After 11 years in public relations and having just turned 40, I have finally taken my first steps towards gaining a professional qualification by enrolling on the CIPR Professional PR Diploma.
I am fortunate that my employer has agreed to invest in my development. That was never a possibility during my nine years in the public sector, nor could I have afforded to fund myself. I am grateful for the opportunity and plan to seize it with both hands.
I am studying by distance learning with Cambridge Marketing College, which means I could make an immediate start. The whole thing should take around 12 months. A hefty chunk of the next year’s ‘spare’ time will be devoted to reading, thinking, watching, listening and writing.
The CIPR Professional PR Diploma is a relatively new qualification, replacing the previous PR Diploma. It has more of a practical focus than its more academic predecessor, which will help me apply the learning directly to my own practice to benefit my team and organisation.
Hit the books
So far, I have had my first Skype tutorial with my very helpful tutor and have read the first couple of chapters of my big, fat textbook, Exploring Public Relations by Ralph Tench and Liz Yeomans. I have also picked up another couple of books recommended by my tutor, Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns by Ann Gregory and Corporate Communication by Joep Cornelissen.
After yet another hiatus in blogging, despite my best intentions, I plan to be able to use this platform to document my studies and work out the various ideas, theories and arguments that come up over the next year. Among the areas I am keen to explore are the value of public relations to organisations, professional ethics, content strategy, the role of artificial intelligence in PR, and meaningful measurement.
Given the contextual and historical content of the start of the course (fascinating to a comms geek like me), I might start by tackling the questions: What even is public relations, anyway? Who cares? And why should they?
Why start small?