Attending industry events, such as conferences or panel discussions, allows a PR professional to network with peers, but also stay on top of trends in a rapidly evolving industry.
Regardless of the specific field, or whether you work in-house or at an agency, here’s how conferences can benefit all public relations professionals.
Events allow you to meet new people, but industry events allow you to meet new people within your specific field. These are professionals from whom you can learn, connect and possibly even work with some day. Over It, a creative agency, shares on its blog how these relationships with new individuals “could potentially lead to a new client or a new business partner.” When making your first introduction, it’s likely the other person will leave with a lasting impression and will “be more likely to respond to your email after the conference.” It’s the first step – and an important one. As a PR professional, we’re in the business of building connections.
Expand Your Skills
Staying on top of frequent changes (looking at you, AP Stylebook!) is invaluable in our industry. But these concepts apply to more than grammar; these skills include thought leadership, influencer relations, Google analytics, strategic storytelling, brand reputation management, and so much more. These are a few of the many professional development topics covered in the Public Relations Society of America’s Western District Conference. Expanding your skills increases your value at your company but will ultimately lead you to share work that you’re proud to create.
One of the most important benefits to attending industry events is to stay current with trends. For example, Entrepreneur shares how “the traditional practice of announcing news of a company through a press release has become outdated.” However, it’s during a panel discussion where you might learn from other professionals about how they and their agencies are handling these changes. Whether it’s working with influencers or creating a company blog for media, bouncing off ideas from one another can lead to success. When people with similar passions work towards the same goal of increasing everyone’s value in their field, that is an experience you can only find through attending a career-focused event.
Advance Your Career
Speaking of career, there is ample opportunity at conferences to learn what you didn’t even know existed. Muck Rack, a software platform designed for PR professionals to find the right journalist for your pitch, shares on its blog how conferences can be beneficial to your career. For example, PRSA Western District Conference’s goal is to “provide a continuum of training, networking and advancing the public relations profession.” Typically, one wouldn’t necessarily stumble across an app such as Muck Rack. Attending conferences such as the Western District Conference exposes you to new apps and other methods to improve – and advance – your career. From computer software to data analysis tools, to leadership skills and even creative writing, you never know what you might learn at your next conference.
What are your favorite PR industry events? What persuades you to attend or not?