3 PR Lessons I Learned During My Co-Op at Greenough

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Ben Kulis
June 29, 2021

By Lilly Wilcox, English and Communication Studies at Northeastern ’22

While it’s a word that has been overused to describe the winter of 2021, uncertain is how I felt coming into my co-op with Greenough. I was worried about joining the agency virtually, and I didn’t have any background in healthcare or tech PR.  

Luckily, the Greenough team is experienced in remote onboarding and was eager to teach me everything I needed to know about these new industries. Working with brilliant colleagues, I have learned an immense amount in a short period of time, and I can hardly believe that my co-op has already come to an end. Following are just a few nuggets of wisdom from Greenough that will stick with me long after my departure:

If you can send an email, you can pitch.

In a weekly debrief meeting in the early part of my co-op, I confessed to Annie, a former co-op turned full-time account executive, that I sometimes felt I wasn’t qualified to pitch seasoned reporters as a college student. Annie passed along advice that she received when she was experiencing the same uncertainty during her first stint at Greenough—pitching is just sending emails.

While it is a little more nuanced than that, Annie gave me a confidence boost and reminded me that everyone has to start somewhere in the PR industry. With the support and expertise of my teams, I was able to develop my pitching skills and deliver results for clients.

Working in PR, you can become an expert in anything.

I was responsible for putting together media scans each morning to track coverage of Greenough clients and industry storylines. While this could be a time-consuming task, it became one that I enjoyed. Kicking off each morning with a deep dive into the news of the day quickly brought me up-to-speed about the clients I worked with and the industries that were new to me.

In a response to a thank you email from a colleague after a particularly long scan, I wrote, “I’ve learned a lot about something I likely wouldn’t have been tuned into otherwise, so doing these media scans has definitely been a valuable experience for me.”

Before working at Greenough, I never imagined I would be able to explain the semiconductor shortage or the significance of allergy diagnostics. Although news scans aren’t the most glamourous part of PR, they have been a crucial part of my learning experience.

PR affects more than just your client.

One of my great privileges at Greenough was supporting the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, which has been diligently working on the front lines of the pandemic. EBNHC was responsible for some of the first and biggest testing operations in Massachusetts and began vaccinating the greater Boston population shortly before I joined the team in January.

One of the Health Center’s missions this past six months has been to combat vaccine misinformation and get shots into the arms of vulnerable populations. Their work has paid off. State data released in May shows that the highest rate of Latinx vaccinations were in East Boston, Chelsea and Revere—all hard-hit areas that were served by the Health Center.

I saw firsthand how Greenough’s efforts getting EBNHC’s message out led to a successful vaccination campaign in the greater Boston area, and I am grateful to have played a small role in that.

Looking back at my co-op experience, I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and know that these lessons will stick with me. I’m excited to take them back the classroom for my final year at Northeastern and pass the baton to Greenough’s next lucky co-op.

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