7 tips for dealing with the fast pace of modern communications

Posted By

The world and the ways in which we communicate have changed drastically over the last 20 years. Press releases have become digital, public figures have found new ways to connect with their audience and anyone can create influential content that can go viral.

The rise of social and integrated media and the 24/7 nature of modern communications have changed everything for PR professionals.

Deadlines are tighter, PR crises have to be dealt with differently and newsjacking needs to be done in real time.

Here are our top tips on how to keep up to date with the constant and infinite stream of news that’s out there.

Set up automatic alerts

Scanning national, local and trade press first thing in the morning isn’t enough anymore. The news evolves 24/7 on multiple platforms. These days, it’s not as easy to keep on top of the news manually, which is particularly troublesome when it comes to crisis management. Fortunately, technology provides an answer to this problem – automatic alerts.

Set up Google Alerts to filter out thousands of irrelevant news items and get the ones you need. These will come through to your inbox as often as you like, even in real time.

Some key search terms you might want to set alerts for include:

  • Your brand
  • The names of your key members of staff
  • Your key products
  • Your competitors’ brand names
  • The names of your competitors’ key members of staff
  • Trending topics in your industry
  • The names of your brand ambassadors

You can also set up Twitter alerts using the notifications feature directly on the network or through platforms such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.

Become a social media expert

Social media has changed how people consume the news. Whether you can afford an expensive social media listening platform or not, you should live and breathe social media nowadays.

Twitter is probably the most crucial platform for PR professionals. It’s where the latest news happens, where journalists ask for stories or quotes and where bloggers chat and offer their services. According to a report published on Medium, journalists are the largest and most active verified group on Twitter.

Follow journalists, bloggers, influencers and editors. Their tweets will appear in your feed, so it will be easy to strike up a conversation with them. To easily sort influencers by industry or topic, build Twitter lists.

By following relevant hashtags you will be able to find new opportunities and influencers. For example, if you want to refresh your blogger targets, do a quick search on Twitter and you will find plenty of new bloggers to build a relationship with.

Some popular hashtags PRs use and you should follow are:

  • #JournoRequest
  • #PRrequest
  • #BloggersWanted
  • #FBloggers (fashion bloggers)
  • #LBloggers (lifestyle bloggers)
  • #FDBloggers (food bloggers)

You’ll soon discover all the relevant hashtags for your brand and industry.

Bloggers also have dedicated hashtags for chats, which usually take place once a week on a specific day and time. For example, food bloggers chat every Thursday between 8 and 9pm. These chats are the perfect opportunity for you to either observe what bloggers talk about and are interested in, or even build relationships with them. Something bloggers always value is PRs and marketers asking for their input on future campaigns.

Following your stakeholders on social media is also key to nurturing your relationship with them and keeping on top of all their own news.

Finally, to stay up to date with PR news and trends, follow other PR practitioners and experts.

The news evolves fast on social media and opportunities have tight deadlines (sometimes a couple of hours). It’s important you find a way to stay on top of the feeds. A good way to achieve this is to set up alerts for all your social media platforms.

Stay on top of trending content

Newsjacking needs to happen in real time, now more than ever before. To land a spot on the media agenda, it’s important you keep up with trending content and stories. Buzzsumo and Twitter are two great platforms to achieve this.

Buzzsumo features a Trending Now tab where you can sort the most shared content by topic and filter by periods of one, three, six, 12 or 24 hours. You can also set up custom feeds.

Twitter is a little less sophisticated. The platform lists trending hashtags in the UK and your city on the left-hand side of the homepage. These are tailored to your interests, but you can change the settings for these at any time.

Subscribe to newsletters

Some industry or niche sector news won’t make the national or regional headlines, so you’ll need to use an alternative method to stay in the loop. Newsletters are excellent for this. Subscribe to the top websites in your industry as well as media database newsletters and receive the latest updates as they get published.

You can read them all in one place by using your favourite RSS reader (such as Google Reader or Feedly), or just read them directly in your inbox.

Find a mentor

Keeping on top of the fast pace of modern communications can be overwhelming sometimes.

If you feel this way every now and then, find a mentor – someone who is senior to you (or more experienced than you) who can help you with any troubles you’re having. Meet up with your mentor once a month to discuss industry news and potential opportunities. You can also think of setting some objectives to achieve before your next meet-up. This will give you the motivation to give 100 per cent every day.

Go to industry events

No matter how quickly the internet moves, there will always be some insight that only gets shared through word of mouth. Don’t become stuck in a digital world – go to real-life events to keep up to date with your industry and learn your competitors’ moves. Networking events are also very good for this.

Hang an awareness days calendar in the office

When trying to keep on top of a wealth of information and news every day, it’s easy to forget about scheduled events and awareness days or months. These can be crucially important for certain brands. Hang a calendar in the office that lists all awareness days and months as well as national and regional events, so you won’t forget to plan ahead for these.

Want more tips? Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates from Peppermint HQ.