My Summer Interning with Blue Ion

Blue Ion summer interns Amanda and Mike

Hi! My name is Amanda McVearry, and I am a rising senior at Clemson University. I am a Communications major with a double minor in Business Administration and Spanish.

Why Blue Ion Stood Out

Second semester of my junior year at Clemson came around, and the hunt for the perfect internship was on! Knowing that it was my last summer before graduating added some pressure and stress to my search. Not only was I still figuring out what I want my career path to be, but I also wanted to make sure that I found an internship that would provide me with as much experience and knowledge as possible before entering the “real world.”

I knew I was interested in PR, so I thoroughly researched companies in Charleston. When I came across Blue Ion’s website, something clicked. Videos of employees roller blading through the office and playing games, pictures of everyone laughing and making funny faces were just some of the things I saw. I thought, “Hey this place looks fun!” But it was much more than an exciting website that drew me in.

In reading about Blue Ion I could tell that they had a unique energy and refreshing approach to marketing and branding. When I first interviewed with BI, I met with Erin Spencer and Ellen Schmedinghoff. My meeting with Erin and Ellen was different from other interviews I’ve had because it was very conversational. Not only was I able to tell them about myself, but I also got to know them and get a feel for the Blue Ion environment. Erin and Ellen asked what I hoped to gain from this internship, and my goal was simple. I wanted to gain an understanding of what exactly working in PR looked like. After a summer here I can definitely say that I reached this goal!

What I learned

I was able to pick a summer project that I was really excited about: pitching Blue Ion. From this project I have learned about the full pitching process including how to do research to build media contact lists, how to find contact information, and how to write a successful pitch.

The whole process requires a lot more creativity than I realized and is very time intensive. It takes a lot of research to build a media contact list, and it can sometimes take reading countless articles to find one writer to pitch. Though maybe not the most exciting part, the research process provided very valuable lessons. I learned how to conduct research more effectively and how to best identify potential contacts. I was also able to get exposure to publications that were new to me, and I will be able to utilize these publications as I move forward in my career. I learned the importance of being thorough when building media lists. Detailed notes are extremely helpful when it comes time to draft a pitch tailored to a specific writer. Due to Blue Ion’s diverse client base and wide range of services, I needed to build a mixture of different pitch approaches. It takes a lot of creativity to be able to develop original stories and pitches for each writer.

I knew I wanted to intern at a full service agency so I could get experience in a variety of areas, and that is exactly what I got! Not only did I get to dive into all things PR, but I also got to chat with people from various departments in the company. Jenny, the copy director, taught me how to write a manifesto that will bring your client to tears, and Bennett, a designer and developer, took me through the stages of web design.

Thank you!

Some of the most valuable moments from my summer here are the times when I got to sit down with Ellen and Erin and see what they were working on. They took time out of their busy days to show me things they thought I would be interested in and took advantage of teaching moments in their own work.

Thank you Erin and Ellen! I could not have asked for better mentors. They were always very attentive and helpful. They gave me the freedom to take control of the projects I was working on but were also there to lend a hand if I needed it. An added bonus: They (and the entire Blue Ion team) are so fun to be around! Thank you for a great summer, Blue Ion!