PR pros crave information as much as they deliver it.
Industry blogs offer know-how on everything from crafting brilliant media pitches to perfecting presentation skills, but how do you determine which are worth your while?
We like to follow bloggers who are superior writers and straight shooters, and whose posts are free of jargon and sales pitches. After that, the blog world is your oyster.
There are experts on various topics that expand on the basics to share knowledge of trends, data and the greater business world—information to help improve a PR team’s performance and client relationships.
Here are 13 websites and blogs that are worth your time:
To improve writing
Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan curate every PR person’s nightmare, the Bad Pitch Blog, dedicated to calling out media pitches that are off-target, poorly written or just bad for any number of reasons. Instead of fearing that your pitch may end up in a post, use the blog for good. Learn what not to write.
As the creators tell us, “We started the blog to help folks out more than anything else. Shaming was a way to blow some steam off in the process.” The 10-year old platform covers both Good and Bad Pitches, which is even more helpful. However, “the good to bad ratio of pitches sent to us? One in every 100″—so there’s definitely a lot left to learn.
We love the Grammarly blog because of the depth and breadth of writing insights it holds. There is no excuse for communicating poorly when a writer can obtain anything from instant grammar checks to a wealth of ways to apologize, avoid business jargon and author a better bio—and those tips are just from the A’s. Use Grammarly to craft smarter social media posts and business memos as well as take interesting quizzes to determine how easily digestible a piece of writing is.
To heighten creativity
How important is it to know there are now pumpkin spice manicures or find out the latest in minimalist time-tracking devices? It’s extremely important; how else would a PR team know what story to newsjack or how to build a trend piece? This site shares the latest trends in fashion, tech, life, culture, design, business, eco and even “bizarre” developments, and it’s guaranteed to spark an idea.
When the inspiration well has run dry and the team needs a reboot, visit CreativeBoom to be visually stimulated by art, design, fashion, typefaces and more. No one knows where the next great idea comes from, but experts in the study of innovation recommend starting with a mechanism that “enables a team to come up with a number of quality concepts to consider.” Sites like CreativeBoom will boost output.
To build better work relationships
Using simple stories to get to the “human” side of leadership is part of what makes Extreme Leadership valuable. As we navigate the “relations” part of PR, we can all use a primer on the value of business friendships, for example.
Whether its in-depth studies on entire industries or disciplines or a personal look at how to help those around you achieve better work-life balance, nothing beats the Harvard Business Review blog. Strategies for organizations and entrepreneurs in any field on any topic are here, and they are easily referenced. Don’t let the Harvard pedigree intimidate you; the articles are eminently readable and provide meaningful advice, such as this piece on building a lasting business relationship.
To enhance presentation skills
Working and succeeding in PR or marketing requires topnotch presentation skills—for large and small groups, well-rehearsed or impromptu. Preparation and confidence help, as do many of the tips on this excellent speaking skills blog. The posts cover body language and blueprints for successful talks, as well as audience attention tricks and ways to deal with pre-speech anxiety.
Why not learn from the best? The TEDTalks have set the bar for what makes a smart, engaging, memorable talk on any subject. The posts are instructional gems to help improve speaking, and the platform is full of information to help any PR strategist improve topic selection, craft a presentation or be more inspiring and persuasive on any subject.
To increase PR, marketing and advertising industry knowledge
Want to gain a real-world understanding of marketing and PR strategy? Read the in-depth posts from different experts, including Dorothy Crenshaw, on this highly regarded executive blog.
For everything you ever wanted to know about the news industry and media outlets (but were afraid to ask), there’s MuckRack. The pieces cover the minutiae of media relations with articles such as “What are the Ground Rules for Recording a Media Interview?” and other topics.
A reliable compendium of PR news and PR agency blogs, Ragan’s PR Daily is for hardcore PR pros, as it covers everything from conferences and social media to how PR works in specific industries, including sports and politics.
To better retrieve, understand and incorporate newsworthy data
Want to rattle off data insights and stats like a pro? Read the Forrester analysts blog. It’s chock-full of incredible research and reports on digital insurance brands to luxury brands and everything in between.
Using big and small data to add depth and dimension to sports, political and other reporting, celebrity data nerd Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight takes the complicated and makes it digestible. There are plenty of great, usable data “nuggets” to enhance pitches and releases; more important, it offers an immersion in analytical thinking on a range of topical issues.
OK, it’s more about advertising and marketing news and trends, but it’s a fun read that we recommend highly.
A version of this post first appeared on Crenshaw Communications’ PR Fish Bowl blog.