You’re never too old or too experienced to brush up on evolving career skills. Continued professional development is what keeps PR professionals innovative, flexible and ahead of trends. You may have degree after degree, or even your APR certification, but PR strategies and methods change constantly. Don’t get left behind!
One thing you can always count on to keep you up to date – the Internet. The gigabytes of free information that flood the web are abundant. Take advantage of them! The amount of online educational opportunities seems to be growing, and its quality improving. PR folks in particular can use the Internet to learn more about effective communication practices, modern branding strategies, new media relations techniques, and more. The following four Internet platforms can help you continuously build on your PR education:
YouTube – The power of YouTube spans numerous uses both professionally and personally. This huge video database allows you to search through tons of videos that pertain to your interests. For PR professionals, YouTube is a useful tool for finding “how-to” videos. Not quite sure how to use a particular editing program? Need a short tutorial on a new social media platform? Search away on YouTube. You’re bound to find a helpful video to put you ahead.
Webinars – Great for guided learning and exploring advanced topics, webinars are one of the highest quality ways to learn on the Internet, but they may cost you. Sometimes you will be able to find free ones; but some webinars are generally moderated by highly-sought after speakers and may burn a hole in your pocket. However, professional development webinars can be a real benefit to you in the long run. Check out the webinar offerings of professional societies you belong to. PR News Online, Cision, Vocus, PR Newswire, and PRSA offer great webinars on a variety of communication topics that give you the opportunity to learn new strategies to utilize in your career.
Podcasts – Traffic-filled commutes to and from work are a great time to get updated on the latest and most effective PR practices. As you’re sitting on the metro, take the opportunity to learn about social media news, recently released PR reports and data, and industry tips. Bloggers and critics favor Inside PR, The Hobson & Holtz Report, Trafcom News Podcast, Young PR Pros, Six Pixels of Separation and Social Media Marketing for their innovative opinions and knowledge of the PR field. Podcasts often feature interviews with top communicators and PR professionals who share their secrets to success.
TED Talks – Need help getting your creative juices flowing? TED’s “ideas worth spreading” are short thought-provoking “talks” to inspire the spread of knowledge to communities all around the world. With talks ranging from “The Technology of Storytelling” to “How to Make a Splash in Social Media,” PR professionals can gain a lot from the analytical thinkers that host these talks. The scientific knowledge they share about human tendencies and communication can be extremely useful in public relations. Not only is the factual data valuable, the philosophical and imaginative perspectives that speakers share set an example for out-of-the-box thinking.
So, next time you find yourself logging in to your Netflix account, detour to a YouTube video, a webinar, a podcast or a TED talk to expand your knowledge of PR. Whatever method you choose to stay tuned in, check back often to keep your skills up-to-date – your professional advancement and credibility depend on it.