So, before I go forward, I need to go back some. In April, I started as the public relations manager with Well Done Marketing. Needless to say, anyone following my blog would have had to have really been paying attention to catch that life update—so I promise I’ll deep dive on my company switch soon! But back to today’s topic. When I started with Well Done Marketing, one of my 90-day goals included getting Google Certified. In all honesty, I’d had interest in getting certified long before this goal was printed on paper, but I finally had a reason to follow through and get it done. *Insert nervous gulp here.*
In graduate school professors would commonly joke, “You chose this major because you didn’t have to calculate numbers, you just have to analyze what they mean.” That would be correct. I never hated math like many of my peers, but I saw the process of getting certified as an intimidating time suck filled with numbers, and numbers, and numbers. I assumed once I got started I would immediately feel like I was dropped into the middle of the ocean during a hurricane.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. (Okay, okay, I may have a flair for the dramatic.) It wasn’t bad at all. While the process of getting Google Certified did take significant time, and note taking!, it was a self-paced journey, moderated in small, digestible lessons, and achievable for a PR professional.
As most things in life, I started the certification backwards—hello earlier blog post. Instead of starting with the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ), I actually dived into AdWords first. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this if you’ve not tinkered around in Google Analytics before. I found myself having to watch the AdWords lessons again to ensure I understood what was being explained. I worked through each lesson fairly slowly and focused on one assessment at a time. Once I completed three AdWords lessons, I worked my way into the IQ portion of the module.
While this post isn’t going to share any answers, or offer any tips, I do want to share my thoughts on Google Certifications for PR professionals. Here are three reasons I would encourage PR pros to invest their time in getting Google Certified:
- Digital continues to disrupt our industry. I hesitated to use the word disrupt because it sounds so negative—but it’s true. Many traditional PR tactics have been affected by the digital boom. How we build media lists, how we set KPIs and measure KPIs, branding—I couldn’t name a facet of my job that digital hasn’t partially influenced.
- Information enables strategy. I’m going to nerd out on you for a minute, but this certification helps professionals be more effective in a variety of ways. From audience understanding to the consumer journey and beyond—the ability to interpret data and strategically guide your agency/business/clients in response makes you the office MVP—or should.
- It demonstrates your commitment to yourself, your craft, and your organization. Obtaining a Google Certification isn’t just advantageous for the organization or agency, it’s an investment in your professional development. The skills you add to your toolkit will make you more marketable, more valuable, and can even provide a competitive edge when paired next to a peer.
I won’t pretend I’m a Google expert by any means, I’ve actually just started tapping my toes into the water—but I am excited to continue immersing myself in new opportunities and learning along the way. Thankfully, I work for an agency that’s going to encourage me to do just that! Oh, and if you’re looking for tips, check out a recent post from my co-worker, Christine, here.