed media lists, found potential events for clients and performed various administrative tasks. When I was asked to do research on a prospective client, I had the confidence to jump right in. SHIFT fostered an environment for me where I wasn’t scared to ask for help, but I was also assured that I had the ability to do the tasks asked of me.

As the summer comes to a close and I begin gearing up for school, I am realizing the impact this experience has had on me. Instead of being terrified of what the “real” working world has in store for me after graduation, I am excited for the options I can explore. I am so thankful for the opportunity that SHIFT gave me to learn the ins and outs of Public Relations and I can’t stress how much this real-world experience has helped me learn. I will miss being at SHIFT, but I would not have wanted to spend my summer any other way!

10 Things We Didn’t Know About PR

By: Rachel Huxley-Cohen

Entering the real world is scary. Something that’s even scarier is when you’re bombarded with weird, office jargon that leaves you feeling incompetent on day #1. We spend four years in college, preparing for the “real world” and learning the ins and outs of our chosen fields, but sometimes (okay, MOST times) that just isn’t enough. And you quickly learn that nothing beats real world experience.

Something I have found either insanely embarrassing or very hysterical are the simple things (buzz words, daily tasks, etc) that I didn’t know about PR before entering my first big kid job at SHIFT. So, in an effort to not feel like a total misfit, I reached out to my colleagues and together we have pulled together a “Top 10 List” of funny, embarrassing and sometimes insightful, things we did NOT know about PR before entering the field.

  1. I never realized how many people don’t understand what PR is. No I am not in advertising, living the life of Samantha Jones or lying on behalf of clients in order to get coverage. Other than that, PR can be just as badass and as fun as you think it would be. – Mallory Cloutier, Account Manager
  2. The PR world is small. Everyone knows everyone. – Katie Boucher, Account Executive
  3. The phrase “off the record” really means nothing. NOTHING is off the record! You can be quoted as a spokesperson for any client, any time. – Ann Marie Gorden, Account Executive
  4. I didn’t know that I would, in addition to various PR skills, become an administrative wizard. Scheduling calls, rescheduling calls, combing calendars for availability, setting up dial-ins, corralling people into conference rooms, and here and there, fighting the good Go-to-Meeting fight. Also, typing an email while looking at your colleague over your desk is like throwing a dart at the target while wearing a blindfold. If I don’t misspell something, I feel awesome. – Amanda Guisbond, Senior Account Executive
  5.  I didn’t know that I could get so many emails in the span of one bathroom break. – Emily Wienberg, Account Coordinator
  6.  I get to sign up for all the social sites I otherwise would be too embarrassed to admit using.  “Me on Pinterest?…ughhh yea, it’s only because I use it for work.” – Scott Baldwin, Account Manager
  7. Databases. Galore. – Denise Bertrand, Account Coordinator
  8. I didn’t know just how much jargon the PR industry has. You start off not knowing what’s in a client’s “wheelhouse” or how to “circle the wagons” and vowing never to use these phrases. And then one day you find yourself referencing “bandwidth” and “get your ducks in a row” in a team meeting…  – Sarah Bergeron, Account Executive
  9. I didn’t know I would require skills in psychology. So much of the work involves counseling, giving advice, and being a good listener.  – Danielle Mancano, Senior Account Manager
  10. My family will never understand what I do day to day. “No, Grandpa Albert. I don’t plan and attend parties every day.” – Ciri Haugh, Senior Account Executive

Why SHIFT Clients Rule: Pizza, Cookies & Praise

By Amanda Guisbond, @agbond

A couple of very important things happened this week at SHIFT’s Offices in Newton:

First, there was an unexpected delivery of baked goods.

Second, there was a just-as-unexpected delivery of Chicago deep-dish pizzas.

Why, you may be asking, were these considered significant events?  No, not because us SHIFT-ers LOVE free food (and we do) but because both were edible “kudos” from different clients wanting to congratulate their SHIFT account teams on a job well done.

First up the Rapid7 PR team delivered some INCREDIBLE media results as part of a rapid response pitching opportunity, resulting in coverage in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Reuters (just to name a few).  As a “thank you” Rapid7 sent the SHIFT team a basket of cookies and brownies.  Mmmm!

The next day, the HIMSS PR team received a shipment of four individual Chicago deep-dish pizzas from their beloved client contact in – you guessed it – Chicago.  There was no specific reason for the delivery, per se, except that HIMSS wanted to recognize “all the great work” the team had accomplished over the past year and in lieu of being able to take everyone out to lunch in Boston.  Awww…

It’s no surprise – heh – that this kind of recognition makes our day as PR representatives!  When clients go the extra mile to make us pause and reflect on the great work we’re doing together it only inspires us to want to kick even more butt on behalf of our partners-in-crime.

Thank you to Rapid7, HIMSS and all of our clients who appreciate, encourage and support us and our PR efforts – and understand the fastest way to our hearts is through our stomachs!

Thank you Rapid7 for the basket of cookies and brownies!

Thanks to our Chicago HIMSS contact for the Chicago deep-dish pizzas! What a surprise!

Intern 101 with Mich Wells

Starring @itsamich, Produced by @MadelineWillman

SHIFT San Francisco’s Mich Wells gives some great intern advice all while having fun! Hear about what she loves about SHIFT, what’s she has learned so far and the two tips she has for incoming interns – she also dances with Cowboy Todd, leaps through the halls, flirts with Edward Cullen and more –  so check it out:

The Real Winner of Super Bowl 2012: Social Media

By Dave Finn (@DFinn0711)

We all know how quickly social media has changed the way information is shared and consumed. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and all the rest transcend boundaries and are now used as key outlets for foreign governments, Major League Soccer teams, media publications, school districts and everything in between. Simply put, social media provides individuals and organizations a microphone that projects their voices across the globe.

The host committee of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis is the latest example of an organization using social media to consolidate and project its voice and the information it has to share. Raidious, an Indy-based digital marketing firm, has put together a team to manage all Super Bowl-related social media activity. With at least 70,000 fans in town to watch Giants-Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium yesterday and thousands more in the area to enjoy Super Bowl Week festivities, the team’s mission was simple: get the important event information out efficiently.

This was Indianapolis’ first crack at hosting a Super Bowl – and as far as I know, Indy isn’t a popular tourist attraction – so it’s likely that most visitors to the city knew absolutely nothing about it.

That’s where the social media team came in.

In addition to monitoring key words and trends contained in the countless number of Super Bowl game-related tweets, the team used social media platforms to share parking, ticket, event and facility information as well as directions to restaurants and bars, complete with drink deals.

Downtown Indianapolis’ layout is very condensed, so traffic was a nightmare all week. But the social media team didn’t let that fall through the cracks. On Friday, @SuperBowl2012, the team’s official Twitter handle, responded to an Indianapolite (Indianapolan? Indianapoler?) complaining about the gridlock:

Because of the social media team’s efforts, visitors to the capitol of Indiana experienced one-stop shopping for all relevant logistical information – and that’s the key. This brand new effort by the Indianapolis host committee demonstrates social media’s ability to unify a variety of different information in one place. The people running Super Bowl XLVI’s festivities certainly had a lot to say, but social media platforms afforded them one voice with which to say it.

With so much to do and see for fans during Super Bowl Week, this new age task force did its best to minimize aggravation and maximize the enjoyment of one of America’s biggest spectacles. They did it by using social media.

By many accounts, Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis was a huge success. And to think we’ve barely talked about the football game.


By Leslie Grant


Nearly one year ago, I made the decision to take a chance on you. At the time, I was living in sunny San Diego working a career in marketing and needed a change. So you’re probably wondering, why you? I mean, you weren’t exactly convenient. To be perfectly honest, I really just needed to get my foot in a door, any door – even if that meant moving across the state for an internship.

Lucky for me, I learned rather quickly (at least once I figured out that awkward mustaches weren’t actually a normal thing around here – thanks, Movember) that you were a pretty good door to have opened.

Over the course of a year, you have taught me everything there is to know and love about life as a 20-something living in SF – from wine tasting in Sonoma to summer Fridays, ice skating in Union Square and team bonding sessions at Sapphire (you know, the cheap dive bar down the street where fellow SHIFTers are known by first name) – I’ve learned that the key to happiness and success in the world of PR is good company and the occasional happy hour.

Oh, and then there’s the work part (how could I forget). I must say, you sure do know how to pick ‘em. Not only are SHIFTers super creative and dedicated PR rockstars, they are also eager to show the newbies how PR is really done. The opportunities to expand my knowledge of the industry and grow in my career have been endless and I’m constantly impressed by everyone’s hard work and most of all, passion.

Looking ahead, I’m excited for many more opportunities to learn and grow in the industry and for all of the fun activities that you have in store. I feel lucky to be a part of the SHIFT experience and can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.

Until next time,


The Best PR Advice I’ve Ever Received

Between managing different clients, media relationships and now social media channels, PR can be a delicate balancing act and a crash course in how to be efficient while still keeping a smile on your face. We recently polled a few of the SHIFT-ers to see what the best PR advice they have ever received was  – check out their thoughts below!


“Act like a duck…stay calm, cool and collected on the surface (to clients, the media, team members, etc.) even if you’re paddling like crazy under water (i.e., drowning in work load, working with clients, etc.).” – KT McGraw


“‘Be authentic. That’s the only way you’ll sustain any success in this industry.’ – Geoff Livingston, the Principal of Livingston Communications at the time and my first internship. I’ve taken this advice to heart every day of my PR career. Geoff solidified in me that your moral code never needs to go out the window when you’re representing a client.” – Andrew Waber


“The best PR advice I ever received was also some pretty good life advice!  A former boss asked me to send her some information and I did, but neglected to include an upfront recommendation.  My boss started firing back questions until we both got to my own opinion about the information.  She then said ‘That’s what I was looking for!  Remember to take risks.  It’s OK if sometimes you make a mistake, but I want you to tell me what you think about something, what your opinion is, what’s your recommendation.  I’m paying you for your BRAIN, lady.’  To this day I think, my team mates and leads aren’t looking to me to be an administrative robot, they’re looking for my creativity, point of view and expertise – my BRAIN.  It’s something I think about whenever I’m writing a press release, crafting a pitch or taking part in a brainstorm.” – Amanda Guisbond


“PR is not brain surgery. When you get worked up about a deadline or stress about an error, just remember people’s lives in are not in our hands. Hiccups or challenges will work out, or it can wait until tomorrow. Breathe a little easier now.” – Ciri Haugh


“An AE once told me that a subject line should be no longer than eight words, because “it’s a ‘line’ for a reason. No one reads an email if the subject line is a novel.” – Sarah Bergeron


“Think of every way possible to make your client’s life easier. When you start thinking like this, the creativity just follows.” – Mallory Cloutier


“‘Go for it!’ – Sofiya Cabalquinto, at the time Media Relations Manager at the Boston Museum of Science. This was in relation to an admittedly wild idea I had for a promotion for an upcoming black holes exhibit. The result was the creation of a “Black Hole Burger” at the famous Eagle’s Deli in Brighton, MA that simulated the voracious (and eventually slowing) appetite of black holes and an event to debut the concoction. I drove the creation and much of the publicity for the event, which gave me some much appreciated on the ground experience.” – Andrew Waber


“I always come back to… ‘Always SMILE!’” – Erin Albright


What’s the best PR advice you have ever received? Let us know – we would love to hear your thoughts!

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