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3 Tools for Staying on Top of News & Trends

Working in public communications means you’ll likely spend a decent amount of time each week perusing news newspaperheadlines, industry publications, and social media hashtags. In order to best represent your clients and find prime opportunities for coverage, you need to be aware of the top trends and breaking news. This includes public relations news, industry talk pertaining to your clients, and worldwide stories. However, in a public relations specialist’s busy schedule, how can you get the most out of the time you have to browse media? I have three PR tools I check in with each day that help keep me informed without draining too much of my work time.


  • PR Daily & PR Week
    • It’s not all about the clients – PR pros have their own trends and news to watch, too. These two sites offer comprehensive daily coverage of what’s new and exciting in the world of public relations. From major agency announcements to news about updated social media analytics tools, anyone in PR can stay in the loop with a quick browse each day. Both sites also offer articles and webinars to improve your skills, and more humorous, fun articles – like this one about PR lessons from the Star Wars


  • Industry Specific News
    • Many of us work with clients in industries that we aren’t initially experts in. However, in order to pitch media successfully and write engaging content for these clients, we need to spend time increasing our knowledge. An easy way to do this is research the top publications in the client’s industry, and sign up for daily or weekly newsletters. Google alerts set for client-related phrases are also a great option, as is following industry thought leaders on Twitter. You can use Twitter lists to organize by client or field, and then browse your list each week to see what’s being discussed in that particular arena. You can also subscribe to top blogs related to your client, and set up an RSS feed.


  • The Skimm
    • the skimmThe Skimm is a free, curated morning email covering news in the USA and worldwide. It’s sent out in time for you to read with your morning coffee, and head into work more informed. Stories are shared in short blurbs, so you can get the most important information quickly. Most stories have hyperlinks for more information if you have some extra time. The overall tone is more lighthearted and fun, so it never
      reads like dull, typical morning headlines. Recently, The Skimm has featured quick interviews with current presidential candidates, to help readers get to know them prior to next year’s elections. The email also frequently features fun giveaways and trivia to add a little more for readers.

Spreading the Love

Valentine's day candy

Given today is Valentine’s Day, I think it is only appropriate this post be love-filled. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I enjoy clever, witty and smart web tools. Today I bring you a Valentine’s Day Google doodle featuring candy hearts. Six candy hearts are arranged where the logo used to be. There’s “Crush,” “Mr. Right,” and “Blind Date,” just to name a few. Click on any of them and you’ll hear a love story, taken from real people on public radio’s “This American Life.”Valentine's Day Google doodle

The story behind the stories

Google’s Jennifer Hom on the Doodle team is quoted saying “the project began a couple of months ago when This American Life host Ira Glass visited Google. Glass and his team contributed some archival audio clips and came up with some new ones for the Doodle project. The idea was to portray love in a host of different incarnations.”

I won’t spoil all of the stories in this Valentine’s Day Google doodle for you, as I believe they have the best impact when heard firsthand, but my favorite is “4Ever Yours.” Beware, the narrator even states “Warning: This one gets a little heavy.” This story has such a great outlook on love. It’s about a man’s marriage to another, at the age of 45. He talks about the thought of having the love of his life die one day – I dare you not to cry! Hearing stories like this give true meaning to this day of love.