As PR professionals, we’re constantly reading and scanning news articles, blog feeds, and social media posts to keep up with the latest industry trends. Not only do we need to keep track of the news, but we have to keep up with new technology as well. The Internet landscape is ever-changing, and with it, PR too.
In order to stay on top of your professional game, review best practices, and learn about the latest cutting edge communication and digital marketing tools. Knowing the following four types of technology will help shorten the amount of time spent planning, researching, and writing in your weekly workflow. On top of that, familiarity with these tools will certainly give you a leg up in your career as they are becoming increasingly popular in the field.
Publishing any form of content and realizing there is a typo or grammatical mistake somewhere can be painstaking to fix, especially if it’s someone else who notices the mistake first. Luckily, there are web browser extensions and software programs that help take some of the guesswork out of editing and ultimately save you precious time.
Grammarly has both a Google Docs and Microsoft Word extension that amplifies basic writing tools by picking up on spelling, grammar, and tone. Some writing processors also have speech-to-text or voice typing that some writers may find useful, especially if you have a lot of content to get through. Voice typing lets you speak all your thoughts into writing, forcing you to forego editing which tends to slow a lot of people down in the writing process.
Workflow trackers are common in the professional workplace. They help simplify project management, organize daily/weekly work tasks, and help teams meet deadlines. Two popular programs are Asana and Trello. Asana is a great program for teams to determine how work is being allocated. Trello’s workflow automation software tracks action items in Kanban-style, where items are listed in a descending order based on deadline and level of completion.
Planoly is a commonly used software for in-house social marketing teams, influencers, and large brands. It specializes in planning Instagram and Pinterest feeds and tracking engagements. It’s a solid option that focuses on two of the largest platforms for social media marketing and connecting with your audience. There are a variety of other popular social media planning platforms too, like Buffer and Hootsuite. Most workflow trackers will save you time in the long run by planning posts, press releases, and more for stakeholders.
Or customer relationship management programs, are typically used to track leads, organize sales, and provide quick follow-ups with customers. In PR, CRM programs are used for organizing media contact lists and stakeholder contact information. CRM software helps save time and can improve vendor relationships when tracking previous dialogue.
Salesforce and HubSpot’s CRM programs are some of the most widely used technologies across many industries. Salesforce is one of the oldest and largest CRM platforms (their stock ticker is quite literally ‘CRM’ on the NYSE) and for good reason. They specialize in centralizing all business channels from selling to customer databases to marketing efforts. HubSpot’s CRM platform has a smaller but very comprehensive free version or an upgraded full stack for even more options.
Prezly is unique because it is a CRM program focused specifically for PR purposes. It features contact list building, newsrooms, and stories for your brands, campaign creation, and coverage tracking. CRM technology is widely used for its convenience, but also for its inherent data privacy. There’s no longer a need to dig through insecure email inboxes and spreadsheets to find what you’re looking for—your sensitive information is safe.
Speaking of safety, one of the largest growing concerns in the industry is over data privacy and protection. Rightfully so, it is important to familiarize yourself with common workplace security practices to keep your company and your accounts safe. This is especially important in remote environments where sensitive information might be shared over the cloud or with communication platforms like Slack. For public relations agencies, a next-generation firewall is a good option for protecting your web traffic and cloud data against any unwanted intruders.
Becoming familiar with these four types of tools early on will surely help develop your professional career. Agility within these tools will be a key differentiator between your career trajectory and others because the technology used for communication is always changing and transforming into something new. Interested in what other technology is out there? Here’s a roundup of 25 tools you may come across in the PR industry.
In comments, please add any of your favorite tech tips and tools.