Maintaining a Competitive Advantage – The Importance of Continued Professional Development

Recently R&J Strategic Communications president, John Lonsdorf was featured in a PR News Magazine video series on the future of Public Relations professionals. In the video, he emphasizes the need to remain flexible to changes in the industry and shares how businesses must be pliable to the changing PR landscape. He wrote an accompanying blog to the piece on the necessity of continuous organizational improvement and how versatility drives continuous quality improvement.

In the same vein, it is essential for PR professionals to continue their professional development throughout their career. Continued professional development is the commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of skills and proficiency throughout their careers. This can be through webinars, seminars, conferences, workshops and other corporate training programs. Continuing to polish and add to your professional skills allows you to maintain proactive about your career performance.

Teachers, health-care professionals, engineers and accountants are required to participate in professional development, but while this may seem like a sensible practice for any businesses to enforce, it’s not common practice in PR and communication agencies. In grad school, I had classmates who were working full-time in various communication fields. Many complained that they felt stagnant and uninspired because the agencies they worked for did not encourage or facilitate any kind of additional training or professional development programs. These individuals had no opportunity to grow and change with the growing and changing PR landscape. That’s not the way employees should feel in any business setting, and that’s not the path to exceptional service. When considering the ever-evolving world of PR, this is an especially dangerous pattern for an agency to fall into.

Fortunately, R&J Strategic communications is not only an agency that encourages adapting our business model to the changing communications landscape, but it is also an agency that encourages continued employee training and development. We are urged to continually seek out ways to strengthen our performance and regularly monitor new developments in our field of work. R&J has hosted seminars and webinars on best media pitching practices, building better campaigns, using web analytics to power a campaign, and so much more. This month alone we have two webinars scheduled for all employees to attend. In October, I am attending a brand storytelling and content marketing seminar with a few of my co-workers. The office is regularly sharing and signing up for networking events, training sessions, seminars. The B2B team is encouraged to sit in on webinars geared towards the B2C team or social and digital teams and visa-versa. We are all motivated to seek outside workshops or webinars or even to seek out mentors internally to continue to strengthen our skills and grow as PR professionals.

PR has changed. It has changed from when I took my first PR class in college, it has changed since I finished grad school and it will continue to change as I move forward in my PR career. Thus, continuous professional development is vital to maintain a competitive advantage and is fundamental to improving the quality of service offered.

R&J Strategic Communications embraces this continuous career journey. We are committed to evolving, learning and sharpening our skills. Through continued training and development, both the R&J business model and the employees remain flexible to changing trends, technology and communication channels in the industry.

I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned at our last couple webinars and seminars. Feel free to contact me at


About R&J SC

R&J Strategic Communications is a full service integrated marketing and public relations agency that helps businesses discover, define and articulate their value to a target audience. We provide services to both consumer and business-to-business focused firms in the New Jersey metro area and beyond.

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