Keeping Up With The
I once had an editorial internship where I learned an invaluable lesson: dropping the Kardashian namesake on the internet: SEO goldmine. Then a couple of years later, Kim K’s dairy air broke the internet. I truly hope it was this namedrop that caused you to click this blog post that alas does not chronicle this iconic American family. In fairness though, this content does relate — hear me out. Working in the world of PR — today’s world of PR — and keeping up with the ever-growing landscape we know as “the media” is a lot like Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Truly keeping up with the Kardashians is a lot of work, there are marriages to follow, divorces, designer sock lines (yes we didn’t forget about you Rob) and endless rumor-mills, tweets and subtweets to comb through . It’s a true undertaking to keep up with this troupe. To succeed in PR, it’s pretty vital you keep up with this vague throng we refer to as the media – the leading publications, the growing publications, the niche and trade publications, the whose whos of these platforms, the soon-to-be whose whos, what they like, what they don’t like, the new gang of “influencers” – and of course, what it is that they want. After a while, all of this adds up. And while I cannot complain when my homework consists of doing what I love most: reading – it can be pretty tough just to “keep up.” So, as a true Kardashian fan would do (anyone know if there is a fun fan term for Kardashian fans?) you employ tools of the trade to keep up. Below are a few of my favorite tools of the trade for staying up to date and in the know.
Find An RSS Aggregator
If you haven’t yet discovered the magic of an RSS aggregator, it’s time. Personally, I use Feedly. It take just a few moments to load up your favorite publications and blogs, important keywords and just like magic, Feedly creates your own customized feed. This saves me tons of time each day and allows me to keep up with the news that is important to me without having to comb through the clutter. I try to squeeze glancing over the headlines that come into my feed into my morning ritual – right after grabbing a cup of coffee and before catching up on my inbox. I acquaint myself with the world’s major happenings, my industry’s major happenings and pin the articles I wish to really dig into later. If you have yet to discover the magic that is a feed aggregator – now is the time. You can thank me later.
Find Your Squad – Both Virtual and Carbon-Breathing
At Blue Ion, one of our major initiatives within the PR and Marketing team is to share relevant articles and what we are seeing happen in the industry with each other. The idea is that we’re all only as smart as each member of the crew. Our squad expands beyond our walls though. In today’s age, it’s just as easy to have colleagues both in your office and online. By following writers and other pr and marketing professionals online through blogs and social media accounts, I’m able to keep up in real time with what other movers and shakers all over are up to. I strive to surround myself with people smarter than myself whenever I can – both online and in the real world- this squad (whether they know they are in it or not) makes me work harder and better everyday.
I belong to a small, dying breed that still loves to thumb through glossies, still actually reads the newsletters that come to my inbox and listens to podcasts. While I cannot possibly subscribe to every magazine I want to (for the sake of time and of affordability) I subscribe to mags that are important to my work and, of course, those I keep up with for fun. Sure, virtually every print publication has a virtual presence but many operate their online space pretty differently than their print publication. It’s important to try to familiarize yourself with both arms of a publication if you want to appreciate its whole picture. Podcasts and industry newsletters are a great way to keep up with the industry’s latest and greatest happenings as well. I make it my “homework” to keep up with as many magazines, newsletters and podcasts as I can.
Stretch Your Mental Limits
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my professional work is that it’s always a good idea to push your boundaries. I try to read at least one thing a day that I believe to be a bit above my understanding. Eventually, once I do this enough some of the things that at first read like latin start to make a bit more sense. One topic for instance I’ve been trying to keep up with is SEO (search engine optimization). Two years ago I hadn’t the foggiest understanding of what SEO meant. Now I like to think I have a relatively good understanding. Hopefully in two more years of reading blogs and listening to podcasts on the subject I’ll be an SEO master. You don’t need to sit down and barrel into SEO per-se but I strongly recommend identifying a topic you believe is over your head and exposing yourself to more literature on the subject on a regular basis. You just may surprise yourself in time.
You may finish this thinking I’ve suggested more homework for you. In some ways I have but if you organize yourself well (with an RSS aggregator and by setting aside reading times within your day) you should be able to tackle your reading list a bit more efficiently. Have any other tools of the trade? Drop them in the comments. We’re all friends here- welcome to the squad.
Apologies if you came here looking for Kardashian discussion. I alas stopped “keeping up” after the first season so I cannot offer much insight there.
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