As my time as an intern with Curley & Pynn came to a close, I reflected on the many lessons I’ve learned. It goes beyond basic PR skills and deliverables. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been inspired by the strategy behind why we do what we do as communicators. It’s one thing to do it, but another to truly understand why you do it, giving you a holistic view of the bigger picture. And who better to have taught me this than the team of strategic thinkers at Curley & Pynn, whose very foundation relies on taking strategic approaches to everything they do?
They’ve helped me realize a very fundamental rule: Who, what, where, when and how are all important, but you cannot go on without the why. The why is what will pull people to the work you’re doing; it’s going to let them know why it’s worth it to them. Our team approaches every opportunity with an analytical mindset. By arming me with a strong background on Curley & Pynn’s clients and what drives them, I was able to better understand, and in turn, support their teams.
One example of how I learned to understand the “why” was during my work drafting an eNewsletter for the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, a 23-county region spanning from Florida’s Sun Coast to Space Coast that aims to grow the high tech industry and its workforce. Shared with stakeholders, university partners and residents alike, The Corridor’s monthly eNewsletter regularly features the biggest high tech industry news from the region, and part of my task was to author these summaries. I learned quickly that readers don’t simply want to know what happened, but rather, why it should matter to them or their interests. I pivoted my strategy and rather than summarizing the article itself, I dug deeper to distinguish the significance of the information to those in the economic development or high tech industries.
Over the course of this assignment, I gained two important skills: I learned to read more inquisitively; and, I learned to think from my target audiences’ perspective. While I am not exactly an expert on the complexities of the economic development and high tech industries, I’m able to match their key, specific “whys” more effectively through this way of thinking. By stepping into the mind of a reader, I’m able to write what speaks to them. I cannot stress how valuable it is to speak and engage with your audience, do your research and get to know them. There are many ways to get to know your audience better; through market research, many brands will even create personas for their customers in order to better visualize how to communicate with them.
There’s a reason our team asks clients about what keeps them up at night – it all goes back to knowing what is on their minds and why these issues matter. This approach makes us essential, strategic partners, and not just vendors trying to check a box. We prioritize work that matters most to the success of a business and its bottom line.
My time at Curley & Pynn has motivated me to keep asking questions so I may truly encapsulate a client’s voice. Open mindedness and an unrelenting willingness to learn will only help you grow in your communications career. You’ll understand clients better, produce higher quality work and score exceptional results.
As I look at this new year, I feel so grateful for my internship experience at Curley & Pynn – with the knowledge that I’m a stronger communicator that stops to ask: Why?