The best online PR communities: You don’t have to go it alone

The best online PR communities: You don’t have to go it alone

How to find your people on the internet.

You know when you just have to vent?

It can be hard when the thing you want to vent about is your work, your colleagues, or your clients (anonymized, naturally) – particularly if you’re working from home with just your two cats and a ficus for company. 

Fortunately, this is 2023 and you have an unparalleled resource for community building (and trolling) quite literally at your fingertips: that’s right, the internet! Turns out people use it to get together and chat chit about, well, pretty much everything, if you know where to look.

There’s a community out there for everyone, you just need to find it.

Beyond cathartic venting and the occasional meme, online PR communities can be an incredible space for discovering people who actually get you. There you can trade advice, offer sympathy, debate the latest big brand campaigns (and how they were rolled out), find new job opportunities and more.

Of course, as with any community, what you get out of it depends entirely on how much you’re willing to engage with it. That means that simply joining every community on this list – while giving you that little buzz which, if you squint, you can just about convince yourself is productivity – will not in and of itself do you any favors.

Be choosy.

Start by looking at where these communities hang out. (Tragically, most use Facebook.)

It sounds like where the community is based shouldn’t matter, but it does, since you’re far more likely to participate in a group if you get on with the platform that hosts it. If you’re someone who already uses Slack for work, signing up to Spin Sucks won’t be much of a stretch for you; if you’re into petty drama, then a Facebook group may provide the hit you need.

The other big factor is, of course, what the community's about and who's in it.

In the below roundup, I’ll give you a quick summary of the purpose of each community, and provide an example of the sort of posts you can expect to see there to help you decide which of these feels most like your people.

Kicking off with my two all-time favorites, Spin Sucks and r/publicrelations. Let’s go.

The Spin Sucks Community Slack group

Focus: Global, though the majority of members are based in the States

Putting this one up top because it is, hands down, the best, most friendly, and most engaged online PR community I’ve ever come across. Seriously, I have no notes for how it could be done better. Gini is a hero and I won’t have a bad word said against her.

They say that company culture trickles down from the founders, and I have to assume that community culture works much the same way, which is a real testament to the character of Gini Dietrich and her team (i.e. the people behind everything Spin Sucks).

I'm a bit newer to the group but everyone has welcomed me with open arms. There's a judge-free camaraderie here, and any time someone asks a question or poses a topic, everyone jumps in and helps to the point where it feels like we're all working on these projects together. I think I might've found "my people" 😂 Also TV show recommendations galore! ​ – Laura Goldstone 

I’ve been a member for a couple of years now, and there are interesting, casual conversations happening daily. I’ve even had a few Zoom calls with members of the chat, just because we were around and one person wanted to brainstorm. I can’t think of a more welcoming, relaxed, and resourceful community.

You can apply to join the group on the Spin Sucks website, and membership is free. Hope to see you there!

For an idea of what you can expect from the community, here’s a completely natural and unplanned conversation we had earlier:

47 replies is too many replies, people!! ❤️
47 replies is too many replies, people!! ❤️

I had to cut the screenshot short for the sake of all our sanity, but once you're in the group please enjoy the full (slightly unhinged) gush of community love here :)

I'm a non-PR person. I joined this community on the recommendation from some who heard my philosophy, views and passions, and thought I should check out SpinSucks, the PESO model, and Gini. I'm forever grateful that I joined. I have learned so much about the PR industry, the work many do at companies as well as solopreneurs, and have connected on many personal levels with the members here. ​ ​ I am constantly inviting people in my network to join here as a safe place to learn, connect, and support. Oh, and even though I'm not in PR, doesn't mean I haven't been able to add value to the conversations taking place. Giving and receiving. ​ – Greg Wasserman

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The r/publicrelations subreddit

Focus: Global

My second favorite PR place on the internet, the r/publicrelations subreddit is an excellent source of conversation and procrastination. People post about all sorts, from their frustrations at working with a particularly demanding client, to fresh meat asking for advice on making it big in the industry.

For readers who are unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s basically a series of message boards (called “subreddits”) on any topic you can possibly imagine. You can read the forums as a visitor, or create a free account to participate. And it isn’t only about business – Reddit has subs for just about everything. You have been warned.

If you’re thinking about using Reddit for business rather than for, I don’t know, raving about the final episode of Good Omens, I strongly recommend taking a look at a wonderfully instructive article by my good friend Katelynn Marfousi on how to use Reddit for PR and marketing (spoiler: just don’t. Katelynn puts it better).

TechJPR (a group for UK technology journalists and PRs)

Focus: UK

A bit more niche and definitely biased towards those of us who made the baffling decision to settle in the UK, TechJPR is a private Facebook group where tech journos and PRs chat and, frequently, battle out contentious issues.

Unlike a lot of Facebook groups that are poorly disguised marketing ploys for peddling bawdy “best of” articles, TechJPR distinguishes itself by having actual discussions on its posts. It’s not unusual to see comments in the dozens.

The group is free to join, and you can do so by answering a few questions here.

PR, Marketing & Media

Focus: Global, though the majority of members are based in the States

Another prominent Facebook group, PR, Marketing & Media is full of professional requests – media recommendations, advice, news announcements. Which is all very productive and good, if a notable diversion from communities like Spin Sucks, which are more collaborative. PR, Marketing & Media is much more transactional in nature – “I have this, you have that, how can we benefit one another?”

I’ve been a member of this group for a while, though admittedly, I don’t frequent Facebook as much as I did when I was a student and it was necessary to see what awful photos from the last debauched night out were being circulated to pretty much everyone you had ever met. Posts in the group get varied levels of engagement, and it can feel more like a noticeboard than a community.

My impression is that it’s useful when you have a specific question or are calling out for information, rather than for discussion. (I’m very happy to be challenged on this – let me know if you use this community differently, and I’ll update :)

House of Marketing & PR

Focus: Global, slanted towards the UK

Here is another online PR community you can find on Facebook: House of Marketing and PR. It focuses on discussing the future of marketing, media, and public relations. The group is open to academics, professionals, students, and teachers. All of these voices are valued in the conversation, and it’s a great place to discuss current observations about the industry and where it’s going next.

And something I just noticed, this group is run by Mr Stephen Waddington! Goodness, that man gets everywhere. Did you know that he has a boat? Anyway, if anything that’s another feather in the cap of House of Marketing & PR. If you still frequent Facebook, it makes sense to join and stay in the loop.

And if you’d like to get the updates but are horrible at checking Facebook, might I recommend giving Stephen a follow on Substack for a weekly roundup of shared content.

#PRLunchHour (and #FreelanceChat)

Focus: Global, though the majority of members are based in the States

Pre-Musk, there used to be quite a few excellent regular PR community chats floating about Twitter (sorry, X).

Regular events like the #PRLunchHour and #FreelanceChat were two staples anyone could dip in and out of on pretty much a weekly basis. Unfortunately, these seem to have all but died out in the wake of Elon's conquest.

I’m still tagging along with updates from Michelle Garrett (@PRisUs), who was heavily involved with running both, with the hope that she revives the community on another platform. For now, the closest we can get is Michelle’s freelance community on LinkedIn – you can apply to join here.

#PRtalk Slack group

Focus: You tell me!

I'm not actually in the loop on this one, but I've heard stirrings about it being pretty good! Recommended by Eugene Klimaszewski of Mammoth Security, who says: "Over the years, I've connected with numerous PR experts and discovered some invaluable online communities. These platforms haven't just amplified our PR game; they've also fostered a deep sense of unity among participants." That sounds pretty on the money to me.

#PRtalk is a private community, but I'm told you can hunt down an elusive invite through Twitter or via an existing member. I've yet to make it in – if you do, send me a pigeon and we can add the intel to this page.

The immediate chat feature on Slack gives #PRtalk an ambiance of an ongoing symposium. It's excellent for instant guidance or catching the latest in the PR realm.

Eugene Klimaszewski, President
Eugene Klimaszewski, PresidentMammoth Security

PRmoment communities on LinkedIn

Focus: Global, with separate groups for different geographies

A nice thing that distinguishes PRmoment is that it isn't completely focused on the US or the UK. Well, its main LinkedIn community is, but there are also offshoots for other locales – notably PRmoment India, currently numbering around 340 members.

The communities are private, but you can apply to join via LinkedIn with a single press of a button, so it isn't too arduous.

Another gre­at platform to stay updated with the latest industry tre­nds is PRmoment. They offer we­binars, events, and an insightful blog for PR professionals. The­ir LinkedIn group also provides a space for e­ngaging discussions and networking opportunities.

Sarah Jeffries, Managing Director
Sarah Jeffries, Managing DirectorFirst Aid Course Leicester

Ragan Communications and PR Daily

Focus: Largely US

This one comes recommended by Kseniia, the CMO of Parentaler. Housed on LinkedIn, the group shares Ragan and PR Daily posts on all the usual topics: awards, interviews, social trends.

I find it overall less engaging than the communities mentioned above, as communication seems to be mostly one-way – announcements combined with the modern social currency of emoji reactions. But, it's also a not-particularly-taxing way to get wind of new news, so there's little harm in tagging along for the ride. 👍

Find the group on LinkedIn

My favorite community is a Ragan Communications and PR Daily group on LinkedIn. Being part of such dynamic platform gives an endless opportunity for learning. I appreciate the discussions on the latest trends, tips and best practices in communications, public relations and marketing.

Kseniia Mykolaienko, CMOParentaler

I have no problem with paying for value in general, but can’t help feeling that a group built on capitalism probably doesn’t have community at heart. (It’s very possible I’m being unfair here.) I also have zero firsthand experience of these groups, so can’t vouch for their efficacy – it’s something you’ll just have to discover for yourself.

  • Women in Public Relations – paid Facebook group centered on the US and Canada, offering member-only discounts, job listings, sharing of resources/contacts, and more
  • Solo PR pros – paid PR community for independent PRs, offering a space to chat with other solopreneurs and access resources like ebooks, templates, and how-to guides

What did we miss?

Have a favorite community I know nothing about? Better yet, why not start your own local group? It’s a great way to get to know people, and the worst that can happen is that nobody will show up, and you’ll have a little cry and move on. Whatever the case, let me know and I’ll be happy to join, judge, and very possibly add it to the post above.

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