Written by Smoak PR

Meet our Fall Interns

Smoak PR is delighted to have three interns assisting us this fall: Kaylee Coleman, May Harrelson, and Meredith Turner. As each student is aiming to enter into the Public Relations and Communications industry, Smoak PR is excited for the opportunity to help grow their knowledge in the field and sharpen their skillsets. We are excited to introduce each intern below and highlight their goals during their time with us.

Kaylee Coleman:

My name is Kaylee Coleman. I am a senior student-athlete at Furman University, majoring in Communication Studies with a focus on Mass Media while also competing in Division I lacrosse. The field of public relations is highly interesting to me because I thrive off of connecting with people, engaging and growing businesses through social media, and bringing a brand’s story to life. Personally, I am an outgoing person who lives by the term ‘grit’ which, in short, is described as passion and perseverance for long-term and/or meaningful goals. In this field, and in life, this trait is extremely important to me due to the fact that I enjoy finding ways to accomplish tasks when others believe there is no way. Helping others in ways they never thought possible. As a Division I Athlete, I have had to acquire many skill sets including: adaptability, time management, leadership, commitment, and working with a team. These skills have helped me flourish in many settings throughout life but most importantly in internships. I am excited and honored to be part of Smoak PR’s internship team this Fall. Learning and growing in this fast-paced and ever-changing field from leaders in the industry will substantially prepare me for a career post-graduation. I cannot wait to hone in what I have learned through my studies at Furman while also picking up a few more elements that I will learn from Smoak.

May Harrelson:

My name is May Harrelson, and I am a recent graduate of Clemson University where my major was Political Science. I am currently getting my Master’s in Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. I believe that the ability to partake in purposeful communication and create meaningful messages are important skills to have not only working in PR, but all other fields as well. I am interested in pursuing a career in the communications field because of the diverse and the vast opportunities that are available. I enjoy the fast-paced environment of Public Relations, and how each action we do on behalf of clients is able to make an impact on the public and the overall perception of the organization or company. Since my undergraduate course work was not in the communications field, this internship has been an extremely valuable experience where I have been able to learn about this industry, while simultaneously completing my masters course work that is related to the work I do at Smoak. This fall I am excited to gain experience in event planning and social media, refine my skills, and connect with those in the Greenville community, all of which will aid me in my future career.

Meredith Turner:

My name is Meredith Turner and I am 2021 Graduate of Wofford College where I studied History and Business. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Science in Marketing, with a concentration in Project Management at Liberty University. As a Greenville native, the internship at Smoak PR interested me because I am passionate about the Upstate area and helping local businesses communicate their messages. Having the opportunity to aid in developing strategies to connect businesses with the local community is incredibly valuable. The field of public relations is intriguing to me because it combines three of my personal strengths: communication, marketing, and relationship building. I aim to connect my experiences in event planning, strategic communication, and social media with my love for people and creativity. The always changing nature of public relations is appealing to me as I thrive in an active, stimulating environment. I am hopeful that through my time at Smoak PR I will sharpen the skills I attained at Wofford, learn more about the marketing and communication world, and gain insight into how my strengths and experiences can translate into my career. I am excited to have hands on experience with Smoak PR this fall!

Though we all stem from different backgrounds, we aim to put our wealth of knowledge together in order to help each other grow throughout our internship experience. We are not only excited, but passionate about having the opportunity to grow our minds and sharpen our skills from Smoak PR’s experienced and inspiring team!

Written by Smoak PR

Summer Internship Reflection

As our summer internship comes to a close, we reflect on our time here at Smoak PR. This summer has been a season of learning for all of us. We have learned what it means to adapt, roll with the punches, and take criticism as it comes. Beginning this internship, we all had different expectations of what was ahead, but we have come to learn that different strengths and weaknesses make up a team. Coming out of a pandemic made our internship unlike any other. We are very thankful for everyone at Smoak PR and the opportunity they gave us!

Julia W:

This summer I have learned exponentially more than I had expected. Coming into this internship I had no prior PR experience, so I had very naive expectations. I had learned a little bit through my college classes, but I have learned more this summer than I have my entire college career. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Smoak PR team. They are skilled and informative about their field and are very eager to teach us anything and everything. My favorite part about this experience was getting to take photos with Ashtyn for client content and getting to do social analytics alongside Julia M. Having my images posted on social media allowed me to grow in how I took different pictures based on client personalities and needs. After posting on social media, we could then look at their reach and engagement with the audience each month by researching client analytics. Before this internship I didn’t know that looking at analytics was an important part of PR, but it allows us to adjust what we do based on what the audience likes and engages with. I have also made new friendships during this internship. I have bonded with the other interns this summer working closely with them. This has added to my summer experience because not only did I gain knowledge, but also friends.

Julia M:

While the summer internship at Smoak PR has come to a close, I feel an immense amount of appreciation for the real-world professional experience that I have learned about the public relations industry. As the world continues to reopen following the pandemic, I am extremely thankful to have had an in-person internship experience this past summer. Over the past few months, I have learned a variety of public relations skills such as graphic design, content creation for social media accounts, press release writing, and event planning. One of my favorite parts of my internship experience was attending client meetings with the ladies in the office, where I learned the importance of building strong client relationships and meeting their needs. The ladies at Smoak PR were always willing to include the interns with any of their tasks and make a truly memorable learning experience. I now feel more comfortable collaborating with coworkers, working in an office environment, and communicating with a diverse group of clients. After learning a wide range of skills throughout this internship, I can now enter the workforce confidently once I graduate, and I’ll forever be grateful for all of the experiences I have had at Smoak PR.


This summer seems to have gone by in a blur. I remember taking the first week or so to get a feel for Smoak as a company, and Smoak’s many clients. Starting about halfway through our second week, we were given real tasks with real results. Everything from content calendars, to photoshoots, to client meetings, to event planning. There was rarely a dull moment in the office. The interns make up a substantial part of the team here at Smoak, so the tasks that we have been given this summer are actual needs for their clients. This kind of hands-on experience has been part of the reason that I have loved this internship. Working full-time with a team around me, made up of amazing interns and exceptional executives, has been an education in the professional workforce for me. I’ve started to imagine more of the day-to-day of my career after college, and my experience this summer has helped me with that. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I’ve been given this summer, and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned here back to my final year of college.


My time at Smoak Public Relations this past summer has been such an amazing experience. It was the perfect introduction to the public relations field. I was able to create content for numerous clients, get a feel for the daily work pace, and interact with many talented people in the industry. I am so grateful to have been able to learn such valuable bits of knowledge in a hands-on environment.  This opportunity has given me the basics in the field of public relations, I’m excited for the new opportunities to come!

We are excited to continue to move forward in our careers with the new experience and knowledge we have learned from Katherine and her team. The skills that we all have learned throughout our time at Smoak PR will be extremely helpful when entering the workforce and pursuing a future career. By making the most out of our time here, we have now formed lifelong connections with all of the amazing ladies at Smoak PR.

Written by Smoak PR

How Can PR Help Your Brand?

Understanding the difference between Public Relations and Marketing can be very helpful when it comes to strategizing effective ways to build brand awareness, increase revenue, drive web traffic or simply create a buzz. As PR professionals, we also appreciate how both marketing initiatives and traditional public relations efforts can work in tandem with one another to drive results. The “marketing umbrella” contains powerful promotional tools, one of which is PR. At times, PR is difficult to define because it can be a challenge to associate a specific “return on investment”, whereas with a paid advertising campaign, dollars spent can be tracked back to direct sales or return. That said there is absolutely no denying that effective and strategic public relations initiatives can launch a brand to great success or continue building momentum. Here are three free things that fall within the world of PR that you can start executing today to enhance your brand, and aid you achieving your goals and objectives. 

Media Relations – Building relationships with local, regional, and national media personnel or ‘on-air talent’ can sometimes be a daunting task. That said, looking up the ‘contact us’ page on the local news outlet’s website to introduce yourself and your business to the folks most likely to cover your industry is the perfect place to start. Simply saying hello, providing feedback on a relatable article they have published, or weaving your way into a recent story they covered are all effective ways to begin building long-term, and hopefully beneficial relationships with those in your market ultimately responsible for spreading news and sharing your story.

Social Media Engagement and Influencer Relations –PR today is less about writing and sending press releases, and more about valuable engagement, especially on social media! Commenting, sharing, liking, and loving social media content on a personal level is a surefire way to contribute to the conversation in a very valuable way. By being persistent and consistent with your engagement on social media platforms, you are more likely to grow your organic reach and build brand awareness in an impactful way. Engaging with local social influencers via direct messages, comments or shares may seem like a time consuming task that will fall on deaf ears…or blind eyes; however, rest assured that patience is a virtue and valuable interaction digitally can – and will pay off! 

Content Creation – Building content that you own is critical! Imagine a world where Instagram or Facebook no longer exists and the digital audience you have built is no longer present to engage with, or see your brand daily. Generating content that is your own to share among your audience will help you continue to build your brand – even if the outlets for distributing that content change or evolve over time. Specifically speaking, you should focus on your website, building a strong email database and most importantly – cultivating your relationships! We encourage clients to spend their valuable time writing informational white pages, building a mobile and user friendly website, and to always go the extra mile when publishing content that is theirs – ultimately positioning them as the expert within a given landscape. 

There is no denying that PR can incorporate a lot of different things these days; however, focusing on effective media relations, spending time on personal engagement, and building valuable content will never go out of style!  

Written by Smoak PR

Meet Our Spring Interns!

Smoak PR is thrilled to welcome three new Spring interns: Irene, Lizzie, and Lindsey. As college students interested in improving their communications skills, Smoak PR will prepare them with knowledge and experience in the public relations industry. To kick off the semester, each intern introduces herself and her goals for this time with Smoak PR:

My name is Irene Biganzoli and I am a junior at the University of South Carolina Upstate, majoring in Communications Mass Media, with double minor in Business & Entrepreneurship and French. I chose to follow this career path because I am fascinated by how words and effective messages can change how one’s story or passion is perceived. Communication is an everchanging field which amazes me, bringing to light modern platforms and utilizing them in the most efficient way. This fresh and dynamic side of communication is what brought me to choose it as a career. While studying and researching mass media and marketing tactics in the classroom, I hope that this amazing opportunity at Smoak PR will show me how these tactics are applied in the real world, teaching me new ones and reinforcing the lessons learned. I hope to become a better communicator, online and with Smoak PR clients and team, gaining hands on experience in areas like media relations and strategic planning.  

My name is Lizzie Burnett. I am a senior at Clemson University studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with a concentration in Travel and Tourism. As one might guess, I have a heart for travel and adventure, and I want each day to look different and allow creativity in the workplace. One of the major trends in what I have studied is the importance of local pride, events, and having a great sense of involvement in the community. This is largely what attracted me to an internship in Public Relations. I am hopeful that this opportunity to intern at Smoak PR will teach me valuable lessons in how to inform the public on ways to get involved and improve the connectivity of a community. 

My name is Lindsey Cottle. I am a junior Communication Studies and French double major at Furman University. My favorite aspect of PR is getting to work with people, learning about their creative visions and helping make those a reality while simultaneously meeting their brand’s more pragmatic needs. I have a passion for travel and for education – which, to me, are one in the same – so I’m constantly trying to see more of the world, meet new people, and interact with cultures and mindsets different from my own. At the root of all these interactions is communication, hence my major: in our hyperconnected world, people seem to feel more disconnected than ever. This phenomenon underscores the importance of effective and meaningful communication, both digitally and interpersonally. I hope to refine the communication skills I’ve developed during my time at Furman through this internship with Smoak PR to better connect with others, and to serve my community by engaging with the public at a local, regional, and global level! 

Although we are beginning our internships virtually, we aim to emphasize collaboration and connection in order to make the most of this opportunity at Smoak PR. Each of us has a similar educational background, and yet brings her own unique set of skills to the table. We can’t wait to discover what this semester has in store for us!