My approach to PR has always been based on my own experience as a journalist. In nearly 20 years I’ve been on the receiving end of good PR, bad PR, and to be frank – ugly PR. I know what makes a story, I know what journalists need, and that means I know intuitively what to give to journalists to encourage them to cover something.
It’s an approach that has worked. I’ve secured clients coverage across national and regional media, telling their stories in a way that will speak to their potential customers and clients and add value to their business. However, I’ve always been conscious that the way I work is very much based on time at the coal-face rather than theory and a background in PR from the ground upwards.
It’s for that reason that I decided to embark on the CIPR’s Professional PR Diploma through Birmingham City University. A course that would allow me to take a more strategic approach to PR, gaining an understanding of planning, measurement and evaluation as well as content management and leadership, learning all the concepts and techniques that underpin the practical stuff we do every day as PRs.
I started the course in October 2019 and after three gruelling assessments, covering planning, thought leadership and measurement and evaluation as well as several long days of group classroom time and hours of home study, I’ve just found out that I passed. Hurrah!
During the time I’ve been doing this, and juggling the course with freelance work and life in general, several people have asked me (and I’ve asked myself) why I’m doing something like this when I already provide a service that my clients value and that gets results. The answer is simple – to be better than I am. To grow professionally and provide an even better service, and to push myself to tackle things that I’m not quite sure I can succeed at.
People bandy the term CPD around these days as if it’s a simple box-ticking exercise, but in reality it’s far more than that. It’s about forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, about recognising that you’re not perfect at everything, and that there’s always more to learn. And when you do that, it brings endless value – to you and your clients.