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On Interning at Island Press: Communication in Marketing

In this installment, Micaela Samodelov, Marketing & Publicity Intern, writes about learning to tailor messages to specific audiences.

As a recent graduate from American University with a degree in international studies, I’ve learned a lot about communications and marketing while interning with the publicity team at Island Press. My academic focus on international environmental politics, my interest in non-profit organizations, and, of course, my love of books made Island Press a great fit for me. Since I get to read the books I work on, the publicity internship has given me the opportunity to learn a little bit about a lot of different environmental topics. Aside from the perk of reading awesome new books before they are officially released, I’ve had the privilege of working within a mission-driven organization, with a team of people who’ve been patient and supportive as I’ve muddled through tasks ranging from using a fax machine and giant “printer/photocopier/scanner/who-knows-what-else” (name credit: recent editorial intern Noah Weisz) to drafting pitch e-mails, a press release, and a blurb for a book’s business card. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this experience is one that most communications majors have already internalized: communication is most successful when it aims to build a relationship instead of simply getting some main points across to someone. In the context of this internship, this means that pitching a book to potential reviewers entails finding out what interests those writers and describing the book from an angle relevant to them. This relationship-building concept may seem obvious to some, but prior to starting this internship, in which I tried to write press releases and e-mails targeting specific audiences, I did not fully understand it. Along with more basic lessons, this internship has taught me how to relate a message to its receiver in an effective way. Interning with Island Press has allowed me to learn a skill that I think will be applicable to whatever career path I pursue in the future.