PR Tech 101

One of the things I have learned about the PR field this semester is that Microsoft Excel will become your new best friend. Endless hours are spent creating media and other contact lists to get your client’s messages out. Even more hours are spent updating these lists because of course, as many of you know, journalists move around very frequently and jobs are always changing.

Although I have worked on many different lists so far including media lists, congressional contact lists, and foundation lists, this week at The Hatcher Group I worked on a different, but just as important list. Because we work with many non-profit organizations on progressive policy issues which involves getting legislators to take an interest in our clients objectives, the social media coordinator at the Hatcher Group came up with the idea to create a list with every congress and senate member’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr pages. This will be invaluable to our clients so that we can “follow” certain members of Congress, post our client’s events and news to their walls/accounts, and make them aware of our clients and their messages. Just like social media is a part of our everyday lives now, it is such an important business and communications tool for organizations.

If you work in the PR field, especially as an intern, be prepared to spend many hours with Excel and sometimes even be prepared to see lines and spreadsheets in your sleep! Many people think of Excel as something only business students use but it is so important in the PR field. I wish AU even offered a good tutorial of Microsoft Excel designed specifically for PR students as a 1 credit class and even a requirement for PR students. I know that would have been helpful to me even though I was already pretty familiar with Excel.

Another vital program being used more and more in the PR field and especially at my job is Dream Weaver. So, if you can take any classes or tutorials in DreamWeaver that would be a major advantage when you are looking for jobs and internships in the PR field. The Hatcher Group specifically uses DreamWeaver to send out Ecards to people on our many contact lists! (It all comes full circle) The ecards are usually weekly newsletters to people who sign up on our clients’ websites and offer new reports, news, etc. having to do with our client and their work. We also use Ecards as invitations to certain events that our clients are having.

Technology is always changing as we all know. And even though as a younger generation we are pretty good at keeping up with these changes, when it comes to PR and working in the real world, keeping up with technology goes far beyond having the latest iPhone app.