What is an Internship, Really?
Since all hell broke loose with the US economy back in 2007, internship has become the latest job market buzzword. The more this term is tossed around, the more confusion builds around what an internship actually is.
If you think an internship is a shoe-in for a sweet office job once the summer is over, or an ideal position for someone who loves making Starbucks runs, or a term employers use to scam free work out of unsuspecting post-grads, you are so wrong.
As someone who has held multiple internships (ahem, yes multiple), I’ll lay out for you what a real internship is and why you may want one, or two, or three…
What is an internship? It’s a chance.
- a chance to build experience in a field you’re interested in. You wouldn’t become a stock trader if your passion is in marine science, so why would you seek out an internship in an industry you’re not personally interested in? The second you stop learning or caring, you know you’re in the wrong place. Internship should not associated with waste of time.
- a chance to make mistakes. This doesn’t mean blow off the details, it means take big chances and try something new.
- a chance to find your niche. You know you like baking, but you didn’t know you loved creating interesting cupcake flavors or had a passion for cannolis until you started an internship at your favorite bakery. Discover what makes you happy.
- a chance to validate your passion. Show your industry that you’re there to make a difference and do big things. Make a splash and people will notice. Don’t just impress your boss, impress yourself.
Yes, you may be a little broke during your internship, you may be a little tired, you may not know exactly what you’re doing, but if everything is handed to you how are you going to grow? You only get one chance in this life, so go big and run with it.
Go find an internship somewhere you want to work, not just the next place that posts an ad, and work your butt off. Don’t get your hopes up that you’ll land your own clothing line after a week like LC on The Hillls, but if you work hard you’ll create a network of contacts, build your experience and find your passion.
Want to know more about me and my experience with internships? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my LinkedIn, I’d love to answer your questions!
image source: realmofthesenses.tumblr.com
How to Build Your Brand’s Pinterest Strategy
Like every other person on the planet, or at least a whopping 2.2 million of them, I love Pinterest. Pinning in the morning, pinning in the evening, pinning at supper time. I’ll do it whenever, just give me pictures of delicious cake and enough inspirational fitness quotes to make me self-conscious and I’ll be hooked for hours.
For someone who loves pinning so much, you’d think being paid to pin would be a dream job. And yes, of course, you’re right! But instead of working for a fancy boutique or bakery, I work at Flud, a tech startup and I’m responsible for making our Pinterest boards awesome.
When I started with Flud in October of 2011, our brand’s Pinterest profile profile was a confused mix of nerdery and baked goods. It was a fun place to discover new things, but it wasn’t serving the purpose we needed it to — educating users, promoting products, etc… you know, the things brands need to do to spread awareness.
It was obvious changes needed to be made, but what? I sat down with Dani Fankhauser and Bobby Ghoshal for a little brainstorming session to figure out how to leverage Pinterest as a useful asset and not another time suck — as time is one of the things we run short of on a daily basis.
One white board and 30 minutes later we had defined our brand’s goals and created a very simple action plan:
- Create a comprehensive one-stop point of reference — a visual autobiography, an archive of everything Flud, a photo-style wiki if you will. Ideally, anyone from a journalist, to a fan, to someone who has never heard of Flud in their life, should be able to reference our Flud Pinterest profile and find any information they want on our company. If it’s pro-Flud and on the web, it’s pinned to our boards. This means press coverage, Flud blog posts, fan photos, Flud team photos, product shots, etc. etc.
- Keep users clicking on our content. To make this happen, all of our pins, or at least a majority of them, need to link back to Flud assets — our website, blog posts, etc. What’s the point of promoting pins that ultimately lead fans away from our content?
- Become thought leaders in our field. As the first true social news reader we need to prove we know who’s who in the news industry, that we’re up on current events and we know what’s happening in the mobile-social news space. We need to pin data and infographics, top news stories and links to bios of our favorite reporters and journalists.
- Define our boards. Here we determined what boards we would need in order to achieve our three previously defined goals — eventually naming eight boards that as a whole would create a beautiful biography of Flud from past to present. Here they are: Flud Team, Most Fluded News, Products, Weekly Best, Press, Industry Data, News Personalities and… Rabbits.
So how’d I implement this?
- Create new boards. I started out by either creating new boards or renaming old boards to fit the new eight board blueprint. Be sure to add a description and a category for improved searchability!
- Repin useful, existing pins to their appropriate boards. By useful existing pins I mean pins I would have to recreate if I deleted them. This is very time intensive. It actually took me all day, but the idea behind repining, rather than deleting and creating entirely new pins is that your followers may have already liked or repined your original pin so deleting it will kill that social thread. Plus, it’s actually quicker to repin than to create a new pin!
- Clear the clutter! Once I finished repining, I deleted any boards and pins I no longer needed. This felt amazing, fyi.
- Start creating new pins from internal assets. I headed to the Flud blog archive to start building up our history — pinning featured partner blog posts to our Weekly Best board, product announcements to our Product board, current event posts to our Most Fluded News board, award announcements and accolades to our Press board, pictures of the Flud team having fun to our Flud board, and so on.
- Create pins from external assets. I know I said keep pins attached to your own sites, but sometimes you need to branch out. For this, I started pinning past news coverage, fan photos, product reviews, etc. from third party sites. Remember, as long as the site has a picture you can pin it!
- Choose a cover photo. Cover photos are the latest update to Pinterest. It took me a while to figure this out, but hovering over the board gives you the “Edit Pin Board” option. From here you can choose your favorite photo to represent the entire board. I chose big, colorful images for all eight boards to give the Flud profile a cohesive look.
- Keep pinning! The hard part is over. The archaeological dig is complete, so now whenever I post a blog or see an article or anything that fits into our board strategy, I pin it! This keeps our boards active and stops me from having to backtrack just to pin something. With the Pin bookmarklet on my browser, there’s no excuse not to!
Has this proved successful?
- Since the changes, we’ve seen a 150% growth rate in referrals to our blog.
- In March, the Flud Pinterest page drove 26% more new visitors to our blog than both Twitter and Facebook.
- Our most visited pin was pinned on March 28!
Can you use this strategy? The answer is yes! It’s true, the Flud boards were manipulated to fit our industry, but the beauty of our goals is that they make sense for the Pinterest platform. No matter what industry or niche you’re in, you can re-purpose the Flud Pinterest strategy to fit your needs. Every brand has a product or service to promote so use your own spin.
3 take-aways to building a successful brand strategy:
- Make your Pinterest profile a one-stop reference for everything you.
- Pin your own content as much as possible. Like a photo or article you found on the web? If it fits with your blog’s theme, repost it on your blog first (give credit to the original source, of course!) and then pin. This will keep Pinners clicking on your content.
- Stay active and up-to-date on your pins. Getting behind is easy; staying on top of it is easier… in the long run.
NOTE: A few words from the wise here — only when I was in too deep did I realize I had made the mistake of creating pins using the most recent blog posts first. Pinterest does not let you rearrange pins within a board, and pins are organized oldest pin to latest pin, so if you want more recent news, blogs, pictures, press coverage etc. to be top of page, start pinning older entries first.