PR Strategies For Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and others are constantly reshaping various industries. But these paradigm-shifting innovations often face skepticism, misunderstanding, and controversy. Why? Their very nature is transformative, and that can be unsettling. Here’s where a thoughtful yet robust public relations (PR) strategy can help address predictable reaction.

Disruptive tech and the role of PR

In a shifting tech landscape, innovation gives way to new and complex products that can be difficult for the average person to grasp. The challenge that any new technology faces is explaining the full implications of its tech once unleashed.

Disruptive tech needs a clear and credible voice to explain its benefits and ensure acceptance of its possibilities. A well-designed PR strategy should be that voice. A primary role is translating tech-speak into a language that resonates with diverse audiences, from industry experts to lawmakers and end users.

Yet, the challenges extend beyond mere comprehension. As disruptive technologies aim to overturn the status quo, they often challenge entrenched systems. This sparks resistance to adoption and may even stir up controversy. A strategic PR approach can help navigate these choppy waters, shifting the focus from problems to solutions and value. It can create transparency, clarify uncertainties, and transform potential crises into platforms for constructive dialogue.

Also, early stages of a technology are rarely smooth sailing; bugs, glitches, and unexpected issues are inevitable. In the face of these complications, the PR plan should prepare for setbacks. It needs to set the larger narrative, emphasizing solutions and progress rather than dwelling on hurdles.

PR and emerging tech: blockchain, metaverse, AI

Several disruptive technologies have benefited from strategic PR over the past decade.

Take blockchain, for example. Initially, it was tied to the volatility of cryptocurrencies, with its broader potential often overshadowed. The challenge was to unravel the complexity of the technology and disassociate it from crypto. PR played a pivotal role by enlightening audiences about the wider applications of blockchain – from supply chain management to healthcare – thus fostering increased acceptance and adoption.

Similarly, artificial intelligence (AI) has seen its share of controversy. Concerns about job losses, privacy breaches, and ethical use are widespread. However, the public dialogue has moved to the benefits of AI –  improved efficiency, predictive capabilities, and beyond. The PR and comes teams representing Open AI, Google, and other companies have been careful to engage with the challenges and potential solutions.

Consider the recent innovations around generative AI. These AI systems – capable of creating new, meaningful content – have started to play a significant role in fields like journalism, professional services, banking, marketing and content creation. Ultimately, the challenge for PR and communications is to highlight the ways these AI systems can enhance human creativity, rather than replace it, while alleviating fears of an apocalyptic robot uprising.

Where PR falls short

Even the best PR program is limited, however. The idea of the Metaverse, a virtual reality space where users interact in a computer-generated environment, gained attention very quickly only a year ago but is now largely declared “dead.” The technology’s numerous challenges, such as defining and enforcing ethical guidelines in an entirely new dimension, mass adoption, and differentiation, loom as a counterpoint to PR’s power to inform. Despite efforts to help guide the conversation, the reality of the Metaverse hasn’t yet matched the tech world’s vision for it.

Finally, let’s not overlook Extended Reality (XR), an umbrella term for all immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). With the potential to revolutionize industries from gaming to healthcare, XR technology carries huge promise. For PR, the task is to highlight these opportunities while navigating the hurdles related to privacy, access, and hardware requirements.

Navigating PR for disruptive B2B technologies

The B2B tech PR perspective presents its own set of challenges as it pertains to disruptive technologies. PR teams must not only engage the general public but also connect with industry subject matter experts (SMEs), potential partners, and business stakeholders. These audiences demand a higher degree of understanding and sophistication in communications.

A pressing challenge in B2B tech PR is communicating technical complexity in simple terms. This takes a commitment to ongoing learning, staying current, and articulating the impact of new developments in a business context relevant to users.

Skepticism and resistance are inevitable, as disruptive technologies often threaten established systems. PR strategies must strike a delicate balance—highlighting the benefits of the tech while addressing concerns and potential downsides in an open, transparent manner.

PR strategies for disruptive tech

To successfully communicate the value of emerging technologies, PR teams can adapt several strategies and tactics.

Nuanced storytelling: Crafting a compelling narrative around the technology can engage audiences, humanize the innovation, and underscore its transformative potential.

Opinion leadership: Positioning a company or its leaders as authorities or opinion-leaders in the field of emerging or disruptive tech allows for transparency and knowledge-sharing. By sharing insights, forecasts, and expert commentary, companies can build credibility and spark conversation around the technology.

Media relations: Regular interaction with relevant media outlets and influencers allows PR people to extend messaging reach, ensure participation in pertinent discussions, and provide a platform for addressing any controversies or misunderstandings.

Proactivity and agility: Given the swift pace of developments in the tech sector, PR teams need to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating potential issues and being ready to adjust their strategies promptly.

How to keep up

In a world where tech advancements often outpace public understanding, a sound PR strategy is crucial. PR helps navigate the challenges linked to new technologies, from ensuring comprehension and managing controversy, to addressing technical and product-based pitfalls. It can shape the narrative around disruptive technologies, empowering them to unlock their transformative potential.

The task of navigating the technology is intricate, however. It takes careful planning, continuous learning, and an open and curious mind. As we continue to see new disruptive technologies, PR will remain a central player, directing the conversation and guiding innovations toward successful integration into our daily lives and businesses.

6 B2B Tech Trends From CES 2020

CES 2020 is officially a wrap. Much of the news was about new gadgets and Big Tech announcements, but there was plenty of PR from B2B tech brands, too. What did the show tell us about the rest of the year? What dominated the conversation? Here are six trends that stood out.

CCPA has an impact

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was a hot topic in Las Vegas. California’s version of GDPR has officially taken effect, though the state’s regulators have acknowledged they won’t truly enforce the rules until later this year. (If they really knew how to enforce the rules, they’d be doing it.) In a nutshell, CCPA formalizes data rights for California residents, allowing them to view and access data collected about them, request its deletion or to opt out.

As a result, whether you’re a brand, ad tech business, AI platform, or retailer, if you do business in California, you’re touched by the law. For that reason, CCPA was front-and-center at CES. One of the most well-attended panels, for example, was MediaLink’s “Future of Data-Driven Marketing,” featuring execs from companies like FOX and Havas. They discussed the ethics of data sourcing and activation to a packed room in Aria.

Security concerns grow

CES is a great venue for showcasing new and innovative products. But, in the IoT era, where every device — from a toothbrush to a toilet — is Internet-connected, journalists are more skeptical about the value of these products. IoT gimmick devices just aren’t cute anymore. Are they really worth the data privacy trade-off? That was a common question at CES. On top of that, the specter of state-sponsored security threats (like a cyberattack by lran or security flaws in ToTok) loomed large at the show. The good news is — if you’re in cybersecurity and want to boost your thought leadership chops, CES offered a great newsjacking opportunity.

Deals and consolidation in ad tech

This one’s for the ad tech folks, mostly. Whether it’s Rubicon buying Telaria or Unruly being sold to Tremor International, it’s clear that 2020 will be the year of the acquisition. Why? For starters, it’s the need for transparency and simplification in the category. Transparency has become more important because the more vendors a brand must work with, the murkier their investment and supply chain become. In terms of simplicity, why work with and pay for 10 tech partners when you can get the same value with five? CES 2020 was a place to discuss why consolidation is occurring, though the answers seemed obvious. What’s really cool about the show is that, behind closed doors, several big deals were likely just beginning. The CTV space is partcularly ripe for deals in 2020.

TV and streaming rule

Speaking of CTV, TV was probably the hottest topic at CES. Discussions centered on who will win the streaming wars and which entrants will have staying power. What streaming business model will consumers ultimately prefer — subscription or free and ad-supported? Will people actually pay for more than three to five content platforms? A Roku panel I attended on the state of the OTT industry featuring execs from Roku, Starz and CBS explored all of these themes. On the ads side, one of the key questions was whether ad-sustained streaming services can become more of a value-add for end users, with more interactive ads and greater personalization. And, of course, is Quibi real or not? At the show, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman tried to plead their case, though the category remains skeptical.

Diversity makes headlines

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) have a material impact on businesses. According to study after study, diversity and inclusion affect the bottom line. Yet, the technology sector — particularly the B2B tech sector — continues to do the bare minimum for bringing on underrepresented talent. And it’s not a pipeline problem, as some would have you believe. The talent is there. Instead, the underlying problem is that tech companies have been slow to recognize D&I as a cultural, operational and financial benefit. At CES, where tech teams were on display and speaker diversity was a focal point, D&I was apparent, even if a demographic breakdown of the speakers has yet to be released.

CES boosts brick-and-mortar retail

It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling. Just last week, Pier 1 announced massive store closures, and layoffs are pending as more home decor buying goes digital. Traditional retailers were on hand, presumably having sobering discussions about what new consumer technologies are a value-add for their businesses. Whether it’s AR and VR for digital showrooming or robots that support curbside pickup, CES is an obvious environment to consider a post-Amazon future. Among the more interesting technologies were the drones, and not just as gimmicks this year. Japanese company Blue Innovation, for example, demoed an autonomous drone that can intelligently navigate a warehouse without human guidance, mapping the place and its inventory using AI. That type of tech can reduce retailer costs and streamline onerous supply chain issues.
Okay, these are just a few of the trends that I saw at CES 2020. What am I missing? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @chrisharihar.

Worst PR Technology Nightmares

As we’ve pointed out, PR pros use many tech tools to do their jobs on a daily basis. Most are used for internal and external communications, and they work well. Yet an accidental keystroke or a slip of the mouse can produce mortifying results. If anything, technology tools allow mistakes to travel faster and further then ever before. Here are some of the worst technology “horror stories” experienced by our team or by colleagues who wish to remain anonymous.

Video killed the audio star

Videoconferencing is indispensable for most businesses, but it’s not to be undertaken carelessly. A team member’s spouse was under the impression that his Zoom meeting with European colleagues was solely an audio connection. Because he feared running late for another appointment, he began to change his clothes as the conversation dragged on. Thankfully, he was warned by a startled meeting participant before he finished disrobing. Imagine being caught on video au naturelle as the boss talks about the quarterly P&L. As his spouse has warned us ever since, pay close attention to the screen icons and make good use of the mute button.

Use caution with calendar apps

Our calendars get cluttered when staff use their personal appointments to let coworkers know when they’ll be out of the office. But the funniest calendar slip-up happened to a friend of ours. She was annoyed with her high-powered spouse’s heavy work and travel schedule. They rarely saw one another and after two weeks, she was determined to send a message. She scheduled ‘have sex’ on his iCal to ensure he knew he was missed at home. But she sent it to his work calendar by mistake. At his company, all the admins share schedules for the department heads they work for, so all the assistants in his unit received the invitation. Embarrassing, maybe, but kind of sweet.

When Google Docs rats you out

What could wrong with something as ordinary as Google Docs? It’s a shared application, so the answer is, plenty. They’re great for collaboration, but when documents are inactive for a while, it’s easy to forget who else is in the mix. When editing a document originating with the client, or where they share access, it’s obviously best to keep snarky comments private. When a client or colleague rejoins the editing process, he may not be receptive to such, um, “candid feedback.” (See my colleague Matt and I having fun in this worst-case dramatization.)

Epic dial-in fail

In PR, voice calls are routinely used for client meetings and media interviews. Everybody experiences a wonky dial-in now and then, but some rise above the rest. Someone on our team had set up a highly-anticipated call between a client and a key journalist. The phone interview went swimmingly until an uninvited guest joined the call, signaled by the familiar “ding.” When another “ding” interrupted the interview, followed by several more, things became awkward. Each time, our colleague had to pause the interview to tell the mystery guests that they were on the wrong call. The dings seemed endless, leaving the client incredulous and the PR host horrified, though the reporter thought it was hilarious. Turns out another colleague had booked a call on the same line by mistake — with five celebrity chefs, another client, and two PR people. The takeaways: never double book a conference line. Also, celebrity chefs are divas.

Reply all 

Email is the PR pro’s best friend, but for many people, the group emails are out of control. A few of us have had the age-old experience of hitting “Reply All” to an email when we meant to respond to only one person. Our founder Dorothy confesses that she has twice sent a note meant only for the agency account team to a client by mistake in response to a client email. Fortunately, one was a neutral message and the other was urging the team on to better results, so there were no repercussions. But it’s worth remembering that the best rule for digital comms is to never put anything in an email or text that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Save the sensitive topics or personal critiques for face-to-face or phone meetings. Yet, if you’re wondering how to “un-send” an email see this C|Net article.

6 Common PR Mistakes Made By Startups

We love working with tech startups, especially those with a few years (and a round or two of financing) behind them, and who are prepared to make the most of a public relations agency partnership. It’s exciting to collaborate with an early-stage company because a good PR campaign can really make a difference. As I’ve outlined before, the work keeps you on your toes, and you’re typically working with the deciders.

But many startups are at a unique and tricky stage. The stakes feel higher than at a more established enterprise. And not all companies know how to work with a PR agency or invest in a media relations campaign to promote the brand or launch products. When they fail, it can be costly, both in dollars and momentum lost. Here are some of the most common startup PR mistakes.

Unrealistic expectations

There are two main ways to fall prey to blue-sky expectations. The first is thinking a PR agency can work miracles. It will instantly generate glowing stories about a company in influential press, even absent a good story. Of course it doesn’t usually work that way, because quality coverage takes a little time. More commonly, a startup founder may be counting on that one big story to propel the business forward, or even to save one that’s struggling. Rarely does a single positive story act as a magic bullet, however. PR works best in building brand visibility and credibility over time.

You’re not differentiated

Here’s an exercise for a startup: take the brand name and corporate information out of your press release or media pitch. Is it still recognizable as your own? If not, more differentiation is needed. In some tech sectors there’s a pack mentality, with many companies promoting their offering with similar phrases, or empty jargon that might impress engineers, but is unlikely to sway journalists. They don’t respond to me-too pitches.

You’re not telling a compelling story

If press is what you’re after, put yourself in the reporter’s shoes. He wants one thing: a good story. He doesn’t want a sales pitch or a networking meeting. It’s the job of the startup – and their PR team – to identify and craft that story and serve it up to the right people. It isn’t always easy or quick, which is why many PR agencies spend the first month or more hammering out the messaging, story, and strategy.

You’re spamming media

Sending pitches or press releases to a huge list of media in hopes that something will stick is inexpensive, but it won’t work. The good news is that PR now has its own tech stack, and there are tools that will save time in targeting relevant press. But the work of media relations remains highly personalized and relatively inefficient in technology terms. Most good PR teams will develop a 6-month media relations strategy and plan, matching potential stories to relevant media in a precise and personalized way.

You’re not putting in the time

This one happens in two ways. The first overlaps with the expectations factor in that some startups are so impatient that they cut off the PR investment if it hasn’t generated business-changing results in three months. This is usually a mistake. There are reasons to fire an agency or switch gears on strategy, but impatience can cost your startup time and money in the long run. Then there’s the investment of time on the company’s part. Occasionally clients think that once they hire an agency, they can sit back and watch the results roll in. That’s not how it works, either. At minimum, most teams will need input and participation from a PR-savvy officer as well as the startup founder, particularly if executive visibility is a strategy.

You don’t have a distinct POV

For me, this is particularly crucial for the founder of an early-stage business, and it’s not the same as the business story or messaging. Even if his/her product or service isn’t groundbreaking, a strong point of view on topics of interest to the category can make all the difference. This one goes back to differentiation. When it comes to generating media coverage and all-important speaking opportunities for a startup founder, a compelling set of opinions, forecasts, or observations are often what make a brand memorable and relevant for nearly any audience – employees, prospects, VCs, and press.

How to Pitch Media Exclusives In Tech PR

Tech PR and media relations are sometimes a bit like dating. You must be thoughtful about when and with whom you become “exclusive.” If a PR pro fails to consider offering a story to media as an exclusive, he may forfeit a great opportunity. Overuse it, and he risks getting a bad rep with journalists.
What exactly is an exclusive? The word is a little misleading, because it sounds like you’re giving the story to only one reporter. But an exclusive typically means offering a key tidbit, news item, or interview to a single journalist with the understanding that he or she will be first. The story can then be released to other media after the exclusive runs.

So, why offer an exclusive? It gives the PR practitioner greater control over the story’s release, for one. If we prenegotiate the story on an exclusive basis, we often know exactly when it’s scheduled to run and can plan a full release accordingly. It may also result in a more substantial story than a simultaneous release to dozens of media. Finally, it can be good for building media relationships, particularly if the PR person chooses wisely and spreads the wealth over time.

How should PR pros use exclusives? Journalists cut their teeth using the famous double trinity: What, When, Where, Why, Where, and How. Let’s use this model to get the scoop on pitching media exclusives for B2B technology programs.

What is the story?

PR pros don’t pitch exclusives for the biggest stories – those will typically drive enough coverage without making the first-crack commitment to one journalist. Nor do they use them for the smallest stories, because that will damage their credibility with the press. What’s important is that the story has some juice, meaning the potential to rack up social shares and even traffic to the media outlet’s website. Startups and young technology agencies tend to flood the tech media with overly commercial product launches or low-value meetings with founders rather than solid story angles or truly newsworthy announcements. That’s not a good idea.

What works: an angel investor putting seven figures into a startup; a behemoth acquiring a smaller company for eight figures; or a young company makes record revenue of nine figures. The $ pitches are no-brainers.

“Big-name” pitches may also warrant an exclusive. If a known executive joins a company as an investor or an executive, the tech press will want to know. Even a negative story about a company’s loss of a CEO or a precipitous tumble in profits can work well as an exclusive, and it can pay off with future consideration for better stories.

Why pitch an exclusive to tech media?

The media like to break stories, so offering them such a scoop represents a valuable commodity for almost any publication. Ask yourself these questions when pondering the offer of an exclusive.

  • Does it improve the chances of getting a journalist interested?
  • Does it bolster relationships with certain media?
  • Does it result in a better (more substantial) story?

Whom do you pitch the story to?

The PR team’s carefully constructed media strategy will inform the choice of what outlet to offer an exclusive. Don’t forget: A well calculated exclusive in a respected tech trade publication can often attract the attention of other larger tech media. This spells exponential earned media.
While you cannot control the actual end result, you should offer it to a journalist who you know will produce a quality piece of reporting, as well as give it the appropriate placement in the publication. A PR person must never micromanage the reporter by pestering him/her about the content; or ask to see the story before publishing.
Since media relationships are the name of the PR game, it goes without saying that you must be absolutely sure you can deliver when promising an exclusive. That means everyone involved on the client side must know about the arrangement and agree not to let the story slip before the exclusive runs. It also means that any promised executive interview must go off without a hitch.

When do you offer a media exclusive?

It varies. Sometimes a journalist will run with a story within a couple of days, but it’s safest to allow a week’s worth of runway, and the PR person often must allow for a phone interview to be arranged, so the lead time can stretch into a week or  more. Most importantly, when planning to shop a story, it’s best to allow for one or two “nos,” which can eat up several days. Plan accordingly.

How do you execute the media exclusive?

On the PR agency side, it’s important to set the client’s expectations. The media strategy should be clear to all involved. Although there is often a greater measure of control when offering an exclusive story, just as in ordinary media relations, there is no guarantee of glowing coverage or perfect story placement.
The rest of the process depends on the nature of the story, the PR pro’s media relationships, and a gut instinct about where the story belongs.

Where do you go from here?

If you succeed in selling an exclusive to a top tier trade publication, it will publish the story first. Afterwards, you are free to blanket the media with the news, or possibly adapt aspects of the story to other media outlets. How long do you wait? You don’t. Digital media moves quickly, so don’t hesitate to get the story out. The exclusive that has just posted may discourage some media from picking up the news, but that’s not always the case. You can and should pitch additional relevant press right away. Once the story has gone wide, the PR pro will promote it with all the other communications tools in today’s arsenal, especially the social media channels. Post, share, and link!

Keeping The Technology In Tech (Or Any Other) PR

Taking the Tech Out of Tech PR” has some useful advice for PR agency professionals, mostly about keeping communications personal and not abusing email outreach. It can’t be said often enough. We monitor an inbox for a major technology news site, and the quantity of PR pitches that come in through it is truly staggering. So is the variation in quality. But that’s another post.
It’s true that automation can only go so far in a professional services business like PR, and that mass email is overused in media relations. But overall, I’d say many technology PR practitioners should make a greater effort to explore and embrace technology when it comes to emerging tools and methods for getting the job done.

As Tom Foremski points out, Bill Gates recently predicted that most jobs will be automated in 20 years’ time. Is our work so distinct that it’s immune? Are we assuming that a degree of automation is a bad thing?

Given the huge – and sometimes alarming – strides toward automation that have been made in digital advertising and media, PR, by contrast, has not embraced technology tools beyond mass emails and news sites. Can we automate without sacrificing quality and insight?

One way is in outcomes measurement, of course. As an industry, we’re moving, albeit slowly, towards a standardized marketing mix model that can actually quantify the impact of any individual marketing activity on sales volume. But can our day-to-day work be optimized by technology tools? The answer is yes, and below are three simple ways to get started.

Market intelligence. This is intuitive for PR professionals, and most of us are already familiar with basic (and free) tools like Google Trends, IFTTT, and others. There are countless apps and other resources that allow us to more easily harness the power of the web, but the most useful boil down to a handful.

Content marketing. Another organic move for PR, since content creation is familiar, and content marketing is a natural way to extend services beyond earned media relations. We create great stuff for use by media outlets or social sharing; why not use technology to amplify its reach? Content marketing is essentially the art of making it easier for those interested in your subject matter to search and find your content on the web. Hubspot calls it “inbound marketing” and offers tools designed for small businesses, but anyone with basic web skills can undertake it.

Marketing automation.  It’s tough for brand marketing PR to drive lead generation, particularly in the consumer sector. But when earned media is tied to marketing automation – a more highly personalized and behavior-driven form of email and web marketing – then the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A click on an article (or native ad) can segment the user and trigger options for relevant content that can gradually move  him right down that marketing funnel.

A review of more sophisticated tech resources makes one thing pretty obvious; the tools help us adapt to a changing media environment and specifically extend beyond earned media generation, but they don’t necessarily automate what we do on a daily basis. The creative skills, critical judgment, and relationships that a top PR professional brings to the table aren’t likely to be replaced by technology any time soon. As for the rest, we’re learning fast.

The "Science" of Spotting A Winning Startup

My first PR agency was founded in 1996. If that year doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re either young, or you’re not very interested in technology startups. 1996 was a fantastic year to start up just about anything, including a New York PR agency. The “dot-com” boom was roaring, there was far too much VC cash chasing after the next big thing, and simply putting your brand online was considered startlingly innovative.

Of course, when the meltdown came, it was ugly. But even before the great collapse of 2000, and during better economies since that time, PR agencies have been challenged with an embarrassment of options – multiple prospective clients, sometimes within the same flavor-of-the-month category. Depending on where you are in the economic cycle, the most important – and the toughest – decision we make can be which horse to back in the great race to a successful outcome.  And creative services professionals don’t always have the keenest judgment when it comes to evaluating clients.

That’s why it was fun to read  Jenna Wortham’s piece on the “freshman class” of technology startup companies and, even more interesting to PRs, a sidebar about how the New York Times decides which startups are most worthy of their time. As the piece was furiously tweeted around this week, it seemed to promise the breathless type of “ten tips”-style insights for PRs and others on how to position our clients to best advantage. Here’s how they do it! Wortham shares NYT secrets!

But the real point of the sidebar was more prosaic. Wortham and her colleagues do their research, of course, They look at the VCs attached to a given company, study data, and talk to entrepreneurs. But the bottom line is that determining the most worthy startups is often “a feeling based on experience. The app, game, service or idea that you have had your eye on starts to pop up all over — in casual conversations at parties or in a conversation overheard on the subway.”

Buzz. “It” factor. The breakthrough, leap forward, or tipping point. Bottom line, even professional journalists at one of the world’s most prestigious news outlets use a blend of experience and gut feeling. Similar to the ways that PR agencies evaluate prospective clients during fat times (and what we should do more of during lean ones.)

So, there’s no magic formula for deciding which startups are most mediaworthy, and perhaps even less so for those trying to gauge which might make the most exciting, lucrative, and successful client case study. By the time a given company get the attention of the Times or other outlets, chances are good that it’s been researched and vetted by others more expert in a given technology or vertical market.

But having some kind of stake in the game makes it fun, interesting and important. On the agency side, we keep trying, and some of us get better at it over time.

Tech Tools That Make PR Work, Work Better

Work demands are always changing, but thanks to technology, we can be better prepared, more organized and more confident of doing our job efficiently. Here are some great tech tools for PR pros and others to consider to make work…well…work better.

Task management can be daunting. 30/30 simplifies it and even makes it fun. This nifty little app allows users to input tasks and how much time they wish to spend on each. Spend the allotted minutes or hours on the task, and the app lets you know when it’s time to move on. It’s completely controlled by gestures, pleasing to the eye, and terrific at helping you “get stuff done.”

You never know when creativity may strike. But when it does, iBrainstorm helps you and your entire team manage the process. Just open the app, create a note and stick it to your own or your entire team’s “creative corkboard,” and the brainstorming process just got a little more fun.

No one can remember everything, which is why Evernote is such a pivotal piece of any individual’s tech arsenal. Evernote allows users to store everything from their notes to recent earnings reports in one easy-to-use platform. You can also note artistic concepts and other visuals within the app with its intuitive Skitch tool.

Expense reports can be maddening, but one tool that helps is Expensify. Expensify enables users to import basically any billable item from gas to credit card statements right into the app and organizes them neatly for easy access.

Genius Scan
Ever need a PDF at the busiest, most insane time? Genius Scan solves this dilemma by making PDFs available right from your device’s camera: just pick a document, scan it, and kiss your PDF worries goodbye. Furthermore, easy integration with Evernote and Dropbox make this little app one of the most valuable office tools you can fit into your pocket.

Blog Roll: Blogs I Read And Why

There’s no better way to wind down after a long week than to catch up on some reading – blog reading. Sure, I love a great magazine or newspaper, but blogs provide just enough content to keep me interested and they also help me with my job in Public Relations. Blogs have become a go-to source of information from different points of view unhindered by editorial boards or media policies, that’s why their perspective is often so fresh and different. Here are some of my favorite blogs to read and why:

NYC PR Girls
I largely attribute my choice to pursue a career in PR to this blog (in New York, nonetheless; nowhere else is PR so fast-paced). Aimed at young professionals, it offers tips on PR fundamentals, style, professional development and even guides to NYC. I find that I always pick up something new from this blog, it’s definitely a must-read for PR girls (and guys)!

Smart, Pretty and (less) Awkward
The concept is simple: Author Molly Ford includes a tip on how to be smarter, prettier and less awkward in every post, accompanied by a meaningful quote. Some tips include fun factoids, beauty quick-fixes, how to handle unusual social situations and organization pointers. Every so often Molly will even include coupon codes; always exciting. The blog posts are short, sweet and leave my day a little brighter; a definite pick-me-up!

Leah Diedrich’s mother taught her to always write thank you notes, so she does – to everything. From foods to cities, the good and the bad, Leah writes a handwritten thank you note to all of it. Some of it gets outlandish, but always heartwarming and sincere. Leah’s perspective reminds me to never take anything for granted and to think of everything as a learning experience. I also try and write handwritten thank you notes in my career whenever possible.

PR Newser
When it comes to industry news, PR Newser should be a bookmark on your browser. PR Newser blends pop culture, current events, jobs and relevant research findings into one entertaining blog. It’s a great way to catch up what’s going on that week without flipping through as many sources. Also, posting content about a wide range of PR, advertising and marketing firms gives readers the opportunities to peep into other careers—great for professional goal setting!

Are there any other blogs that get you through the day? Tell us about some of your favorites!

Tuesday Tips: 8 Smart Tech Tips For Fall

As a PR agency person, it seems like you’re always plugged in: every device must be wifi-enabled, emails come at all hours of the day and smartphones are almost a necessity! Technology can make our lives easy and convenient, but you need to be smart! Here are 8 smart tech tips for the fall:

Make relevant updates. Smart phone operating systems update every few months, and updating can do wonders for your phone’s productivity. Check to see if your phone is due for a system update; Android recently updated to Ice Cream Sandwich and Apple’s iOS 6 is making its debut in a few short weeks.

Change your passwords. Yes, really. Changing the passwords for all your accounts can be daunting, but it’s imperative to change them periodically for your safety. Keep passwords in a safe, secret place to make the process less overwhelming.

Out with the old. Back in college I would rid my computer of old files after every semester. This is a habit I still keep, even after graduation. Eliminate unused documents to help your computer run faster and more efficiently. This can apply to smart phone and tablet apps, as well.

Clean up your social media accounts. Now’s a good time to untag yourself from those less-flattering Facebook photos, remove inappropriate posts and update your LinkedIn profile. This is especially important if you’re looking for a job or internship.

Back up your data. We never remember to back up our information until it’s already gone. Pick up an external hard drive to have in case of a tech emergency!

Be wary of location-based apps. The information you enter on location-based services can reveal a lot of private information. Be sure to change your privacy settings if you have the option.

Get a backup battery. App usage can drain battery power on mobile devices, especially our phones. If you find yourself relying on apps, make sure you have a backup battery in case the other one runs out of juice.

Start a (good) digital footprint. In PR, having a small but positive digital footprint is a great way to build credibility. Be active on social media, start a blog, etc., the options are endless!
These tips are a great starting point for anyone using technology but for tech enthusiasts, what other tips can you think of? Leave pointers in the comments!