There are many public relations industry blogs that offer know-how on everything from crafting brilliant media pitches to perfecting presentation skills. But how to determine which blogs are me-too, and 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 a number of 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.
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. But instead of fearing that a 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.” And the 10-year old platform covers both Good & 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. It quite literally knows no bounds.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 understandable a piece of writing may be. It’s a fun way to take all forms of written communications to the next level.
How important is it to know there are now pumpkin spice manicures? Or the latest in minimalist time-tracking devices? Extremely important; how else does a PR team know what story to newsjack or how to build a trend piece? This site is filled with the latest trends in fashion, tech, life, culture, design, business, eco and even “bizarre,” 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 the most interesting 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 a valuable read. As we navigate the “relations” part of public relations, 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 companies and entrepreneurs in any field on any topic are all here, and they are easily referenced. Don’t let the Harvard pedigree intimidate; the articles are eminently readable and provide meaningful advice like this piece on the five steps to building a lasting business relationship.
To enhance presentation skills
Working and succeeding in PR or marketing requires top-notch 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. And the blog gives it all away to any interested party. 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 our very own Dorothy Crenshaw, on this highly regarded executive blog.
For the inside scoop on everything you ever wanted to know about media but were afraid to ask, there’s the MuckRack blog. The pieces cover the minutia of media relations with articles like “What are the Ground Rules for Recording a Media Interview” and other in-the-weeds 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 like 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, but, more importantly, the blog offers an immersion in analytical thinking on a range of topical issues.
Finally, there’s AdRants. OK, it’s actually more advertising and marketing news and trends, but it’s such a fun read, we highly recommend.