I recently completed the PRII Certificate in PR Account Management in Cork. It was directed by PRII and PRCA CEO, Dr Martina Byrne who is as down to earth as she is insightful. The course assessment was based on a reflective journal and a 3,000 word communications campaign.
On the first day, Dr Byrne spoke to us about the PR brand and its reputation as a profession, as well as the perception and position of PR in organisations. I believe it’s important to educate people about PR, which I endeavour to do through my blog.
Dr Byrne helped us with career management planning by exploring where we currently are, how we got to this point and where we want to get to. I always say that every experience is a stepping stone, and, on reflection, my path towards a career in PR started during my leaving certificate. Research and writing are common themes for me – history at leaving certificate, an undergraduate degree in law, a postgraduate diploma in PR and now a career in PR.
Dr Byrne went through Martyn Rosney’s advice for career progression, which included:
- Standing Out
- Knowing your channels
- Understanding business
- Always be learning
I think those six points are great barometers of success.
We discussed the importance of explaining the value of PR in straightforward terms, the impact PR has on a company’s bottom line and how you can integrate PR into the business of a client or organisation.
We also discussed the role of the PR practitioner and how an in-house role is similar to consultancy, but with the advantage of regular access to senior management and in-depth company and sector knowledge. I found this particularly relevant as, at the time, I was considering a career move from a consultancy role to an in-house one. We explored the fact that PR is a management function and that we are a success not solely because of media coverage, but also by what we contribute to a client or organisation’s business objectives and bottom line. Dr Byrne outlined the vital distinction between marketing (customers), advertising (customers) and PR (all stakeholders).
On day two, we started with professional services finance and profitability. We discussed the fact that we sell time, our fee capacity and our contribution. We spoke about utilisation, low churn, charge-out rates and over-servicing. I identified my own strengths in working for a consultancy at the time, particularly in the area of developing and maintaining strong client relationships and new business. I also identified that with a new in-house role, I would develop a strong relationship with industry-specific media.
In the afternoon, we reflected on photography and GDPR. Overall, another very informative day.
On day three, and my final day as I had a family wedding on day four, Dr Byrne outlined how to plan for a PR campaign using Jefkins’ six points:
- Target Audiences
- Evaluation & Measurement
An important part of the discussion was The Barcelona Principles and measuring and evaluating PR and communications campaigns. This is vital to demonstrate the value of PR to businesses, but equally as vital is recognising that PR is also about perception, brand building and reputation management.
Overall, the course was very educational and enlightening. I also really enjoyed hearing Dr Martina Byrne’s and my fellow PR professionals’ insights on the PR industry.
Personally, I believe the PR industry should be regulated with a prerequisite for a qualification and/or minimum experience to practice as a PR professional, but that’s for another day.
Next, I look forward to the PRII Certificate in Public Affairs, which is coming to Cork for the first time in October!