So the 21st May will mark the last #CommsSchool session (for now!). I think it’s safe to say we’ve all learned a great deal though. To round off the course, our final ‘homework’ piece was to write a blog post about everything I’ve learned so far. And just for good measure, I’m going to drop in at the end some recommendations for where I believe #CommsSchool could head in the future.
I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with some great people throughout the duration of #CommsSchool, and have been pushed out of my boundaries by Stephen and Marcel. Writing about things I never would have felt qualified to write about, such as personal branding, and joining in conversations that I never would have thought to before, such as #PitchboxChat. But this course hasn’t just taught me to push myself, it’s also given me a lot of practical knowledge that I can carry forward with me not only as a PR blogger, but as a comms professional too.
So here are 5 points of what I’ve learned (though I could go into so many more than 5):
1. It’s Never Too Late To Start
I’m making a bit of a general assumption here, but I reckon before #CommsSchool, some who wanted to make a blog, felt like they couldn’t or that it was too late for them to start one – maybe because they’d graduated, for example. #CommsSchool taught me, and more than likely everybody else on the course too, that it’s never too late to pursue what you enjoy. It brought me a lot of happiness to see people creating, or re-igniting old blog platforms at the hands of the encouragement of #CommsSchool.
2. Creating Content Is Important
I always knew that blogging was a good thing, it has benefitted me in more ways than I could tell you. But something that Stephen and Marcel really reinforced in the penultimate webinar was just how beneficial creating great content is. As a student, it can help you to reach graduate employers. And even as a professional, it can help build your personal brand and also inspire others too. I walk a rocky road of blogging, and can often feel demotivated and much like giving up. I think the #CommsSchool webinars really helped me to get my ‘spark’ back.
3. Personal Branding Is Key
Like the aforementioned point, I knew personal branding was somewhat significant. But I never really put much effort into it before #CommsSchool. Stephen and Marcel really helped reiterate how to develop a personal brand, and more importantly – the benefits of doing so. Since being a part of the group, I’ve changed my blog domain, created a ‘PR Instagram’ and have been tighter on my branding. All thanks to #CommsSchool
4. The PR Community Has Many Open Doors
I joined #CommsSchool after meeting Stephen and Marcel via social media, so I already do a little networking across social. I try to join in on Ella Minty’s #PowerAndInfluence chats where I can, and I like to use both Twitter and LinkedIn for the occasional debate. I knew networking was vital as a PR before #CommsSchool, but I’d never explored all of its avenues. #CommsSchool taught me that there are a plethora of Twitter chats you can join, such as #FuturePRoof, #PRstack, #PRFest, along with of course #PowerAndInfluence. Plus, it also encouraged me to go out and find my own: #PitchboxChat. I learned about crowdsourcing for information, which is something I’ve done unknowingly in the past – but that I’ll certainly use in the future. But I think above all, the most beneficial and valuable lesson learned from this point, though, was that it’s as much about listening and engaging in conversations as it is creating them. Other people are probably the most valuable research you can find; learn from them.
5. I Need To Drive Faster
And finally, I think the last thing I learned was I need to drive faster, gosh. I managed to turn up late, or had to catch up on every session I believe (sorry guys) because Manchester traffic never permitted me to arrive on time. I always enjoyed catching up though, it was just a shame I couldn’t’ join in with most of the live conversations.
What’s Next For #CommsSchool
Well, I mean that’s really up to Stephen and Marcel, but they did ask for suggestions. I personally think the webinars are brilliant, and very encouraging – but obviously, they’re not the easiest way to continue this group.
Another idea I had was creating resources for young PR professionals and students, like e-books and slideshows. I know for certain they’d be a welcomed resource in universities, and I also know they’d help many PR-people learn from some of the best.
And finally, my last suggestion: how about a Twitter chat? Ella Minty’s #PowerAndInfluence is my favourite, and I always look forward to either participating or catching up. How about the same for #CommsSchool? I always find Twitter debates and conversations interesting and engaging – not to mention they’re a brilliant way to meet new people.
Of course, as mentioned above, the future of #CommsSchool is really in the hands of Stephen and Marcel. But I don’t doubt they’ll do a brilliant job of keeping it alive. So I guess all that’s left to say for now is thank you very much guys. Well done on inspiring so many people to channel their voice, and endless gratitude is in order for ever-keeping me inspired to keep on writing.