One of the most important strategies a PR professional (early or mid-career) can do to continue advancing his or her vocational knowledge is to actively seek out efficient professional development training opportunities. If you are looking for training that is conducive to your busy schedule, then I highly suggest considering webinars. My personal favorites are those provided by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.
Since 2003, the Center has done an exceptional job in providing journalists with free, thought-provoking, critical training sessions to help improve the quality of American business journalism. Training from the Center focuses on numerous topics, including agriculture, the economy, green sustainability, healthcare, banking, economic development, personal financing, technology, sports, non-profits and more.
A perceptive observer will realize that many of the sessions the Center offers can help journalists’ public relations colleagues as well. From financial writing to competitive market research to finding a local angle on a national story, there are countless learning opportunities. Here is a recap from the site, showcasing some of the most recent webinars that I have attended.
Think Like Google – What You Need to Know About SEO
This Webinar provides basic tips on SEO fundamentals and how search engines find online content, along with tips and tools for writing good headlines and ledes for the Web. This session was led by Chad Graham, social media editor at The Arizona Republic, and Robin J. Phillips, managing editor of BusinessJournalism.org.
Beyond Google – Mining the Web for Company Intelligence
This two-part webinar teaches you the tools and techniques that competitive intelligence experts use every day — and that you can use to keep tabs on companies. Taught by Cascade Insights principal Sean Campbell, the series focuses on how to mine social media for insights on a company’s recent missteps, successes and future intentions as well as how to find portals and online communities that align with a company’s customers or their initiatives.
The webinar includes a lot of critical techniques on mining HR-oriented sources for company intelligence and how to spot potential mergers and upcoming product launches before they occur. You’ll also better know how to identify sources through business networks and media-sharing sites as well as ways to background sources effectively via the Web.
15 Tips for Time Management for Business Journalists
Taught by senior writer Tami Luhby of CNNMoney.com, this webinar emphasizes the basics of time management, including helpful tools for keeping track of essential daily tasks at work and home. Luhby highlights a lot of creative online tools and resources you can use to maximize your efficiency.
I’m currently looking forward to attending the Center’s week-long webinar series on Unlocking Financial Statements, July 18-22, which will cover income statements, balance sheets, cash flows and writing about numbers. Aside from webinars, Reynolds also offers regional workshops, as well as daily tips that can be found at BusinessJournalism.org.
Find out more about what the Reynolds Center presently has to offer on their online calendar.