I remember the evening I got my internship offer email like it was yesterday. While there are dozens of digital strategy firms in D.C., I was eager to work at Revolution Messaging because I’d seen their work on several political campaigns and admired their approach to compelling and accessible digital storytelling.
The role that digital communication tools play in our political climate has become increasingly meaningful as online platforms for participating in public discourse have evolved drastically over the last few years, making the competition for reaching and engaging new audiences increasingly fierce. As a public relations major at Howard University, I was eager to learn what goes into creating messaging that effectively cuts through the noise to advocate for progressive values.
As interns, most of us don’t know what the future has in store for our careers. What we do know is that the skills we are learning here provide us exposure to the variety of variables that go into creating and implementing a comprehensive digital strategy. Whether we go on to pursue careers in political consulting, video production, non-profit communication, or something completely different, working at Revolution Messaging has shown us what working to make the world better looks like in the digital space.
As the Public Relations intern, some of my responsibilities include compiling news clips, writing topline messaging, and brainstorming public engagement ideas. While I came in with experience in some of these arenas, I remember feeling unsure of myself when it came to actually talking to press, as I had zero experience writing my own press pitches. On the fateful day when I was asked to write a pitch email for the first time, my first thought was: “How am I supposed to get these reporters to cover my client’s work?”
Through drafting my own pitch templates, I’ve learned how to focus on creating a pitch that shows press how my client’s work can directly benefit their reporting. I’ve practiced being concise in prioritizing details, including relevant hyperlinks to help keep the word count low, and generally avoiding information overload. By illustrating the uniqueness of our client’s perspective and demonstrating how that expertise speaks to any given reporter’s audience, I can help build the bridge between our client’s work and theirs. Writing the perfect pitch definitely takes practice, but I’ve found value in being unsure, struggling, and practicing because it helped refine my persuasion skills — and has shown me that I have even more to learn.
My conversations with other interns here illustrated the many facets of digital strategy in the progressive space. Devontae Torriente, Jay Benjamin and Jacob Laves, who intern with the client strategy department, help manage the Revere Mobile help desk, create social media content calendars, and develop monthly analytic reports. In the creative department, Matt Morris does a variety of film production work ranging from editing footage for clients to filming interviews and events. The advertising interns, Daniel Chaplik and Frank Chen, are responsible for creating ad campaigns on Facebook and monitoring their progress, as well as conducting background research on the targeted audiences. On the campaigns team, Jazmyn Strode, Nina Conover and Daniel Howard draft social media content and create fundraising emails. While our daily tasks vary, we share one key takeaway — we’ve learned. A lot.
Here is what the other interns have to say:
Jazmyn has worked extensively drafting social media and email copy. She found it difficult at first to switch between voices, but now feels confident in her ability to write for both a 40 year old and a 70 year old.
Although Matt has been studying video production for years, this internship still forces him to grow—whether through learning new keyboard shortcuts, trying to edit faster, or even managing relationships with clients.
Daniel H. came into this internship with very basic HTML experience and was somewhat hesitant to tackle coding an entire email. However, with the support of the campaigns team, he recently accomplished coding an email that went out to at least 7,000 people.
Devontae found it a bit challenging to fully encompass nuanced ideas and policies within a specific character count on Twitter. This internship has allowed him to practice being more concise on various social media platforms.
Like many of us, Daniel C. occasionally experiences mental roadblocks that make it difficult to think creatively. This internship showed him ways to think outside the box and develop ideas that weren’t necessarily right in front of him.
At first, Frank didn’t realize that clients have different priorities regarding social media advertising. He learned a lot about creating campaigns that are specific to the needs and wants of each individual client.
Throughout his internship, Jacob realized how important it is to stay up to date with current events. He’s made an increasing effort to be well informed about a wide variety of topics because of how valuable it is to the digital strategy industry.
Initially, Jay underestimated the complexities behind messaging and communications strategy. Through his various social media tasks, he’s learned that how you deliver the message is just as important as the message itself.
And in Nina’s own words, “Going to school in DC was always my dream, and working on Rev’s Campaign Team was the perfect experience to have my junior year. I got to pursue my interest and passion by being part of progressive movements that are so important for our country. I’m grateful to have been able to learn and practice the very digital strategies that energize voters everywhere to move our country forward. Thanks for everything Rev!”
As my graduation from Howard University quickly approaches and my days here dwindle down, I feel prepared to take on this new chapter in my journey. I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned as I continue to advocate for communities through my work. I believe that Revolution Messaging is a gamechanger in the digital strategy world and I’m happy to have been a part of a team that’s sure to keep on shaking up the digital landscape.
Maya Diggs is a recent graduate of Howard University, where she studied public relations. She grew up in Closter, New Jersey. Her experience includes working as a PR intern at Vrge Strategies and as a communications intern at Every Child Matters. While she’s never had any pets, Maya is a happy member of #TeamDog. During Maya’s free time she loves traveling to new places and cooking for her friends. You haven’t lived until you have tried her amazing mac and cheese.