How do you stay abreast of all the constant changes in the PR field? While it’s a good thing to read news, blogs, and keep up with discussions with your colleagues, you may need a little more help than that. If you don’t have a mentor to call up when things get tough and you don’t know what to do, you may want to invest in some PR classes.
Even if things are going swimmingly with your business, it could be a good idea to invest in some school time. Try your local college, a major conference, or an industry organization like the PRSA. You never know when you’ll hear a brand new perspective or idea that could totally change how you approach your campaigns.
An Always Changing Field
The fun thing about public relations is it’s totally subjective. What one person gets out of the field someone else will see it an entirely different way. You may think a campaign is genius, your competitor may think it stinks… and you can both somehow be right. It’s a strange field.
Which is why it’s so important to prepare yourself for every eventuality. You can only plan so much before going into action, and that’s when the real training comes in. If you don’t have that experience ahead of time, especially in an emergency, you’re going to run into trouble.
PR classes can aid you with this. You’ll run real-world simulations that can better prepare you for when times get rough (or amazing) and you don’t know how to handle them. If you goof up in the classroom, it won’t be as devastating as losing real customers in the real world.
I know how easy it is to become complacent when working public relations. When something works right you don’t want to even think about doing it a different way. But even when results start to wane it can be tough to change habits simply because “that’s the way I’ve always done it.” After a while the industry has moved on without you.
If you want to stay current, you must challenge yourself. This is precisely what college and adult classes are for – to challenge the way you normally think, to get you on a different path.
It can be nerve-wracking to take a hard look at your life and say “I think I’m doing something wrong.” But once you do and set on the path to trying it a different way you might be surprised at the results.
Figure Out Your Focus
Another big reason to try school again if you work in PR is to get a better idea what your “focus” should be. Think of all the times you’ve sat down to ponder over a campaign and struggled to set your sights on a specific goal.
What you might not realize is that’s not necessarily the fault of the campaign. It could simply be that you don’t know what your personal public relations strengths are. There are so many aspects to it – talking with people, writing, creativity, etc. – and not everyone is amazing at all of them. Finding out which ones you’re strongest at and building the others up can improve your business and skill set altogether.
Have you considered going back to school or taking classes in your field?