Which PR Conferences Are Most ValuableWe get a lot of questions about PR conferences.

With more and more conferences jumping into the mix each year, the choice of where to spend your time and budget can often seem overwhelming.

Many offer big names (both in and out of the public relations industry), exciting entertainment options, a huge assortment of classes and workshops, and a pretty hefty price tag.

So this week we asked:

What are your must-attend PR conferences?

To PRSA or Not to PRSA

Many PR pros have mixed feelings about the value of both local and national PRSA conferences.

Ann Willets is a big fan of PRSA Counselors Academy,

My vote is for Counselors Academy.

As an agency owner for many years, it was by far one of the best educational and networking events I attended.  

Roger Friedensen agrees.

Counselors Academy is a must if you’re coming up as an agency executive (especially if you’re an owner/partner).

And Joshua Milne is excited about the fact that PRSA International Conference is in his backyard this year (Boston, Oct. 8-10).

Robb Wexler is also a regular attendee of PRSA conferences.

On the other hand, Tom Womack has changed his tune about PRSA as he’s advanced in his career.

I used to attend the Public Relations Society of America International Conference every year; as a junior / mid-level employee I always found it informative.

But as I advanced up the ladder I got less and less out of attending it.

Once I reached a certain experience level the International Conference just didn’t offer much in the way of relevant career guidance.

It was always fun, but I wasn’t learning much new information.

I would still highly recommend it for junior / mid-level PR professional, it just wasn’t worth the time and expense for me.

Instead he mostly sticks with online opportunities now.

These days I typically attend individual webinars related to online marketing, social media, or measurement.

They’re short, to-the-point and can be viewed on my computer at the office; best of all, I avoid the hassle of traveling.

PubCon and Content Jam Offer Lessons in Digital Marketing

The folks at Sarasota Business love PubCon.

Pubcon is the best to cover the digital marketing bases & learn advanced, tactical tips you can come back and use. 

Steve Plunkett agrees.

Michael Kormanik is a fan of Content Jam.

Content Jam, hosted by Orbit Media in Chicago every year is great: A lot of useful seminars, worthwhile information, good speakers. and great networking.

(And I am the closing keynote this year!)

Cincinnati Rocks When it Comes to PR Conferences

Ed McMasters, is pretty excited about Brandemonium, an international brand conference and festival taking place October 11-14, 2017, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ed’s excited about the event AND the location.

This is the inaugural year for this event and it will be held in Cincinnati.

It was named as the heart of global marketing, advertising, and public relations with numerous companies of each discipline.

There are also eight fortune 500 companies in the region, an international airport for convenience, and the opportunity to visit one of the fasting growing regions of the USA!

INBOUND Offers Big Names and Topic Variety

Brianna Valleskey loves INBOUND and consistently keeps it on her “must attend” list.

The conference offers more than 300 educational breakout sessions on myriad topics, including marketing, public relations, branding, and business development.

There are multiple opportunities to meet with other professionals (especially at Club INBOUND!) to network and share innovative strategies.

But the best part is their top-notch keynote lineup, which this year includes Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Mario Batali.

They also offer multiple ticket levels to fit any kind of conference budget.

Be sure to book your flight and hotel early though, as prices tend to escalate quickly closer to the conference dates! 

Roger Friendensen thinks it’s a good one to keep in the line up as well.

I’d also suggest an inbound content marketing conference to keep up with critical trends, channels, and best practices in content marketing and analytics.

Don’t Ignore the Local

Susan Apgood finds value in both local and national level conferences.

Attending conferences has always proven a valuable way for me and my business to network and build working relationships with other professionals.

After attending and speaking at many conferences, my must-attend conferences are:

National PR conferences: Such as the National Association of Government Communicators’ Communication School and the PRSA International Conference.

Local PR conferences: Such as the PRSA Maryland Conference or MASHSMD Fall and Spring Conferences in the greater Washington, D.C. area where I am located.

Each offers numerous networking opportunities and valuable lessons throughout the conference.

Look Outside the PR Conference Box

Allison Moraga reminds us that just because a conference isn’t technically a “PR” or “communications” conference, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable for our careers.

In fact, quite the opposite might be true, as she’s found with eMerge Americas.

I live in Miami and this year, my colleague and I attended eMerge Americas.

ANDER & Co is a PR and digital strategy firm that works with clients in several industries such as real estate, travel, hospitality, architecture and professional services.

Although eMerge is a tech conference, the presenters spoke on innovative marketing tactics.

Needless to say, the conference was highly informative and we were able to make key connections.

Marissa Le agrees.

We attend conferences to learn about what’s happening in the fast-changing world of PR.

And we like to attend conferences to learn more about new happenings in our client’s industries.

And Jeff Zwier reminds us of the value of a broadened perspective.

I’d suggest conferences put on by organizations outside of PR and one’s current industry. New perspective leads to innovation…

Niche Conferences Offer Huge Opportunities

Kate Goins’ firm focuses on the fashion industry and is pretty excited about Fashion PR Confidential a two-day conference they founded and co-taught by PR Couture founder Crosby Noricks.

Fashion PR Con is a must-have for those who focus on fashion and lifestyle.

It’s also a great resource for small businesses that want to do their own PR.

What’s special about this conference is that it focuses on such a niche, but huge sector of public relations.

The conference covers everything from branding and influencer relations to event planning and even styling celebrities.

You won’t find this kind of information in a typical PR conference.

Cost/Value Equation for PR conferences

Sara Hawthorn faces a struggle familiar to many PR pros.

Conferences are something I really struggle with.

Whilst I absolutely understand the need to pay speakers and get workshops, the cost is usually prohibitivee.

Especially when I add in travel, accommodation, and food to get to the place conferences are being held.

Up Next: Internal Communications Tools

Because we know there are some Slack haters out there, our next Big Question focuses on your preferred internal communication process.

Specifically, we want to know:

Which communication tools or methods work best for communicating with your team or clients?

You can answer here, in our Slack community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

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