Return on Influence: How Full Sail’s Public Relations Master’s Program Prepares Students for What’s Next

Learn it today, act on it tomorrow. In just 12 months, Full Sail’s Public Relations master’s program can help you expand your professional skills.

Anybody who’s ever tried to argue a point on social media knows how difficult it can be to change someone’s mind once it’s made up. Which is why public relations professionals spend more time building brand trust than they did in the past. If you can influence how someone feels about a brand ahead of time, you won’t have to convince them to stick it out during critical moments. Current public relations strategy is as much about managing loyalty as it is about managing a crisis.

Considering how much the industry has changed in such a short amount of time, Full Sail’s Public Relations master’s degree program aims to prepare students for what’s to come.

“Our goal is to give them a head start,” says program director Ryan Kitelyn. “Our curriculum is project-based, so we don’t focus on a lot of theory. Instead, we look at what’s happening in the industry now to figure out what’s next.”

This includes courses designed around building a portfolio – something new graduates can present to potential employers. Leading up to their final thesis project, students build an entire public relations campaign from the ground up, adding in pieces as they progress through classes on everything from personal brand development to the legal aspects of media.

One of the early standout courses is social media metrics. Let’s say your company’s Facebook page has 10,000 likes. What does that mean? More importantly, what does that mean for your ROI?

“Your return on investment, or as we like to say, a return on influence,” says Kitelyn. “Public relations used to be about presentation – how do you present a product to the world, or how do you manage a crisis. Now, it’s merged with other aspects of marketing to include social media impressions.”

With that in mind, the program offers an overview of marketing strategies designed to contribute to a brand’s narrative.

“Today’s consumers are looking to engage in ways that feel authentic. So in addition to traditional public relations strategies, we’re also teaching them how to market and produce events, analyze data, and utilize technology as a resource,” says Kitelyn.

Thanks to digital platforms, companies are more accessible than ever before. Consumers expect engagement and interaction from brands undergoing new developments. In month ten, students learn the fine art of managing a brand’s reputation. This is where good writing skills are crucial, says Kitelyn.

“You’re an advocate for a company or a brand. It’s your job to tell their side of the story. You have to be forthcoming and proactive, but you also have to learn to defend a brand without being critical.”

“This is a degree for anyone who is looking to speak up or make a difference in the way brands are run,” he adds. “People working in public relations often have the ear of corporate executives. You’re the first point of contact if something goes bad, but you can also help drive what’s good within an organization.”

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