College is tough, but PR is tougher. Are you up for the challenge? Here are seven tips and tricks that will keep you sharp and successful during your internship in tech PR. By keeping these in your back pocket, you’re destined to quickly move up the ladder in your career.
1. READ and stay up to date with news: Tech PR, actually PR in general, operates on globalized communication, enabling an always-on, 24/7 culture. With that being said, breaking news happens when it happens, regardless of the time zone. Industry expertise and timeliness is key to a ground breaking campaign or media strategy. Schedule time each morning to read a variety of news outlets, always have your PR hat on, and push yourself to analyze and pinpoint trends that are in the news. That way you can keep yourself a step ahead of the curve, and provide proactive opportunities for your teams and your clients.
2. Show your +1: At Hotwire, we live and breathe what we like to call a “plus 1” mentality, which can be exercised and practiced daily. Stay 10 minutes later or get to work a little earlier. Always ask your teams if there is something more you can do. Be the first to raise your hand and volunteer to help out with a project. Pay attention to detail and deliver error-free, client-ready work as often as you can. It’s the little things, the plus 1s, that go a long way and are noticed by your clients, your managers and your coworkers.
3. Bring innovative ideas to an everyday story: In tech, everyone is talking about the same thing, so you have to know how to not only write in AP style and in the inverted pyramid, but to tell your clients’ story in a creative, interesting way. After years in the same position, people tend to get stuck in a routine. You have the opportunity to help break habits and spark some creativity. Bring new ideas to the table, ask smart questions and above all, trust your gut.
4. Connect your story to the right audience: Telling a story is only half the battle, getting that story to the gatekeepers of the publications and networks that are important to your clients’ business goals is really what brings the value of the content in hand. What good is a story if the decision makers in the world, those who actually have a say in integrating with your clients’ technology, or have the power to purchase your clients’ solutions doesn’t have access to read it. This is the essence of what great PR professionals do.
So how do you know who you need to tell? Read everyday – have I stressed that enough? Pay attention to who is covering what, and how often. And don’t forget about social influencers. Tapping into these communities, and having a third-party affiliate who your target audience admires and listens to, will bring your stories to life (and make for really happy clients).
5. Don’t forget to network: There are two types of networking important to practice in the world of tech PR: networking for work, and networking for professional development. By being resourceful, and learning how to engage with folks who will help you deliver results to your clients – you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run. Just secured a media opportunity with a journalist at TechCrunch? Don’t end the conversation there. While you have their attention ask what else they’re working on, and how you or your clients can serve as a resource for upcoming stories they have in the works.
You also want to network professionally, and be sure to keep your lines of communication open all the time. You never know who you’ll need to rely on down the road, or who you’ll run into for future opportunities – like me! PR employers like to know their staff is well connected, and they pay attention to how many connections you have and how you carry yourself in a networking setting.
6. Keep your analytical side sharp: I find it funny when I hear young PR professionals say they’re in communications because they hated or weren’t any good at math in school. Sorry to say it folks, but numbers aren’t going anywhere, and measurement of your campaigns, media or strategy efforts is about as important as the campaign or strategy itself. You have to understand how to prove the worth of your PR work. Stay organized; create spreadsheets or trackers to keep up with media hits, briefings secured, impressions garnered – whatever makes the most sense to you, and commit yourself to a weekly, monthly or quarterly report to hold you and your teams accountable.
7. Be Resourceful: At the end of the day, we do what we do, and we do it well, with the following tools:
- Google Alerts – Monitor the web for interesting content to identify industry trends and stay ahead of client news.
- Toggl – Master time management and easily track employee work hours or billable client hours.
- Buffer – Manage all your social platforms and effortlessly que posts and track engagement.
- hunter.io – Find email addresses in seconds and connect with people that matter for your business.
- bit.ly – Create a trackable shortened URL for deeper web analytics and social shares of your content.