Editor’s note: This is the part of an ongoing series of articles from communicators who have earned their Accreditation in Public Relations, describing what led them to become accredited and what the accreditation experience was like for them.
Having worked in the public relations profession for decades, I finally decided to pursue my APR, and wish I would have done so earlier. Here are my top 10 reasons for getting my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR):
Number 10 – I now can explain more fully things I knew intuitively (e.g., why writing a news release is not enough).
Number 9 – I yearned for greater professional accountability. The work we do should have an impact; it should affect behavior and be meaningful.
Number 8 – I previously had not studied research — qualitative, quantitative, primary, secondary, etc. — and now I am all about research, the foundation for any good PR plan.
Number 7 – I wanted to be able to demonstrate measurable results to justify the PR function and my position. Accreditation defines and legitimizes the profession, sets industry/professional standards, and builds accountable ethics and legal knowledge.
Number 6 – I wanted greater depth in my crisis communication skills.
Number 5 – I desired greater knowledge in preparing an effective public relations plan.
What is a PR plan and why does it matter?
Number 4 – I knew there was more to learn about media relations. Media coverage is an output (not outcome) measure.
Number 3 – I once thought of becoming an attorney and now know much about copyright, defamation, SEC filings, Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and other legal matters. I’ve also decided I no longer have a desire to become an attorney!
Number 2 – I wanted to be credentialed like other professionals. The work seems more meaningful and strategic than busy.
Number 1 – I wanted the knowledge, skills and abilities that will allow me to transfer and effectively work in any industry, corporation or agency.
Anne W. O’Connell, APR, is a public relations executive with experience in health care, education and nonprofits.