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 lead them to become accredited and what the accreditation experience was like for them.
If you work in PR, you’re a busy person. It just comes with the territory. So it goes without saying that every moment you spend on one thing is a choice not to invest that moment in something else. The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) absolutely requires a great deal of work, and in total will likely take about six to 12 months to complete. However, if you consider the program in terms of investment versus return, you’ll quickly see the ROI.
Having just obtained an APR in May, my feeling is that it’s worth the inevitable trade-off you’ll have to make. The APR is an opportunity to expand your professional network through the preparation process, learn from other PR pros and their organizations about what has yielded strong returns for them, and take some time to refocus yourself on some of the key tenants of our profession, as well as new and emerging issues and trends.
The best part is, it’s a two-for-one deal, if you make it one. As you put together your case study for the Readiness Review portion of the process, you’ll follow the four-step RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation) process. It’s an opportunity to showcase how you have used this process from beginning to end to develop, execute and evaluate a successful public relations effort.
Here’s the secret: This process is also the basis for PRSA Silver Anvil Awards application. For me, my APR Readiness Review served as the basis for a Silver Anvil application for a program for which I had co-led the development and launch: Food Lion’s new community relations platform, Food Lion Feeds. I was able to pull much of what was needed for the Silver Anvil application from my APR Readiness Review, which I had already invested a significant amount of time developing.