PR specialists must eat, sleep and breathe news. We need to stay connected to a variety of news outlets to stay current and knowledgeable, both for our own benefit as well as that of our clients. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, news consumption in the US was up by 215%, showing that we rely more on the news than ever before.
One of the best and easiest ways to position executives as thought leaders is by taking advantage of relevant news stories as soon as they break. “Newsjacking” is one way that PR people secure reactive coverage by jumping on a story that’s already in the news. The worst feeling in the world for a PR agency staffer is failing to notice a big breaking story and thus missing an opportunity to newsjack. So what are some ways we can stay on top of the 24/7 news game?
Sometimes unnecessary notifications on our phones can be distracting, but for PR teams, notifications from news apps are essential. Because notifications can be customized to topics you want to stay on top of, they’re extremely useful. Popular apps like Flipboard, feedly, and even Apple News can be tailored to your interests so that you can stay up-to-date on both specific publications as well as topics.
Newsletters are another essential tool for any PR person’s inbox. Email newsletters are a fast way to scan the daily headlines from a given publication in the hope that a long-awaited exclusive has finally gone live, or simply to shape the day’s media outreach. Some of my favorite newsletters and the ones I read on a daily basis are The Daily Skimm, Digiday 5 Things to Know, and The Morning Brew. The benefit is that they offer brief summaries on the most important headlines of the day, so we can gauge our interest in more in-depth searches. Check out this list of newsletters every PR pro should receive.
Podcasts have soared in popularity in the past few years. Fifty-five percent (155 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast. Podcasts are not only a great way to go in-depth on a topic, but they’re also an easy way to consume news on the go. Popular news podcasts like The Daily by The New York Times, Up First by NPR and WSJ What’s News by The Wall Street Journal are great vehicles for catching up on the news in less than 15 minutes. They’re often hosted by influential reporters and are ideal when you don’t have time to sit down and read the news first thing in the morning.
I’d be lost without my Amazon Echo. I even became that lazy person who hooked up their lights to a smart plug so I can turn my lights off by voice. But in addition to rewarding laziness, we can train our voice assistants to keep us up to date on the news. I’ve set up a skill on my Echo to give me a flash briefing if I say “Alexa, Give me the news,” and anyone can set up their favorite outlets to hear major headlines from outlets like Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and more. This is a great feature for PR people who might want to hear the news first thing when they wake up as they get ready for the day ahead.
What are some ways you consume the news that others may not know about? Let us know on Twitter @colleeno_pr!