While in your first few years as a public relations professional at an agency, you may find yourself spending hours on speaking opportunities and trade show submissions. You stress the value and importance to clients, list out benefits such as thought leadership and networking, and strive to develop innovative and relevant content for them to bring to the table. At the same time, it’s hard to take a look in the mirror and convince yourself that industry events are worth your while to become involved; that the benefits of professional growth and bringing value to your organization are meaningful.
It’s been said that PR practitioners often fall short when promoting themselves. This is one of those instances. In order to be a “thought leader,” you have to start cultivating some sort of point of view while gaining experience at the same time. The best way to start doing this is to get involved locally. Even on a junior level, you can find events looking for volunteers.
I was offered the opportunity to volunteer at Boston TechJam a few weeks ago, and decided it could be a good (and free) way to meet other tech PR junkies. The evening was a cool collection of start-up companies, and I eventually found myself chatting with some agency peers. While at Boston TechJam, I tweeted a picture of a robot at the event’s handle. Due to some instant Karma, the tweet won me a pass to FutureM Boston, one of the premier marketing events of the year.
PAN Communications encourages professional development, and so I was able to attend some speaking sessions Thursday morning at FutureM. Hearing the expert panelists explain how the field of Public Relations is becoming more integrated was a sure upgrade from any normal weekday morning at my desk, and I was thankful to have a seat at the standing room only panel. I walked away with some industry knowledge and a handful of new Twitter followers, but more importantly, my own views I intend to explore further.
I encourage you to check out what events are happening that spark your interest. Check out the events page on industry associations’ websites. Even ask your company if they’ll help you attend. Sometimes a simple tweet can reward a free pass to some of the most sought-after events in town. It can invigorate your passion for the job and boost your social media presence, so get involved.