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Saturday, 15 August 2009

Seeing the online PR light through training

PR people often ask me about how to get on top of online PR quickly.

I usually recommend David Meerman Scott's book: The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

I think that book is a great starting place, and they'll find that online PR and marketing are converging online, so the whole ballpark just got a lot bigger. But the truth is, one book, no matter how good, doesn't give you a licence to practice. I've also put in a major time investment in training.

My CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) CPD Excellence log shows I've clocked up an average of 250 hours a year, each year for the last 4 years. That's currently 1,000 hours of formal training logged, not counting at least 10 times more time refining that training through practice.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to develop an expertise in a subject, and I reckon I must be getting close to that by now if you add the "putting it into practice" element.

If you count on around 240 working days a year after subtracting weekends and holidays, I'm spending over an hour a day on logged training. Not all of it is online PR and marketing. There's useful stuff about business processes and public speaking skills in there too. But I'm always picking up online PR and marketing tips while I'm working. Twitter sends me off on all sorts of interesting links and that's not logged, nor is watching the world's top experts on TED.

So why don't I feel an expert on anything? I think the explanation lies in something my tutor in the philosophy department said over 30 years ago. Bear in mind that he was a renowned professor close to retirement: he said, "The more I know, the more I discover there is to know, so now I feel I know less than I did when I started". I can relate to that!

Sometimes you just have to get comfortable with the idea that you have put in the spadework and know a lot more than most.

But logging the time spent on training puts good statistics behind you. That's quite an important professional booster, especially for smaller company owners and freelancers that are not in large organisations with structured training and development programs run by development professionals. And it's not just PR professionals. I reckon this could apply to any knowledge-led service providers.

I never thought I would say this as I struggle each year to add up my hours and file my CPD reports, but thank you CIPR CPD Excellence program and CIPR's Debbie Liddle for ensuring that, no matter how busy I am, I plan my training year in accord with my business goals and log my hours.

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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Blogger David Meerman Scott said...

Hello. I'm so glad that you like my book. Many thanks talking it up here.

15 August 2009 at 22:17  

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