11/28 Meeting Recap: SXSW Agency Tour


By: Dariya Kizieieva

Do you have to start your career at a PR agency? SXSW professionals think you do not.

“Do you know what is Austin DNA? It is South by Southwest,” a current senior publicist of SXSW Brett Cannon states. On an agency tour, PRSSA members got to talk to him and learn about his experience of working for a large PR firm such as Edelman and his transition to South by Southwest.

Almost every PR student is told or believes that once you leave a college, you have to start your career at a PR agency, which according to Brett’s opinion, is not necessarily true.

If you think you have creative ideas worth sharing with others, a PR agency may not be the best place for you. You, as a PR professional, will learn a client very closely and will understand his needs, but whenever you come up with a creative idea, you do not bring it straight to the client. First, you take it to your agency table. Then you have to pass many red tapes, and most of the time it will not reach your client, because your idea was not approved by people within your agency.

PR agencies are not for everyone. They give you a range of experiences, but you do not have to limit yourself to them.

Allison Johnson, advertising coordinator at SXSW, recommends to apply for volunteering or internships at the SXSW festival. There are many positions related to PR to choose from, and they cover a variety of fields such as music, film and technology.

You will have to give up your spring break, but you will have a chance to be behind the scenes of one of the most famous festivals in the world.

Being an attendee and being an intern provides you a very difficult sight of South by Southwest, Allison said. You will grow your network, learn what you are especially good at and where you need to grow.

You have to realize that PR is all about who you know. You may not necessarily stay at the place where you have interned, but the people you meet there will help you to reach your top career choice.

As a PR student, there are many paths you can take in your career, and it can be very intimating. However, getting an internship is the best way to figure out which path is actually yours.