Ideas fresh off the wire

Tapping Into the Potential of Online Learning

Knowing what a client does is crucial for any PR professional. How can we effectively tell our client’s story without understanding their product, it’s value for customers and it’s impact on the overall industry?

In the tech sector, this can be a real challenge. Highwire works with clients that are deeply entrenched in their respective areas of tech (ex. IBM in data science, Zscaler in cloud security, IFTTT in IoT). Getting familiar with trends and technologies in these complex areas can take time and effort.

When I started working at Highwire almost two years ago, I was fresh out of college and far from tech-savvy. Terms like “developer” and “malware” were foreign to this communications major. To tackle a steep learning curve, I turned to an easily accessible educational resource: online courses.

Yound woman reading on her iPadEdtech is one of the fastest-growing segments in the education market. With sites like Lynda, Udemy, Coursera and Udacity, courses come in a variety of topics, time commitments (30 minutes to 3 weeks) and are often free. You also get access to professors from top universities like Stanford and Duke,minus the sky-high tuition.

I’ve made it a personal goal to complete an online course each quarter. So far I’ve learned t
he basics of data science, data governance and data analytics- all of which are key themes for my clients. While I can’t claim to be a data expert, I do feel more confident crafting stories for clients and having conversations with media. Who knew I would go from retaking high school pre-calculus to outlining the data lifecycle to my teammates!

I love when a concept “clicks” during an online course because I know the new knowledge will help me do my job better. The most successful people are usually lifelong learners, which is why curiosity is one of Highwire’s core values.

PR pros: Have you taken any online courses? Let us know what you’ve gained from them on Twitter @HighwirePR.