Public Relations as an art form has come into its own. Just ten years or so ago, it was still focused on a lot of press releases, but the way the internet and social media have advanced in our world has also advanced the practice of PR. It’s not just about press releases and getting a journalist to start spreading your word – no, in actuality, it’s hardly about that at all anymore.
PR is about telling the story in myriad ways and using many tools in the process. During the average week of an account specialist, they may prepare stories to release on social media, prepare and send many Tweets for their clients, plan and schedule arrangements for an event featuring products from one or more clients, meet with internal staff to brainstorm new ideas, keep the client informed, attend networking functions for the agency or clients, work on a crisis management plan, and just about anything else you might imagine.
Additional options might include getting client’s on-air time or interview opportunities with leading publications or websites in the client’s niche. The PR specialist might also be writing blogs for internal sites or as a guest blogger. And woven through it all is a lot of research and planning. Much of that is centered around knowing the target audience for clients, and knowing as much about the client’s business, what they do, why they do it, what’s most important to them …. That means having and knowing the best tools, sites, and people to help.
Of course you know to set up a Google Alert for your clients and anything linked to their business – you’ll also need to know the keywords for their business, and if those keywords are changing. Your can use BrightEdge as a great tool for mining search data. And Google Trends or a Twitter Trend feed helps you know what’s on everyone’s current discussion list – using that information if you can connect it to a client brand might mean a big jump in their business for the month.
Social media is probably going to be a big part of any day, knowing the current trends that work for marketing and branding, knowing which platforms have the best connection to target markets, and ways that make it possible to connect with customers in a way that makes a real and positive difference is vastly important, and there are tools that can help with that as well. Consider Sprout Social, which makes it possible to stay in touch and respond rapidly when something happens, or someone has a problem.
And probably the most impressive tool looming on the horizon is big data. Your agency may need to bring in a specialist for this, but once you have an idea of the data you want to track and put to use, try Spotfire, making it easier to quickly assess brand information and social media in a PR situation.
PR opportunities are magnified more every day and using the tools of the trade helps you build a lasting and successful career. We’ve only touched on some tools and ideas, if you know of great tools that are working for your team, share with us in the comments.