How PR pros can find niche groups for support and networking

Your workday is fraught with stress and challenges, but help and empathy can be found in online communities. Check out these options for sage advice—and a shoulder to kvetch on.

PR can be a tough business.

Whichever area you specialize in—investor relations, community relations, media relations, executive communications—the days are long and can require putting out a fire or two.

All this can get stressful. Being part of a community can help pros cope, but where exactly should you turn to ask questions, learn something new or get a little support?

Sometimes, communities originate on Twitter. Ragan Communications hosts its weekly #RaganChat, and many participants ask each other questions or bounce ideas around. There’s a related Facebook group, as well as a LinkedIn group for PR Daily.

SpinSucks provides a free Slack channel for community members to congregate. On the welcome page, it says 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 and find new opportunities.

For women in PR, 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 to help women thrive in their PR careers. It has presences 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 having chapters that host live events nationwide.

Consider, too, 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 tend to hang out in 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. It also publishes helpful articles on its site. Erika Heald hosts a weekly Twitter chat (#ContentChat) to discuss content-related topics.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) offers members free webinars on a variety of topics, as well as in-person events. It invites PR pros to join a specialty area when they sign up as members. Each 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.

Some practitioners turn to Reddit, where there are communities such as PRpros and PublicRelations. There is a learning curve with Reddit, so do your homework before jumping in.

Of course, LinkedIn offers many options. 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 and articles of interest to the group.

Beyond finding a peer-focused community, there’s value in finding communities that might attract your clients. Specialize in fintech? Find a community where those pros gather. Are most of your clients in beauty or fashion? Look for a community to which industry players might gravitate. (Meetup is a good resource to find where local communities gather in real life.)

Being part of a community means more than just joining; engage and participate 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.

Topics: PR

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