Professional Development OpportunitiesOn the seventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you seven professional development opps, six PR conferencesfive business books, four online courses, three productivity tools, two lies told about the PR industry, and a phrase to banish forever.

One of the things we’ve been keenly aware of in the past 18 months is communicators do not spend time on their own professional development.

It makes me sad—and angry.

The industry is being taken over by SEO specialists, marketers, and advertisers because we have (as an industry—and certainly not all of us) not kept up with the changing times.

I just saw a new software that delivers influencer outreach.

Who is their target audience?

SEO agencies.


Yes, SEO agencies are doing influencer relations.

The reason this is happening is because, even though “relations” is what communicators do, we’ve not evolved—and they have.

It’s Time for Professional Development

If you do only one thing in 2017 for yourself, get some professional development.

Here are seven free—and paid—ways to do that.

30-Day Communications Challenge

The very first thing you can do is join our 30-Day Communications Challenge, which begins on January 3.

It’s free and we are going to challenge you every, single day (weekends included) in January to build a program that implements a PESO model, and measures its effectiveness.

You will receive:

  • A daily email walking you step-by-step through how to create an integrated PESO communications plan.
  • Writing prompts to help you build out your organization’s story—both internally and externally.
  • Tools, templates, and resources to make the planning process a lot easier.
  • Access to the private 30-Day Communications Challenge channel in the Spin Sucks Slack community.

There might or might not also be some fun things included (a Spin Sucks phone case, what?!) so check it out, get yourself signed up, and we’ll start the year off right.

Online Courses

We talked about online courses that will help with your professional development on the fourth day of Christmas.

You have plenty to choose from.

Here is a short list:

Also check out Coursera and Lynda.

And, if you want to take one along with me, I’m going to be taking the Webinar1K program from Smart Business Revolution during the holidays.

Attend One Conference

On the sixth day of Christmas, I gave you a list of conferences to consider for your own professional development.

They include:

  1. Content Jam
  2. Content Marketing World
  3. B2B Marketing Forum
  4. PRSA International Conference
  5. Social Brand Forum
  6. Social Media Marketing World

There are plenty of others, of course, but I recommended those because I’ve been to each and because I speak at each.

So choose one and then really dig in so you get the most out of it.

Read Business Books

On the fifth day of Christmas, Laura Petrolino recommended five business books that will help you with professional development in 2017.

They include:

I would add On Writing (this is our work book club book for January), Virtual Freedom, and The Art of Strategy.


Hi, my name is Gini and I hate networking.

I’m an introvert so I would much, much prefer to sit in my cave and not talk to anyone.

But even I have found that, when I go out and talk to people, I gain something 10-fold.

Case in point: I spoke at Wine & Web last night and I met some really incredible humans (as well as saw some old and dear friends).

Not only will we have new blog subscribers today, I learned a few things from the attendees that I can immediately implement.

Even if networking is not on your must-do for professional development, I highly encourage you to force yourself to go to one local event every month.

It will be worth it…and then some.

Apply for Jobs

I will admit, I cringed when Erika Heald suggested we include this.

But I listened to what she had to say and, by the end, I was enthralled with the idea.

Apply for one job that you’d never get (nor want) every month.

The idea being that you can understand what people are hiring for and which skills you might be missing.

It also really helps to keep your interview skills fresh because you never know when you might need them again.


And, last but not least, volunteer your time.

Even if you don’t get something out of it—such as new clients or blog subscribers or new business—it’s good to give back.

Plus, even when you think you’re not going to get professional development out of something, someone comes along and surprises you.

So volunteer.

Look to the homeless shelters, the animal shelters, the foster care system, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or other organizations where you have a passion.

Get yourself out there and, I promise, you will be fulfilled in more ways than one.

And now it’s your turn.

What other professional development opportunities would you add to this list?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich