Artificial intelligence is the foundation of our digital world. Today’s tech-savvy organizations are using AI and machine learning to transform the customer experience, make data-driven decisions, and decipher vast amounts of information pouring in from the far reaches of the digital realm. At the core of each action is a tool making it possible.
Today, there is a wide world of tech tools available to implement. Media and marketing teams eagerly adopt tech tools by the dozens, organizations worldwide are actively pursuing their own digital transformation initiatives, and even consumers are bringing digital tools into their homes to simplify their day-to-day lives. Yet, in this sprint for the latest and greatest digital resources, PR teams have traditionally been hesitant to get out of the blocks. Why has the adoption of these tools been so rapid in the world around us, yet so slow in the PR space?
Perhaps the hesitancy stems from a desire to wait and see what tools are proving themselves before investing time and energy into their adoption; or maybe the sheer volume of platforms, products, and resources creates a sense of analysis paralysis. Either way, adopting new resources requires careful consideration, especially in an organization with many stakeholders, but ambitious PR professionals need not be intimidated by the availability of hundreds of potential tools.
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What to ask before adopting a digital tool
To determine if digital help is the best way to go, ask yourself:
“Does the team have time to deliver on this task, or would a tool better fit this need?”
Digital tools are a great resource for time-strapped teams, but aren’t always necessary. If a team member can do the same work that a tool would deliver, let that colleague shine. Alternatively, if your team is short on time, or lacks the resources for certain functions, then digital services provide new avenues of relief and expanded capabilities.
Building your digital tool kit
Today’s digital tools present great opportunities for PR professionals. Whether you’re using a next generation collaboration tool to connect with colleagues or content amplification resources to improve your audience engagement, this new era of digital options can empower communication professionals to improve their strengths and weaknesses alike.
Content creation tools provide an excellent entry point for curious communicators. These assets equip PR professionals to quickly generate a range of deliverables and amplify their impact across multiple audiences and platforms. Audiences will always have their own content consumption preferences. The ability to take a traditional news release and quickly refine it into a video, social content, or interactive asset complements your ability to land your story with the right audience.
Video is one of the hottest trends in content distribution. It’s clear why—whether those videos are longer narratives hosted on YouTube, a 6-second Instagram Story, or a LinkedIn Live broadcast—video’s ability to deliver a complex message in a matter of seconds results in an engaging, low-commitment, access point for your audiences. The challenge is creating video content efficiently. Producing videos from scratch requires a level of time, talent, and equipment that most organizations don’t readily have.
Platforms like Lumen 5 or Animoto streamline the creation process for any communication professional looking to branch into video content. Lumen 5 allows you to scan a news release and uses AI to generate a full video in three minutes based on the content provided. Alternatively, Animoto provides a drag-and-drop video solution for creators who want a little more control over the final output.
Regardless of the platform, video tools streamline the content creation process at a fraction of the cost of a full-time production studio and provide PR pros an accessible resource to reach and engage with mass audiences.
Social Media Management
While video can be a great resource for generating repeatable engagement throughout a variety of platforms, managing those platforms poses another challenge. Amplifying news distributions across multiple social media channels is no easy task. From knowing when to post, how to approach the specific audience on each platform, staying up-to-date on ever-changing algorithms and best practices, or just keeping image dimensions straight, managing a social media presence has quite literally become a full-time job.
For teams without a dedicated social media manager on staff, tools like Buffer and Sprout Social offer excellent resources for scheduling posts ahead of time, collecting social analytics to optimize content, and simultaneously engaging with multiple platforms. Other platforms even go so far as to specifically rewrite content to create multiple posts from a single input. Determine what services you need to improve your content efforts and use that criteria to narrow down your search.
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Testing Your Tools
For PR professionals on the fence about one resource or another, many tools offer free trials (including the four mentioned above). Take advantage of these trials. Really test out these services and try them out to amplify an upcoming launch or to breathe new life into previous important news. Set benchmarks beforehand, and then measure the impact of your selected tool against the anticipated outcome. If the platform doesn’t live up to your expectations, then move on to the next one. Just because one service didn’t meet your expectations doesn’t mean another one won’t be a perfect fit.
Get out there and create
While organization-wide buy-in certainly helps make the case for new tools and resources, not every company has the budget, value, or use case to justify bringing in a new suite of solutions. In these cases, it may be worth testing a specific platform independently, outside of the organization. That is, go find the tool that seems like the perfect fit, pay for it out of pocket, and try it out. The upfront investment could be a small cost to expand your capabilities, simplify many common pain points, and further drive your success. Don’t let organizational limitations stop you from leveraging the digital world.
Whether it’s mastering analytics, improving content creation, or streamlining social media management, PR pros have never shied away from a challenge. Today’s digital tools complement that drive and ambition by providing easy-to-use solutions for everyday challenges. There’s a huge list of resources out there today; it’s up to you to decide what will work best.
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