Technology is here is to make our lives better. Here are the five tech essentials that every PR professional should have:
1. A file sharing program
Working in this field, I’m always sending large files back and forth. Many times I find that the files are just too large to send and receive with my email.
Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to share all files at any size through the cloud. As a public relations professional, you often deal with large files such as audio, videos, photos, and graphics. Both tools enable you to transfer or access those types of files with no size limit.
2. A media monitoring and list building tool
Whether you work for a PR firm or do public relations for a company, you have a client’s reputation to monitor. Cision, Vocus, and Meltwater are programs that track your client and relevant topics in the news. Both programs also help you build media lists. Google Alerts is free tool from Google that sends you email notifications when your client or a topic of interest is mentioned in the news.
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3. A social media management tool
Whenever I conduct social media training sessions, I emphasize the relationship between social media and traditional news media. Twitter is where journalists hang out. It’s where they post articles and look for information and tips. Tweetdeck, BackTweets, and Brandwatch enable you to track individuals, keywords, and hashtags. These tools have both paid and free options. Muck Rack is a paid tool that specifically tracks journalists and topics. Not only do all these tools help you keep up with news events and developments, but they really help you build relationships with journalists.
4. A tablet
I joke that PR is 24/7 job. PR professionals have to be able to work from any place at anytime. In order to do that it’s almost as if you need a miniature office to carry around with you. However, our backs aren’t made for that. Tablets are great for working on the go. Tablets such as the Apple iPad and Windows Surface 2 come with many applications that you use daily in your office. You can get a keyboard for it, and it is small enough to take anywhere. The nature of public relations is instantaneous. A tablet enables you to work in the exact moment, even if you’re not in the office.
My pick: The Apple iPad Mini—it’s lightweight enough to fit into a handbag, or you can get a case and carry it as your clutch/wallet. Capture photos and video footage in the field and on the fly.
5. A portable charger
With all of this talk about how important technology is, we can’t forget that we have to keep it running. That means we have to keep in charged. Unfortunately, you won’t always be near an electrical outlet. Portable chargers such as the Mighty Purse Charge on the Go and myCharge are small enough to fit in almost any bag and can charge your tech items without being plugged into anything. Some hold a charge up to 24 hours. It’s perfect if you travel a lot for work or you have a long work event to attend.