The processes and concepts that are turning Scottish PR agencies into public relations experts
- Holyrood PR Account Executive, Stuart Milne, becomes one of the "800" who have completed the Chartered Institute of Public Relations CPD development scheme. Here he writes about why that is important for you as well as him. -
PR is constantly changing – worlds collide, compress, diverge and combine while those who aren’t ready for it are left spinning in the wind.
Like the forming of the great Greek empire, PR is ever expanding and changing – there will always be more worlds to conquer. But, like the Spartans (or Lacedaemonians – thanks, first-year Attic Greek) we face a constant struggle against a tide of shifting media and considerations.
Constant evolution is needed to survive in the public relations sphere, to keep abreast of the shape-shifting media landscape and the rise and fall of publications, mediums and trends.
For those of us at the dog-eat-dog frontline, it is essential to maintain and develop our skills to give us the edge needed – ultimately ensuring clients continue to thrive through positive exposure.
Knowledge is Power
Last week the team at Holyrood HQ received a wee reminder from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) that members (such as us) only have a short time left to complete our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the year.
What’s more, only 800 of approximately 83,000 members of the CIPR UK-wide have so far hit the target set by the Institute.
This is still my first year in PR and so I’ve only had a little over 9 months to make this progress. I’m delighted to be in that exclusive club.
The CPD course has three elements – ethics, ‘developing yourself’ and ‘supporting others’.
As a relative newbie I’ve focussed on developing my own skillset this year, taking on the ever-changing faces of PR work (and a pinch of ethics to stop my new found power going maniacally to my head).
This holds obvious benefits for all PR practitioners but also for those who utilise their skills – clients.
We stretch ourselves every day to make sure we deliver for our clients. By treating every day like a school day we ensure we are boosting our skillsets and turning our clients into media magpies. Check out how we do that with this rundown.
Evolution not Revolution
Story-spotting is a must in PR. However, turning your business’s every day successes into media attention to be proud of doesn’t solely rely on the ability to pluck the interesting bits from the goings-on at your firm.
The truth of the matter is that the world of newspapers and their increasingly popular siblings, news websites, switches so fast that it can be a daunting task to keep on top of which titles want what, when they publish, how many photos to send, which format, how many words…
Because these changes are gradual there is no a-ha moment that will signify when to start sending story X to outlet A.
CPD helps keep practitioners on the right track and keeps us making the small adjustments that lead to us being a vastly different industry from one moment to the next.
In my short time at Holyrood I’ve seen national newspapers go online only and the rise of the Facebook feed as a credible one-stop shop for many people’s news intake – essentially becoming ‘word of mouth on steroids’.
That’s just a drop in the ocean compared to what has and will happen.
Knowing Me, Knowing You
The development process is not a simple matter of plugging into your computer and taking a look at a webinar.
There are numerous different ways to pick up points: seminars, networking events, training days and weeks, readings and even contributing to others’ learning.
That means that we spend our time rubbing shoulders with people at all levels in the PR, communications and press industries and that means lots of interesting and useful contacts for our own career progression and the work we do for clients.
But that’s not the only people-centric aspect of what we do.
We fully understand that client desires are changing too.
Public opinion is starting to move slowly but surely from the perceived sanctity of print news to the increasing reach and authority of online.
CPD takes on this behemoth too. We are, after all, here to produce results for you so understanding what you want helps us to provide you with the best possible service – whether it’s coverage, style or reporting.
To Be Clear
Perhaps the most pressing reason for the CPD is to demonstrate the commitment and professionalism of the public relations set.
We are not in the business of sitting back and casually punting out press releases for meagre coverage and a quick buck.
We are improving our skills and adapting our practise from day-to-day so it is important for us to be as transparent as possible about what we are doing to always up the quality of our work.
It is important to every one of us that we are doing the best job possible for each other – for our business and for yours.
Best practise will not mean the same thing next year as it does this – just as it doesn’t now from last – and to everyone in the Holyrood office that is vital.
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