Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Staying Current: Vital to PR and Not as Time Consuming as It Seems

So by now it should be no secret that's it's vitally important to stay current if you're in the public relations industry. This means current with all kinds of news, because you never know what news could impact your business or client, either positively or negatively. But it's also important to stay current with industry trends and changing social media. If you're in PR and you don't follow social media, you won't be in PR much longer.

Today, during my research pubic relations class, we talked about the blogosphere and even Google alerts. A lot of fellow classmates were wondering, if there's so much news and so many blogs out there, how are we supposed to follow it all? I agree that there's hardly enough time in the day as it is, but I still manage to find time to stay current in the news and the world of social media. So I thought I'd share my tips about how I manage my time and still stay current.

First of all, our professor today discussed Google alerts, which I also subscribe to. He discussed following something as specific as a company, particularly Wal-Mart. However, I've decided to broaden this quite a bit. I subscribe to three Google alerts; public relations, social media and politics. Whenever there is a news item or blog about any of these topics, I get an e-mail. It's not a pain like it may sound, for those of you who already have an overflow of items in your inbox. I get three e-mails a day, one for each topic. In the e-mail is a list of all the articles or blogs that pertain to the topic. Now, do I go through and read every single one? No, but I read each title and the first paragraph. If I like it, I read on. If not, it's on to the next article. So I do not read every single thing, but I get a general idea from the first paragraph, and I read all of the stuff that seriously interests me.

Also, I know you've all heard enough about Twitter, but when used effectively, it can actually save you time. Follow people or organizations that are worthwhile; such as PR firms, the PRSA and social media experts. They'll post links that are worth your time - they've already done the work of sifting through the surplus of information out there to find the good stuff for you!

On top of this, I also read almost everything on mashable.com. This is a great Web site for people breaking into PR, or those who know little to nothing about social media. I also recommend pr-squared.com, which connects social media to PR more than mashable. Both are great sites.

It can be difficult to find time for things in your day that don't seem absolutely necessary. But you have to think that if you really want a career in this, it isn't just an option anymore; it's becoming a necessity. That's my PR thought for the day.

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