Excellence is defined by the ability to deliver one’s craft with leading-edge knowledge. It’s the ability to strategize a program quickly based on current events. Problem solving is part of the equation; as a strategist one needs to know the steps to make things right, improved, and fail-safe (in a perfect world). High-quality public relations is knowledge gleaned and tapped that adds to credibility and reliability as a counselor.
So, how does this happen…the attainment of public relations excellence?
The Public Relations Society of America has a rigorous certification course that puts a nice little acronym after your name – the APR designation (accredited in public relations). If I dug deeply, I’d be able to find the number of folks who’ve elected to join the group locally and nationally, apply for and be accepted into the course, pay, study and receive the deserved commendation.
As for me, PR happens because I have a thirst for knowledge about everything. The periodicals that arrive at my house are as varied as my college education (anthropology to zoology). I receive Scientific American, Legal Technology News, B to B, Advertising Age, Bloomberg Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Vegetarian Times, Body & Soul, More, Health, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Fresh Home, and (no wonder I supply second-hand zines to every school, waiting room and salon in town!).
Beyond reading (including the blogosphere I attempt to get to 3x/week in my Google Reader and fail), I also self-educate. When I first began hearing “PR is dead” from bloggers, I knew I wasn’t. By then, I had already enrolled in several Dreamweaver (Web design) classes, a Photoshop course, and one on HTML.
More than a year ago, I began to tweet. Twitter was the best thing that ever happened to me. Beyond meeting some of the most fab people I now can ring at any time for counsel or to say hello, my learning rate increased five-fold. I am serious when I say this. There’s no way to immerse in social media faster than on Twitter.
You learn early on whose links to click, and when a learning pot of gold greets you at the other end, every minute of time is worth it.
My favorite learning environment right now is Lynda.com. It is a wealth of tutorials on the illusive knowledge we in public relations do not have – it’s tech and software oriented to the Internet. If you never spend a dime on your education, I recommend you stop the bleeding and rush to Lynda.com. I’m not even an affiliate! I just value what I’m learning off this site so much, everyone else in integrated marketing should know about it, too.
How does public relations happen for you? What rich resource am I missing to enhance my intelligence quotient?