Our interns reflect on their half way journey
Our internship programme began on the 6th of September 2019. Our interns, Nida and Grace are taking the time to reflect on their half way journey.
In this blog post, we get to know their challenges and learning opportunities and what they are excited about in the next month before their internship journey comes to an end.
What do you enjoy most in your role?
Nida: As a Social Media and PR Executive, no two days are the same. One day I am planning content, the next day I’m assisting Mihaela with workshops. The journey has been quite exciting from the very first week as I was given the opportunity to represent Research Retold at an event on just the second day of the internship.
My role requires a lot more than just basic skills, it requires an eagerness to learn and a desire to keep improving. I love how Mihaela encourages new ideas and is willing to experiment. Whether its social media or events, the team sits together and brainstorms on the content we can produce for the upcoming weeks.
I really like that my role is not limited to traditional social media and PR. Every week, I’m presented with a new task or challenge that I may not have previous experience with, such as planning events or writing content for the blog. For example, I wrote a blog last month on 5 tips for increasing your engagement rate on Twitter.
Grace: As Content and Comms Coordinator, I’m mainly in charge of blog writing. The most exciting part about my role is seeing my work evolving and later being published on the website. Writing an article is somewhat like growing a plant. You see it grow from a rough idea with no clue on how it will turn up. However, as you keep watering it by adding more ideas and structure to it, it grows from an idea to a piece of work that is well structured and becomes beneficial to others.
I enjoy the fact that our ideas matter and we are made to feel comfortable to express them as well as ask questions when we feel stranded. It is always encouraging to feel valued and have your efforts recognised.
What would you say has been your highlight so far?
Nida: There have been quite a few highlights over the last two months. One of the highlights for me was presenting an analysis of our Twitter account analytics. I was able to suggest and implement new strategies, and eventually wrote a blog on how we improved our Twitter engagement. It was a proud moment because the analysis and strategies suggested by me had actually helped in gaining higher engagement and impressions.
Another highlight for me was assisting Mihaela at a workshop held at the University of Leeds for researchers. The workshop was a learning experience that provided further insight into how Research Retold operates, and gave me a chance to meet and interact with the researchers, who are our target audience. This was relevant because as a Social Media Executive, it’s important for me to know our target audience so we can curate our content to their interests and needs.
Today we were @UniversityLeeds for a #workshop on research communication in collaboration w @UoLSSI. It was a valuable opportunity for researchers to take time out of their busy schedules & reflect on communicating their research. Look forward to the follow-up session in 6 weeks! pic.twitter.com/5aeK7Hhp0U
— Research Retold (@ResearchRetold) October 23, 2019
Grace: It’s’s hard to pick one but so far I would say our second monthly team dinner that took place at Zaap. We really gelled and got to know a lot more about each other on a more personal level, sharing stories about our past and our families (we all come from such varied backgrounds – UAE, Romania, Kenya – and yet have so much in common!)
We laughed and, of course, filled our bellies with good food. It was nice to get to know Mihaela and Nida outside the office, making it feel like we were a small family.
Besides that, putting up an article and seeing it go live even a few days later have been highlights while working at Research Retold. Knowing that my research, thought and creativity were part of the articles on the blog has been very fulfilling.
What has been your most challenging task so far?
Nida: The most challenging task so far has been providing separate content for all five of our social media platforms i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Each platform has its own set of audience, requires a particular tone and serves its own purpose.
The content posted on Instagram cannot be used on LinkedIn or vice versa. A lot of creativity and effort is put into producing different content for all social media platforms every week. However, it is also good to challenge my creativity every week!
Grace: Challenges in the office are always likely to occur. Attending the Branswer event on crafting content for customers has so far been my most challenging task. I attended this event in order to learn more on how to communicate with our target audience. It was challenging to attend the event by myself and represent Research Retold on my own!
Today we attended a #workshop conducted by @TheBranswer on crafting content for customers & the power of understanding and communicating with our audience. Very relevant for research projects, too! Keep an eye on our #blog 👁️ https://t.co/WlUc2GfJhp#contentwriting #communication pic.twitter.com/fjkm95RZya
— Research Retold (@ResearchRetold) October 9, 2019
Moreover, this was an intimate workshop that required more interaction from the participants, rather than just listening and taking notes. I was out of my comfort zone in this format, however, in the end, I contributed and created content around the whole event.
What new skills have you developed?
Nida: My organisational skills. I have always been an organised person, but working with Mihaela has further improved my skills. The way she manages her work, meetings, workshops, events and personal life is incredible and extremely inspiring. I try to incorporate some of her techniques while at work and endeavour to be at least half as organised as her!
In terms of social media skills, I have learnt how to shoot B-rolls, direct videos and edit them with music and animation. Videos are a great way to connect with our audience on social media, and it’s been important to learn how to create short, fun, and engaging videos to deliver our message.
Grace: As much as I worked as an editor before coming to the UK for my masters, Research Retold has enabled me to improve my writing and editing skills as I create relevant and fresh content for the blog.
Additionally, I have improved my SEO and Google analytics skills, helping to keep track of our online presence and ensuring that we stay visible and relevant to our audience.
I have also developed my networking skills through the events and workshops we have attended. I struggled with this beforehand but the more events we attended, the better I got.
Working with Nida has also provided me with insight into how our social media accounts operate and what it takes to keep those accounts running with relevant content as well as maintaining the Research Retold brand presence online.
Lastly, in the several events I attended, I had the opportunity to engage with different professionals and gained more understanding of content writing, maintaining a brand and how to effectively communicate to a target audience.
What are you most excited about for the remainder of your internship?
Nida: We have lots of exciting events lined up that we have been planning for months: a workshop in Sheffield, our two-year anniversary and a meetup for research communicators! I’m looking forward to all of these events and of course, all of our upcoming team dinners!
Grace: I’m excited about learning more from Mihaela and Nida as we see content grow and acquire more readers and followers.
Our 2nd anniversary is coming up and I am excited to celebrate what Mihaela has built with our team. Running a business is not easy and I think it’s important to celebrate milestones in order to encourage yourself and others to do even better in the next year.
Lastly, I’m excited about further improving my writing and editing skills, which I’ll definitely be using in future career opportunities.
‘I feel like Nida and Grace have been working with me for 8 months, not 8 weeks! We’ve grown so much as a team and I have learned so much from them and their ideas. The most rewarding aspects of this internship are being able to offer mentorship and support, and seeing them pick up new skills and run with them confidently.” Mihaela, founder of Research Retold