A new CIPR skills guide for Solo PRs, an office party, a podcast, and some event ideas …
It can be tempting to wind-down towards the year-end, but a year-end can also work as a deadline by which you aim to achieve something. One of the objectives set by the CIPR independent practitioners (CIPR-IPs) or solo PRs round-table in August (see my previous post) was to update, rewrite and expand the CIPR’s skills guide giving top tips for independent practitioners (this was in parallel with a wider initiative to overhaul all of the skills guides – and as a member of the CIPR’s social media panel, I was also keen to ensure all the guides reflected latest thinking on use of new tools and technologies.)
The development of the guide started simply and ‘socially’. I imported the old guide into a Google Doc, and after an initial hack at the content I invited other people from the round-table to review it, and add their own comments and ideas. Over just a few weeks, the guide was expanded from its initial 1078 words to just over 1600 words, and some extra links have been added, including one to the recently established Linkedin group. The new guide is now available as a member’s download from the CIPR website (and you get five CPD points for reading it). Here’s a short extract on starting out:
The basics to operate as an independent PR practitioner are:
- an online presence (you can purchase website domains for less than £25 and create a simple website that says everything you need to for under £100)
- an email address (not Hotmail, Gmail or similar) – when purchasing a website domain you will normally be able to create email addresses for the same domain
- business cards – incorporating your logo and your selected on- and offline contact details. Including your CIPR membership status (eg: a MCIPR suffix) can help underline your credentials as a professional and ethical practitioner
- a headshot – get a photo that can be used on your website, social media profiles, CV, etc.
- a Linkedin profile – increasingly important in online networking
- a CV or short biography in several formats ready to send off if requested by a potential client – you can ‘top and tail’ it so it is ‘personal’ to the person receiving it.
- a short Powerpoint presentation (or similar) providing your ‘elevator pitch’ – which, again, can be updated and tweaked as necessary depending on the client you are meeting
A SoloPRs Christmas party?
Working late last Friday afternoon, I got a sudden burst of “out of office” replies. Clearly, quite a few people were already letting their hair down, perhaps drinking mulled wine and munching mince pies with colleagues at their office Christmas party. This is, of course, something we solo PRs may miss – gladly or sadly.
In what the IPPR think-tank predicted could become the self-employment capital of western Europe, apparently some 2000 people a month are going solo, and where there are freelances, there can be parties. This weekend’s Guardian newspaper took a humorous look at the Christmas party from the freelance perspective. If the party-for-one challenge doesn’t appeal (I liked the notion of a solo secret Santa performed by navigating Amazon with your eyes closed and seeing what arrives in the post!), then perhaps we could follow the example of freelance journalist Michael Moran and set up regional soloPR versions of #FreelanceOfficeParty?
If the CIPR’s Wessex freelancers group can do ‘PR and a Pint’, perhaps there’s scope for a ‘#SoloPRpint?’ (maybe more than one) …. So, for those CIPR-IPs in/near London, if I nominated a central London pub for a tweet-up at, say, 6pm on Monday 22 December, would you come? – Update (22 December 2014) – I will be at The Champion, 12-13 Wells Street, London W1 for an hour from 6.30pm this evening.
Beyond a simple guide
In the meantime, CIPR President Stephen Waddington, due to step down at the year-end, interviewed me last week for a podcast focused on the CIPR-IPs initiative, published on Sunday.
I have also talked with the CIPR HQ team about maintaining momentum into early 2015, expanding our Linkedin group and holding our first CIPR-IPs tweetchat (I have also started a CIPR-IPs Twitter list – let me know if you want to be added). One of the questions here will be about what CIPR-IPs would most like to learn about in a webinar. This webinar, in turn, will be used to help test the appetite for holding a face-to-face event or two. One idea is to showcase the achievements of outstanding freelance or independent practitioners that have either won PRIDE or CIPR Excellence awards in the past, or are shortlisted in these categories for the 2015 awards. Another is to look at key areas where CIPR partner businesses might advise on issues such as insurance or IT tools and support.