The aim of the CIPR Specialist Diploma (Digital Communications) is to enable candidates to
develop knowledge and expertise in how social media and digital communications are integrated into strategic public relations planning and management.
The CIPR Specialist Diploma (Digital Communications) will be of interest to PR practitioners working in public relations, corporate communications, marketing communications, internal communications, public affairs and media relations, who have experience or responsibility for digital communications, in consultancy or in-house, or in a related discipline within the strategic management framework.
This qualification will equip the candidate with the knowledge and tools to contribute effectively to the organisation’s strategic management of digital communications and social media while meeting what is expected of an ethical practitioner in complex situations.
Candidates will research and develop ethical digital communications and social media management strategies and plans that assist organisations to enhance and protect their reputation and to achieve their strategic objectives. Candidates would be awarded the CIPR Specialist Diploma (Digital Communications) on successful completion of the assessment.
The syllabus is taught and assessed at the same level as a postgraduate degree.
CIPR Specialist Diploma Digital Communications
Aims of the module
Covers topics including:
- Explore the disruptive and transformative impact of digital technologies on society, business, organisations and individuals.
- Understand the concepts and tools employed in strategic public relations planning with specific emphasis on the role of social media and digital communications management.
- Manage digital and social media activities and engagement with stakeholders and online communities, and consider legal and ethical implications.
Successful candidates will be able to:
- Explore the disruptive and transformative impact of digital technologies on society, business, organisations and individuals:
- Examine the effect of existing and emerging digital technologies on communications
functions and operations including ethical implications and sustainable development of digital literacy and leadership capabilities.
- Examine the impact of trends in digital communications usage including media
convergence, citizen journalism, social media influencers and stakeholder activism on organisational communications.
- Use relevant frameworks, tools and techniques to analyse trends in online behaviour, media consumption, online user profiling, and the formation of network communities.
2. Understand the concepts and tools employed in strategic public relations planning with a specific emphasis on the role of social media and digital communications management: Examine the range of concepts, models and tools to research external and internal environments to identify stakeholders and influencers and the issues affecting an organisation;
- Identify digital and social media tools, technologies, and platforms to improve stakeholder engagement issues management and crisp responsiveness;
- Explore how to develop and manage audience-centred content and the role of owned, third party and user-generated multimedia content.
- Match communications strategies to specific platforms, technologies and channels (for example, Enterprise Social Networks).
3. Manage, plan, monitor, measure and evaluate digital and social media activities and
engagement with stakeholders and online communities, and consider legal and ethical
- Determine appropriate integrated digital communications management approaches across platforms and technologies (including resource requirements);
- Assess relevant methods of evaluating digital communications strategies and plans (including outputs, outcomes, impact, data analytics, insights and reflective practice);
- Critically reflect on privacy and security issues and legal responsibilities in areas such as online tracking, behavioural profiling, data protection, digital security, and social media usage;
- Evaluate the ethical implications of the use of digital communications in developing,
implementing and evaluating PR strategies and tactics.
Specialist Diploma (Digital Communications) assessment;
Assessment: Executive report and summary of situation analysis
Submission: The assignment will comprise:
1. 3,000-word (+/- 10%) executive report.
2. Supporting 2,000-word (+/- 10%) statement of reflection including critical examination and evaluation.
3. A reference list of sources using an appropriate, consistent method of referencing.
Who’s it for and what are the enrolment criteria?
This course is aimed at experienced public relations practitioners who want to develop their expertise in the area of digital communications.
You qualify for the Specialist Diploma (Digital Communications) if you hold one or more of the following:
- CIPR legacy Advanced Certificate or the Professional PR Certificate
- CIPR legacy Diploma or Professional PR Diploma
- 1 of the following plus 1 year’s relevant full-time employment in public relations (or related sectors, e.g. marketing, journalism) and 5 GCSEs (at grade C or above, or at grade 5 or above), one of which must be in the English language*:
- Specialist Certificate (Internal Communications)
- postgraduate professional qualification in a related discipline (e.g. CIM diploma)
- UK Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a PR-related discipline: business, marketing, management, communication, media or journalism.
- 1 of the following plus 2 years’ relevant full-time employment in public relations (or related sectors) and 5 GCSEs (at grade C or above, or at grade 5 or above), one of which must be in the English language*:
- CAM Advanced Diploma in Marketing Communications
- NCTJ Diploma
- UK Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any other subject
- Pearson LCCI Level 3 Certificate in Public Relations or equivalent qualification that comprises level 3 subjects in PR, marketing, advertising, and principles and practice of management.
- 4 years’ relevant full-time employment in public relations (or related sectors) and 5 GCSEs (at grade C or above, or at grade 5 or above), one of which must be in the English language*
Relevant experience should include at least 50% of the following:
- PR planning and crisis management / managing the PR aspect of a potential crisis situation
- planning, developing and implementing PR strategies
- organising events including press conferences, exhibitions, open days and press tours
- researching, writing and distributing press releases to targeted media
- coaching client representatives in effective communication with the public and with employees
- preparing and delivering speeches to further public relations objectives
- establishing and maintaining co-operative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups
- preparing or editing organisational publications for internal and external audiences, including employee newsletters and stockholder reports.
- If you don’t have sufficient experience in these areas, the Professional PR Certificate may be a better starting point for you.
* Those whose first language us not English must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the language (spoken and written) to an International Language Testing System (IELTS) band score of 6.5 or equivalent.
January 2021 Cohort –
All Teaching sessions are on held on a Friday at 10:00 am – 12:30 pm.
- Session 1 – Friday 22 January
- Session 2 – Friday 29 January
- Session 3 – Friday 12 February
- Session 4 – Friday 19 February
- Session 5 – Friday 5 March
- Session 6 – Friday 12 March
- Session 7 – Friday 26 March
- Session 8 – Friday 30 April
- Tutorials to be arranged.