Now, After Me: I am an Accredited Public Relations Professional!

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

There was some spirited online debate last week on a subject that’s close to my heart: The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. The debate took place within the APR LinkedIn group and included comments from current and past members of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and APRs at large.  As of this writing, there were 26 comments — a pretty good number.

aprlogoLet me get the disclosure stuff out of the way: The PRDude (make that Edward M. Bury) is Accredited, and I served on the UAB for two three-year terms. If you’ve read previous posts, you’re aware that I’m passionate about the credential. It was the best professional achievement I accomplished since earning a Bachelor’s degree a long time ago.

Here’s what sparked the debate: A current UAB member started the discussion with a comment stating that the Board would focus efforts in 2013 on achieving these three goals:

1) Conclude beta testing on the entry-level credential in public relations;
2) Enhance the value of APR to Accredited members; and
3) Revitalize the APR brand to external audiences with a heavy focus on the HR and business communities.

Comments from APRs (you have to hold the credential to be part of this LinkedIn group) were generally supportive. Some questioned the value for  the proposed entry-level credential, a development I knew about and wholeheartedly support. But some questioned whether the UAB should focus more towards more on items 2 and 3 from the above list, rather than allocate efforts toward #1.

I posted two comments because I wanted to make these points clear:

  • UAB members dedicate their time and allocate personal resources (okay, out-of-pocket expenses for most) to attend three or four meetings annually and conduct Board work at other times — just to manage, administer and market the Accreditation in Public Relations program.
  • Promoting the value of the credential has long been a focus — but it’s a challenging task give the fact the dollars needed for effective marketing just aren’t there.

That’s why I’m drafting this post.  I’m hoping all APRs — those who earned Accreditation prior to 2003 under the essay-focused process, and those like me who earned it when the program was re-engineered and built around a computer-based examination — will do their part and promote the credential whenever possible.  Let’s start with this virtual cheer:  “I am an Accredited Public Relations Professional!

Now, don’t you feel better?

APRs are expected to provide exceptional public relations counsel and adhere to high ethical standards every day we’re on the job. And, I trust that’s the case for just about every practitioner who holds the credential. But perhaps we don’t do a good enough job in communicating what those three letters stand for, why we earned them and what they mean to the industry.

Fellow APRs, make it a practice to promote Accreditation. There are around 5,000 professionals who are Accredited today. That’s a pretty substantial number of communicators; collectively, let’s make our voice heard. Blog about the impact Accreditation had on your career. Promote it on social media platforms. Be part of Accreditation training within your company or PRSA Chapter.

Now, it’s your turn: If you’re Accredited or have an opinion on how to raise awareness for the value of Accreditation, please share.

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A Public Relations Plan for the Month of November

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

November is like the Rodney Dangerfield of the 12 months of the year. It gets no respect.

I know:  November has the great American holiday of  Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day, and lots of football.  General elections are held the first Tuesday in November. And, let’s include the “official” start of the holiday season, although Labor Day is making a strong bid for that distinction.  But I think most people would vote for June, July or August as their favorite months of the year.  I believe Europeans do, because I’ve read that most workers across the Atlantic get those three months off work — with pay.

"Back porch clouds" in Chicago on a November day.

“Back porch clouds” in Chicago on a November day.

I like November.  In fact, it’s my favorite month of the year because it ushers in — not just the holidays, which I certainly enjoy — but the cold, the bleak, the dark and the leafless time of the year.  At least that’s true here in Chicago and throughout much of the nation.  (You can get some darn good blogging in when it’s cold, bleak, dark and leafless.)

MamasPapasThe late John Phillips, leader of the Mamas and the Papas,  must have written the great song, California Dreamin in November.  After a cool minor-key acoustic guitar intro, the song opens with this couplet: “All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray. I stopped in for a while, on a winter’s day.”

If you want to learn some facts about November, visit this post.  Nothing remarkable perhaps, except to those of us from a certain generation, those of us who remember President John F. Kennedy was assassinated November 23, 1963.

On this last day of November 2012, I offer the following.  I know: This is not a real public relations plan. It’s just a few objectives to begin a formal public relations plan to promote the benefits of the 11th month of the calendar year. But it’s a start.

1. Eleven Down and One to Go: Build awareness for the fact that November is the second-to-last month of the year. Think of the benefits: In November, there’s just one more month where consumers have to pay their mortgage and taxes.  One more month to attend school and work.  One more month of water bills. Then you’re done for the year!

2. Shop in Early November, Skate Through Most of December. The “Black Friday” shopping blitz marks the beginning of consumer madness at retail outlets from coast to coast.  Why not promote acceptance of insane holiday shopping starting November 1?  Why wait until the day after Thanksgiving?

3.  “Thirty Days Have September …” You know the rest of this slogan: “… April, June and November.”  That means November is among the four months of the year with 30 days.  (Let’s ignore the bastard month of February.)  Let’s build a movement to revel and awake during November — one of the four months with only 30 days on the calendar.

Now, it’s your turn: What thoughts do you have to share about November?

From One PRDude to Another: My Q & A with That PRDude

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Those of us who call ourselves “dudes” and also call ourselves “public relations” professionals are a pretty rare breed.  But we’re out there.  Please reference this post from April of this year for more insight into other communicators who have reached the ranks of “Dudedom.”  Hey, there’s even a couple of “guys” out there who practice public relations.

Perhaps the most accurate definition of a dude is someone — more than likely a guy — who works with livestock. That person more than likely resides at a dude ranch, a place where I’m quite sure there are few public relations professionals.  Although, some of us in  the industry or other white collar professions may visit a dude ranch on vacation.  You know, like Billy Crystal and his buddies in the film City SlickersAnd, of course, Jeff Bridges played an iconic character called “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski.

I looked up the definition of the word “dude” in the online Urban Dictionary and got this one:  “A word that americans use to address each other. Particularly stoners, surfers and skaters.”  For the record, I ain’t none of the above, although I did try surfing once and used to play hockey.

Now on to the true subject for this post.  Earlier this week, The PRDude was featured in a post from blogger Hao Nguyen, a PR professional from Australia.  He blogs as That PR Dude and concentrates on a question and answer format as part of his Interview Series.  Frankly, I’m flattered to be featured and I plan to use the Q & A format myself soon.

From his online profile, I’m impressed by Hao, I mean, That PR Dude:

1. He’s a fellow Dude, and one who practices PR.

2. He’s young — 23 years old according to his site — and fully engaged in learning the skills needed to excel in the industry.

3. He’s crafted some pretty compelling posts.

4. He blogs through WordPress — just like The PRDude!

For more insight into my career, please read Hao’s post.  And, please visit his blog to learn more about Hao.  We’re on different sides of the world, and I’ve been in the industry a little longer — okay, a lot longer — than Hao.  But I gather we’re both passionate about ethical, effective public relations and its role in the world today.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your definition of a “dude?”

What’s In a Name? The “Other” PR Dudes and Guys

By Edward M. Bury, APR  (aka The PRDude)

When I launched this blog way back on September 4, 2009, there were two big challenges before me:

1.  How do I learn to manage this cool, new and free open source blogging platform called WordPress.

2. What to name the blog.

Through pointing and clicking, trial and error, I mastered #1.  (After all, I had time on my hands at the time.)  But I struggled with #2.  I didn’t want to use my real name, even though there’s total transparency regarding the author here.  My goal was to chronicle my strategic efforts to land another full-time position in my profession — public relations.  Blogs should be your vehicle to communicate your passions; so I needed a name that incorporated public relations, but wanted something contemporary and casual.

“PRGuy” was my first choice.  It was taken on WordPress.  PRDude was not taken.  So without hesitation I registered myself as The PRDude.

Google “PRDude” and a lot of my posts come up, along with this question:  Did you mean: prude.  In fact, there are around 464,000 possible answers.  I don’t have the free time to review every one. But I did scan a few search pages and found the following:

1.  There’s a guy (at least I’m making an educated assumption) with the Twitter handle of PRdude. He bills himself on Twitter as, “PR pro not a miracle worker.” He’s apparently from Manhattan and he maintains a blog.

2.  Within the WordPress family, a gentleman from the U.K., Hao Nguyen, blogs at That PR Dude.   According to his blog he’s “23-year old Account Coordinator” with an agency.  Does some pretty cool stuff, like interviews with industry professionals and a “day-in-the-life” profiles.

3.  Someone maintains a YouTube account that’s attributed to PRDude.  (It’s not me.)

4.  A public relations professional from Boston named Sean Horrigan bills himself as The PR Guy.  Here’s what he will bring to clients: “…the Power to Build Brand Awareness, Instill Customer Loyalty and Increase Market Share.”

Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude, circa March 2012, San Juan, PR.

No need for me, The PRDude, to offer any further comments on the guys noted above, or any commentary, for that matter.  It’s interesting to view others who blog or comment on public relations, a profession and practice I’ve addressed here in 122 posts written over the past 32 months.

What’s in a name, like The PRDude? You tell me.  Did I make the right choice?  And, while you’re at it, visit the guys above. We share a few things in common.

Random Thoughts During the Blizzard of 2011

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Just got an email from the boss.  “Snow day” tomorrow.  And for good reason. As I write this Chicago and our neighbors in around a dozen or so states are getting pommeled by a ferocious winter storm. A true blizzard.

These are some images taken outside our home a few hours ago.

Looking south on Whipple Street.

Looking north on Whipple Street.

As you can see from these photos, we’re getting some “weather” from all directions.  (It was pretty much the same from the east and west perspectives.

But enough weather.  Since I won’t be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, I can stay up late and deliver a few random thoughts.

  1. The Year In Review. I’m referring to 2010. Yes, I know we’re a month into 2011, but I’ve been busy with my terrific new job and other “stuff.”  The nice folks at WordPress sent me (and other bloggers I trust) an analysis of our posts from last year.   The PRDude blog was viewed around 1,700 times, or enough to fill four Boeing 747 passenger jets.  Let me offer 1,700 “thank yous” to everyone who took the time to read my posts.   My most popular post was an unabashed self-promotion blog designed to help me secure a job.   Another popular post was the one announcing that I reached my goal: I secured that next great new position.Granted, I don’t have massive numbers or get my posts included in the daily summaries from my friends at PRSA or the folks who run MyRagan.  When I launched the PRDude, I just wanted a forum to share my thoughts and commentary with anyone in the communications industry who wanted to read them.  I don’t expect to make money (but I’d take it) or shape opinion on public relations, marketing and communications.   But I’ll continue to have a voice, and enjoy throwing out ideas when I can.
  2. A Different Perspective on Business Meetings. A few days ago, some of my colleagues and I attended business meetings held by the international organization that the association I work for is affiliated with.  Along with the fact the meetings were held in sunny and warm Orlando, I thoroughly enjoyed learning and networking with other professionals from across the nation and Canada.  After nearly a dozen years being part of the team that organized business meetings, I got to participate in the meetings as an attendee rather than staff.  This experience reinforced to me that there’s really no substitute to face-to-face communications, and that well-run meetings — like the one I attended — are critical.
  3. To Work With People Who Are Passionate About PR. Roughly one-third of my career was spent in the agency side of public relations and advertising.  I thoroughly enjoyed the environment, the challenges and constant need to keep pitching new business.  One benefit of my current job is that I am the key point person between our organization and a firm we work with on a retainer basis.  The team assigned to our account are smart, responsive and just as passionate about public relations as I am.  I feel energized working with these outstanding professionals.

Okay.  Need to get some rest. The forecast calls for lots more snow over the next 12-plus hours.