The PR professional as a technologist is a topic I’m passionate about.
I love technology and what it can do to expand knowledge, relationships, and productivity. I have no patience for the haughty, “I have more important things to do with my life than to be on Facebook.” I mean, come on.
But I also love it because it enables me to do what I do from my home in Sandpoint, Idaho
, working from my office.
As PR/marketing professionals, it is our responsibility to stay ahead of technology. For that matter, it is the responsibility of any professional regardless of industry.
dedicates a chapter of her book “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional
” to this topic. The PR pro as a technology tester is one of the eight new practices we need to perform to transform our position at the decision-making table and to remain relevant in today’s marketplace.
Being a technologist is key, and it means more than just being able to use Facebook and understanding the word “retweet.” It means you understand how to use a content management system. You know the principles of search engine optimization. You know what inbound links mean to your site traffic. You know how to do keyword research. And you know how to look at analytics and understand what they mean.
There are six categories in which technology understanding should exist.
1. Social media monitoring and measurement tools;
2. Analytics and measurement;
3. Social media influence tools;
4. Collaborative social media platforms;
5. Content management systems; and
6. Social media news release platforms and distribution.
We can’t know it all, and some of you have large teams with experts in these areas. But it’s important to have a level of curiosity and a need to self-inform.
In her book, Breakenridge lists four ways to stay ahead of technology and I’ve added a fifth. Here are five ways to stay ahead of technology:
Use it for yourself, personally.
Filter the Shiny Object Syndrome for your clients or your employers by testing out the technology for yourself. Use your critical-thinking skills to determine how this could be applied from a business perspective. Be able to answer the question when your boss or client asks about it.
Follow blogs and influencers.
Subscribe to and read blogs, such as TechCrunch
. Follow influencers and other respected names in the social media space (Deirdre’s blog
is one of them).
Test new technology.
first came out, we set up our pages and started playing with it before we told our clients to hop on it. We use GoToMeeting
for webinars and client meetings, Skype
for conference calls, and Yammer
for internal collaboration. We test the tools so we can give educated recommendations to our clients.
Don’t take short cuts.
We talk about this all the time, and couldn’t agree more with Deirdre. There is no quick and easy way with any of the tools and technology. It’s designed to make our lives easier and more productive, but never to replace the fundamentals of hard work and real relationship building.
Understand the language.
, and latent semantic indexing. We need to know enough to be dangerous so we can have the conversation with our IT team. It is impossible to execute marketing campaigns today without a basic understanding of the capabilities of technology.
Remember the days when IT used to hate marketing and marketing thought IT was full of guys that said, “That can’t be done”? Those days should be over now. We need to know more.
Lisa Gerber is the chief content officer at Spin Sucks and Spin Sucks Pro. She can be found tweeting at @lisagerber or @spinsucks. A version of this story first appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.