As senior public relations majors, group campaign projects are nothing new to us. This is, however, our very first (and last) service learning class that will challenge us to take everything we’ve learned as public relations students and apply our knowledge as professionals in a real public relations scenario. So when it comes to determining whether we would call ourselves experts, we as a group would have at first responded with a very enthusiastic answer of “absolutely not.” However, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the exact definition of an expert is, “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.” When we take into consideration the fact that in 88 days, we will all have bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and have been taught by some of the most knowledgeable public relations educators in the country, we begin to realize that we are, in fact, experts.
Now that we know we have the capabilities of being an expert, we have to go the next step: we have to become experts in the field of our client, Youth Oasis. According to our textbook titled “Strategic Planning for Public Relations”, we have to know what we’re talking about when it comes to spreading the message of our client to be considered true experts. A specific objective of ours is to “specifically increase the Baton Rouge community’s understanding of the services that Youth Oasis provides to homeless and displaced youth.” In order to do this, we must be more than experts of public relations; we must also be experts of all things Youth Oasis.
Mashable.com released an article called “How To: Become an Expert in Your Industry” in 2009. It lists several benefits of being an expert. It tells that being an expert helps you, “establish yourself as an industry leader, get interview and media coverage, help others and become a trusted resource.” One of the goals that we discovered is requested of us through our time with Youth Oasis is media coverage, which as we just found through the article is a benefit of becoming an expert. By meeting with our client and establishing trust with them, we will not only help them but also we will be establishing ourselves as more credible public relations professionals. Youth Oasis wants us to tell their story, and their story is a great one to tell. They are a noteworthy organization with amazing humanitarian efforts in order to make Louisiana a better place for children of all ages. The fact that they are seeking help from public relations professionals provides further evidence that they are also experts in their field. Commpr.biz released an article this summer stressing the importance of hiring public relations professionals. It stated that public relations practitioners bring “their expertise in writing, in social media, media relations and special events to the plate.” All of these things are specific to the positions that we fill within our group. We are very excited to pull together all of our expertise and go to bat for Youth Oasis this semester. We look forward to getting to know them better and helping to better brand them to gain them more recognition in the community.