Posted by: John Blue on June 14, 2013

Posted in: Uncategorized

Can you be great at public relations (PR)? Absolutely. But it takes practice and experience. To be really great at PR means gaining experience on hard hitting issues. Along the way you may make your way through the launch of a new product, save the reputation of someone, or run point on a media attack on your organization.

But before those experiences come you way, you need some training and insight. So how can you get better at PR?

People One recommendation is to talk with other people practicing PR. Part of this is learning about who is who. And part of the personal connection is about hearing the “war stories” first hand. Those people who have been through a PR high or low can offer insights that are hard to come by in training sessions or books.

Where can you meet PR people? Meet up at a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) event. This is a national organization dedicated to helping people learn about PR and figure out how to apply tools and techniques, develop strategies and practices, and to meet others interested in PR. PRSA has many chapters across the USA. Most chapters offer a local flavor through events and webinars that will fit your budget or time.

Another path to meeting people involved with PR are journalists. Yes, they are writers for news and publishing organizations. But these people also have to understand the issues and be able to handle criticism, feedback, and (sometimes) backlash. Some reporters take on the challenge to discover what is behind the PR spin cycle and pull out undiscovered information. They have expertise to understand PR and use tool analyze the issues.

One journalist organization to consider is the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) group. This organization focuses on the investigative journalism that faces PR all the time. They offer several events throughout the year for networking and training.

Finally, trade groups in your interest area are another way to meet people in PR. The Ag Relations Council is one example focus group that offers connections to other PR professionals in agriculture.

Tools Tools help you be efficient with your time or help extend you abilities. Below are some tools to help people be better at PR.

Help a Report Out (HARO) is a resource reporters use to post questions, relying one someone in the large crowd of HARO readers to supply answers or comments.

The Data Journalism Handbook is full of technology tools and approaches to organizing information and understanding how to use it. This resource guide is a free book on line and inexpensive as a Kindle book.

RSS Readers help you scan large quantities of information quickly. While Google Reader maybe going away, there are other services to help. Best recommendation is Feedly.

Movies: Alternatives To Training Believe it or not, many movies use PR in their plots. For example, Thank You For Not Smoking, a movie about the tobacco industry, has many angles on PR throughout the film. Business Insider even compliedThe Top 10 Best PR Movies Of All Time list. While the movies are fiction, many of the approaches and techniques are based on real life experiences.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

John Blue


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