There is nothing more embarrassing than listening to people talk about current events you know nothing about, especially when they ask for your take on it. Not being informed can make people think you aren’t very intelligent and hurt your reputation.
Staying informed is especially important in public relations. You never know when something you say or do could conflict with something else happening. In the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, domestic violence survivors used the hashtag, #whyistayed, to detail reasons why they didn’t leave their abuser. DiGiorno did not get the memo on the nature of the hashtag and ended up using it in a tweet about pizza. It came off pretty insensitive.
That is just one example of why being informed is so important. You don’t want to make a career flop like whoever ran the DiGiorno account. There are a lot of things you can do to stay informed. You can read the newspaper everyday, watch the morning news while you are getting ready or listen to NPR during your commute.
Here is what I do. Every weekday morning in my inbox, I receive this amazing newsletter called TheSkimm. It summarizes all the big news stories and even some human interest pieces. TheSkimm gives me the highlights of the stories so I know what is happening and am not blindsided when others bring it up.
Another thing I do to stay in the loop is to check out industry news. When I first get to work every morning I look at PRDaily and Ragan.com. Their news is very focused on public relations and communications issues. I also look at news specific to the area of PR I work in. After lunch everyday I look at Mashable. Mashable has a lot of general news and tech specific news. There are also other cites I look at depending on what I glean from these other sites.
The last way I stay informed is through social media. On twitter I follow news sites that are relevant and interesting to me like Huffington Post Tech and Huffington Post Women. I don’t read every article they tweet but I will occasionally check out a headline that speaks to me. I also get news from articles people share on Twitter and Facebook. You have to take these with a grain of salt, however. You need to ensure that the source they shares and the sources you share a real news sites. There are a lot of satire sites slipping through the cracks these days. I wrote this post to deal with this issue. Don’t be that guy.
I hope this post has given you some good ideas on how to efficiently stay informed without wasting too much time. I can’t stress enough how valuable TheSkimm is. Sign up, today! You can thank me for it later!
Post by: Katherine Faulk, CEO
Katherine, a Memphis native, will be joining INK PR in Austin, TX upon her December graduation. She has held three internships and various leadership positions on campus. To connect with Katherine, visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, @kattals and connect with her on LinkedIn.