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3 Important Skills for a Strategic Communications Career

A strong advocate for planning ahead, strategic communication skills are the necessary ingredient for success. To remain competitive, being a proactive communication professional is imperative in a reactive world. The online master of science communication program demonstrates the innovative curriculum Purdue University faculty created for working professionals to learn in a digital world.

I am often asked within our campus community what I do as the director of content strategy. Created in January as part of a new division, it is a new position and was charged to me to form what content strategy is. The Purdue University online program prepared me to not only answer the questions but to start molding our current communication plan to support my answers into measured success.

Three specific areas where I felt completely confident and prepared to lead our strategic communications team included:

  1. Writing
  2. Teamwork
  3. And leadership.


Writing Skills

Regardless of your industry, writing exists in either a print or digital application. In the field of higher education, strategic content with similar style, voice, and tone is not only needed for prospective students and their families, but for alumni, faculty, staff, current students, friends of the university, and donors. Without strategy and specific goals and objectives, messaging becomes diluted and lost. Purdue University’s master of science in communication program teaches professionals in each class how strong writing strengthens your message when coordinated and thoughtfully planned.

Teamwork Skills

It is no secret great leaders work with their team and understand the benefits of brainstorming with others. Classes throughout the program were not only thought-provoking but required the management of working with a virtual team. In class group projects, the challenges of working together time zones away helped prepare a foundation of strategic plans to produce the research, final paper requirements, and video presentations successfully.

Leadership Skills

The progression of class materials along with the ongoing development, education, and practical application were evident as each course built upon each other to produce leaders. In the global leadership and leadership classes, strategic communication was at the forefront of discussions and readings. How do we prepare for a crisis? How can we proactively maintain and govern content messaging? How do we measure success and other team member performances? How does everything support the mission, goals, and objectives?

My only regret in the master of science in communication online program at Purdue University was not being able to appreciate all the late night homework, readings, and discussion in the moment. Because even in its busiest moments, the program was molding me for my new career each week.

Learn More
Stefanie Leiter is an alumni of Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Stefanie Leiter is a May 2016 graduate of Purdue University earning a 4.0 GPA in the master's of science communication program. She is a graduate of Anderson University (Indiana) with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications with a specialization in public relations. Stefanie serves as the director of content strategy and public relations at her alma mater.

During her 11 years at AU, previous roles include web editor, web content manager, and manager of online communications.

Stefanie serves as an adjunct professor in the department of communication and design arts at AU and is a member of the Higher Ed Web Association. She also earned a graduate certificate in strategic communication from Purdue University in 2015.

Stefanie lives with her best friend, Dave, and their two adorable, young children.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.