It is needed.It is a reasonablepriority.Teaching Entrepreneurship in the PR Major:Two Different Delivery StrategiesProf. Vicki S. Bagwell, APR, Western Kentucky UniversityProf. Betsy A. Hays, APR, California State University, Fresno
Business Perspective Particularly in demand right now: consultants who can help companies to save money, minimize financial losses, and do public relations damage control. – Inc.com
Delivery Strategy: Learning ModuleWestern Kentucky UniversityJOUR 358 Public Relations Writing and Production 4-week module in a full-semester course designed to raise initial awareness of the role of entrepreneurship as it relates to writing in the public relations industry. Independent practitioners estimate that 44 percent of their time is spent in writing activity, such as producing communication tools, e.g. press kits, creating and monitoring websites and blogs (Rayburn, Hazleton and Davis, 2008).
Module Objectives (included in syllabus)• Better understanding of opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship and how this understanding can be applied to public relations• Increased interest in and understanding of entrepreneurship business opportunities• Considering PR entrepreneurship as a career option• Greater awareness of PR skills that lead to successful entrepreneurship effort• Enhanced business networking skills
Module Topics/Assignments• Introduction to entrepreneurship as a business model• WKU Center for Entrepreneurship guest speaker• Discussions regarding business practices from an independent practitioner’s perspective (e.g. proofreading, brainstorming, etc.)• Review/discussion of PRSAY® entrepreneurship blog postings • http://prsay.prsa.org/index.php/tag/independent-practitioners/• Research for interview questions• Blogging with public relations entrepreneurs (project grade)• One-on-one interviews with public relations entrepreneurs leading to feature releases (exam grade)
Module/Future Learning Choices• More information on getting started• Client service, billing• Getting new clients• Working with subcontractors or employees• Forming partnerships with other professionals• Advice for successfully owning your own firm
Delivery Strategy: Stand Alone CourseCalifornia State University, FresnoPublic Relations Entrepreneurship15-week class blending self-employment businesstechniques with public relations strategies & tactics• Elective in the PR major• Option to all MCJ students as well as entrepreneurship majors
Class Course Topics• Internal and external components of successful entrepreneurship• Business plans• Structure and workings of a public relations/communications consulting business• Opportunities and challenges associated with owning/managing a pubic relations/communications consulting business• Development of a business mantra & positive organizational culture• Effective new business development & agency promotion• Successful client relations• Agency ethics• Agency management, staffing, billing & planning techniques (including partnerships)
Class Assignments• Business planning – name, logo, color scheme, website copy, mantra, org. structure, services provided, target clients, new business development plan, etc.• Elevator pitches – 15 and 90 second• Speed Selling• In-depth research project (interviews with PR entrepreneurs)• New Business Pitch Presentation• Field Trip• Creativity• Guest Speaker Prep
Class Texts• Managing a Public Relations Firm for Growth and Profit by A.C. Croft – 2nd Edition• The New Conceptual Selling: The Most Effective and Proven Method for Face-to-Face Sales Planning by Robert B. Miller, Stephen E. Heiman, Tad Tuleja, John Philip Coghlan
Feedback: Pre- and Post-assessment• Interest in entrepreneurship prior to the module • 2011 – 4/36%* • 2012 – 2/14%*• Interest after the module • 2011 – 4/36%* • 2012 – 5/35.7%**Interested students considered entrepreneurship after obtaining at least 6 years of experience.
Student Feedback• Talking to Peter Woolfolk helped the world of college learning become reality for me. I was extremely nervous and timid about entrepreneurship and talking to a professional in the business helped to open my eyes to the future possibility and to give me courage. His advice concerning the business was awesome as well! – Senior• The entrepreneurship work we did in class made me consider being an entrepreneur in the future. I like the idea of being hands on and creative in every aspect of PR work, and I think being an entrepreneur would give me that freedom. – Junior• I have always been somewhat interested in entrepreneurship and having the opportunity to ask a successful entrepreneur questions and get immediate answers was a great learning experience for me. -- Junior
PR Practitioner’s FeedbackSo many career opportunities for public relationsprofessionals exist today in the entrepreneurial space– whether starting their own public relations firms orworking in partnership with other entrepreneurs toapply their communications skills toward a wholeother type of business enterprise. It’s terrific to seepublic relations students being taught somefundamentals about sparking new business ideas andthen putting those concepts toward anactual business start-up.Mary Beth West, APRMary Beth West Consulting, LLCMaryville, TN