Listening, joining conversations and exploring communities

Listening, joining conversations and exploring communities

#PowerAndInfluence, #FuturePRoof, #PRstack, #PRFest and Comms School are all examples of communities with conversation and learning at their heart.

It’s daunting venturing out on the internet at any point in your career, let alone when you’re starting out. This was the topic that Marcel Klebba and I explored for the fourth Comms School session.


You can catch a replay of the webinar via the Comms School community on Facebook.

The start point is finding a community to join. There’s plenty to choose from in marketing and public relations. If you’ve signed up to Comms School you’ve already made a start.

Listening and joining conversations

We’d encourage anyone starting out in their career to sign up to Twitter and build a network.

Start by following journalists and media related to your sector. Next, find potential employers, both individuals and corporate accounts.

Start listening to the conversations. You’ve effectively built a crude monitoring system for your sector. If that’s all you do, you’ll find it valuable to gaining insights into your chosen profession.

As you develop confidence reply to tweets with a comment. You’ll soon start to engage in conversations. It’s the basis of building relationships.

Seeking out and following hashtags is a way of finding and participating in conversations.

LinkedIn is a good place to build your network through relationships. Listen to conversation in the newsfeed. Like Twitter add a comment if you’ve an original point of view. As you develop confidence share your own content.

Participating in a community

A community is a means of people coming together around a shared interest, often to achieve a common goal.

Communities are democratic spaces in which everyone has an equal voice and an opportunity to share their point of view. As such it’s a good place to meet people, gain support and inspiration, and learn.

We explored a series of communities in the marketing and public relations space during the Comms School session. We’d urge you to check them out for yourself.

The simplest form of online community is a conversation that develops around a hashtag. #PowerAndInfluence and #PRStudChat are examples that take place on Twitter.

#PowerAndInfluence is hosted by Ella Minty on Wednesdays at 20:00 BST. It covers a different aspect of public relations with a guest each week and welcomes all abilities and levels.

#PRStudChat is hosted by Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Merahan Simon. It connects students, educators and professionals. It takes place at different times. Follow the hashtag for details of the next session.

Communities of practice go a stage further. They develop around a shared goal or event.

Sarah Hall’s #FuturePRoof has brought together practitioners to produce four books promoting public relations as a management discipline.

#PRstack was a community project that I created to help characterise tools in marketing and public relations.

Laura Sutherland has developed a community that brings together practitioners to explore practical aspects of public relations over a two-day event called #PRFest.

Comms School developed by Marcel Klebba and myself has developed into an active community over the past few months. Head to Facebook to join.

Whatever your area of interest or passion we’d encourage you to seek out a Twitter chat and find a community to join and participate in.

Next time on Comms School: 6:30pm BST, 7 May

The next Comms School session will focus on content creation. We’ll explore why creating content matters, and how to keep getting inspired.

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