Essential Tools & Tips From Pub Club Board Members & PR Pros

Tools of the Trade

To say marketing communications professionals “are busy” is an understatement. There is always a new opportunity to uncover for the organizations we represent. There is always something happening in the industries our clients and businesses are a part of.

How do you keep up with it all?

In an effort to provide guidance and a bit of insight into topics like those above, we asked our board members two key questions:

  • What are your “go to” / essential tools for program work on a day-to-day basis?
  • One quick tip for getting optimal exposure for your clients?

With decades of experience and successes shared amongst our board, we knew we would get valuable responses. Here are their replies, tools of the trade, and tips for PR and marketing communications professionals!

John LeRoy, Director of Strategic Communications, M.S. Walker Inc.

John LeRoyTrello, Trello, Trello. Since moving on from the agency world to go in-house, I find myself spread thin between a number of projects at various levels of development. From brand development and design to advertising and PR, Trello is a project management tool that helps me to prioritize tasks at various stages and timelines. I really think it can be implemented at agencies, as well, since there are always so many moving parts.

Pay attention to what is going on in news sectors that don’t necessarily directly relate to the brands you are trying to get exposure for. It may seem basic, but it really is incredible how often a client or brand you are working with can fit into a larger trend story. I’ve seen toy brands get large mentions in stories on counterfeiting and liquor brands get quoted in articles on sustainability.

Kathy Wilson Managing Partner Tier One Partners

Kathy WilsonMy daily go-to is a quick scan of The New York Times each morning. Our clients look to us for recommendations about how they can dovetail on industry and business trends. Reading the Times or another reputable national news source each morning is key.

My number one tip is to tell your story in the context of a larger conversation and share a perspective no one else is bringing to the table. For instance, how does your client’s service or solution fit into the discussion about global business or industry trends? What’s the unique issue they’ve identified and why is this essential to business success? Reporters value sources that don’t make it all about them, so position your client as that intelligent resource.

Amanda FountainAmanda Fountain, Social and Digital Strategy Manager, Lois Paul and Partners

My “go to” tool is Trello, a project management board. It helps to keep me organized even with shifting priorities. I’m better able to stay on top of my tasks for clients and collaborate with my teams.

Ashley Waters, Account Supervisor, PAN

Ashley WatersEveryday I get a few newsletters from sources like Boston Globe, NYT, Bostinno, Crain’s, TheSkimm, and a few others. I always read them on the train into work to get a good overview on what’s happening in the world to kick off the day. 
One tip for optimal exposure is to really do your homework. Know the reporter, know their beat, know what kinds of stories they cover, know who have they covered recently, know what they tweet about. It’s the best way to get a really fantastic story and develop an important relationship.   

Hailey MelamutTake a look at what the industry is talking about, and how they’re talking about it, and adjust your approach accordingly. But beyond just commenting on industry news, when promoting a client’s own news or announcement, it’s worth considering the way that influencers, big industry players, internal employees, and customers are talking about industry issues, and emulating that. While we always want to get our clients’ message across first and foremost, the odds of getting exposure are significantly higher if we can contextualize their news as part of a wider industry discussion, and take simple steps like using the same words and terms that others are using, to show relevance and encourage a conversation with our clients at the center.

I think social media is one of the best tools that PR pros have at our disposal, and I make it a point to check social feeds – especially Twitter – a couple of times throughout the day. Not only is Twitter a great way to keep up with breaking news, and spot opportunities for issues response pitching and news hijacking before articles are written, but it’s a great way to engage with influencers in a more meaningful way than with a cold email or phone pitch. By regularly reading about the issues influencers are talking about on social, we can be better-equipped to bring them stories and sources that are truly relevant and of interest to them. And, influencers are increasingly turning to Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook to ask for sources, so you never know when the perfect opp will show up on your newsfeed!

Derek Edmond, Managing Partner, KoMarketing

Derek EdmondTwo tools I find invaluable in my day to day work are Evernote and Jing. 

Evernote has become critical for keeping weekly to-do lists, important notes and references, and provides the ability to save and tag articles I find online. Because Evernote works in the traditional desktop web browser and as mobile application, I always have important information on-hand and easily accessible.

Jing is a free tool that allows users to capture basic video, animation, and still images to be shared during online conversations. I use Jing to capture screenshots which help visualize recommendations being made as well as support instruction and direction in assigned tasks.

Final Thoughts

We know were are just scratching the surface when it pertains to tools utilized on a day to day basis and how we gain exposure for clients and the organizations we represent. That said, we hope these resources and the advice and guidance is helpful!

More importantly, we would love to hear your thoughts and perspective on these questions as well. Feel free to add your thoughts on Twitter or our new LinkedIn group as well!