Niche Communities Where PR Pros Gather
PR can be a tough business. Whichever area you specialize in—investor relations, community relations, media relations, executive communications—the days can be long and fraught with the need to put out a fire or two.
All of this can get, shall we say, a little stressful. So, where do PR pros turn when they need to ask questions, learn something new or just need a little support?
Some have found that being a part of a community can benefit them in a myriad of ways. But which communities should you participate in?
Sometimes, communities originate on Twitter. Ragan Communications hosts its weekly #RaganChat, and many of the participants tend to turn to each other for various reasons, to ask questions or bounce ideas around. There’s a Facebook group for participants, as well as a LinkedIn group for PR Daily.
SpinSucks provides a free Slack channel for members of its community to congregate. On the welcome page, they mention that it’s for those in “modern PR” to share ideas and learn from like-minded pros.
For those going it on their own, SoloPR is a thriving community. It hosts bi-weekly Twitter chats and offers a LinkedIn group with more than 5,700 members. The community also offers options for paid members such as professional development, support for managing proposals and clients, and a directory where you can list yourself to find new opportunities.
For women in PR, the new community The Organization of American Women in PR USA recently launched. Billing itself as, “the only organization across the USA dedicated to advancing women in the field of public relations,” it seeks to provide opportunities for women to thrive in their PR careers. It has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as webinars, online courses and events for paid members. Its sister group, The Organization of Canadian Women in PR, offers reciprocal membership.
There’s also the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS). It has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as has chapters around the country that host live events.
Then, there’s the Hispanic Public Relations Association, a membership-based organization that hosts a Twitter chat and webinars, along with in-person events.
PR pros who do a lot of writing and content development may tend to hang out in the content marketing communities. For example, #CMWorld, sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute, hosts a popular weekly Twitter chat and an annual conference, along with frequent free webinars. They also publish helpful articles on their site.
The Public Relations Society of America, or PRSA, offers members free webinars on a variety of topics, as well as in-person events. It also invites PR pros to join a specialty area when they sign up as members. Each of these offers an exclusive online community with specialized content and networking opportunities. There are 14 “Professional Interest” sections, including entertainment and sports, technology, public affairs and government, and travel and tourism.
Of course, LinkedIn offers many options that public relations practitioners gravitate toward. There’s the PR Professionals Group with 94,000+ members, the Public Relations and Communications with 295,000 members, and Public Relations Professionals with 64,000 members, among others. Here, community members post questions they may have and articles of interest to the group.
Beyond finding a community where your fellow communications professionals hang out, there’s value in finding communities that apply to the industries your clients are in. Specialize in fintech? Find a community where fintech pros gather. Are most of your clients in beauty or fashion? Look for a community to which industry influencers might gravitate. (Meetup is a good resource to find where local communities gather in real life.)
Keep in mind that being part of a community means more than just joining. Be sure to engage and participate in some way once you’ve committed and feel comfortable. Most communities are ready to warmly welcome new members, so don’t be shy about introducing yourself and getting involved.