Tools Rule – Except When They Don’t

PR Updates

Tools Rule - Except When They Don't

Tools Rule – Except When They Don’t

Jan 20, 2015 | PR Updates

Tools Rule – Except When They Don’t

Jan 20, 2015 | PR Updates

A version of this post ran on the Cision blog.

Tools Rule - Except When They Don'tI’ve never met a communications professional who wasn’t a tool fiend. Sometimes it seems our appetite for tools and services that can help us do our jobs better is never-ending.

And why wouldn’t we be in love with tools? For those of us who’ve been working in MarCom and PR for a while, it’s truly unbelievable what one person can now accomplish versus the days of yore (Remember standing at the fax machine? FedExing press kits? Proofreading the wire service’s hard copy version of your announcement?). We’ve come a long way, baby!

The right tools and services can help us be more efficient, effective, and shave time off our tasks. But this affection for tools shouldn’t become a time-hogging obsession. You may have started the year on a tool-testing spree, only to find you’re no further along in meeting your real goals.

To hone in on the right tools for you, keep in mind the following:

1. Avoid shiny object syndrome
Shiny object syndrome is an amusing moniker for a real problem in the world of tools: the tendency to get distracted by things that are new and flashy. With so many tools and services vying for our attention, it could easily become a full time job trying to test them all!

Flitting from tool to tool is time consuming, and constantly trying new things will interrupt your processes and workflow. Read the PR tool reviews of others before deciding if a new service is worth testing in your environment, and sometimes if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

2. Tools are for tactics
Almost exclusively, tools help us execute on the tactical portions of our PR and marketing plans. Your measurable objectives and strategies determine the tactics you’ll use, which should in turn inform the tools you select.

It’s easy to become so preoccupied with finding and using the perfect tools, we neglect to focus on the bigger picture – tools can’t save a bad strategy. How will your success be measured? Use that as your guide, and you’ll have a huge head start toward finding the right services for you.

3. Focus on your specific priorities
Related to point #2, everyone’s list of “desert island” tools will be different. It’s hard to resist the lure of a tool that others proclaim as the Holy Grail. But just because you can do something with a tool doesn’t mean you should – it all depends on what will help you achieve your goals.

4. Avoid analysis paralysis
We’re all being marketed to by so many tools and services, it can be hard to get out of the starting blocks. The marketplace is always changing, so there’s always more to learn about tools for veterans and newbies alike.

No one person can possibly try all the tools and services currently available to us as PR professionals. From media relations and content to productivity and social, there are literally thousands of options.

Fight feelings of overwhelm by consulting others who’ve done much of the legwork for you. Recommendations from trusted sources – such as blog post roundups, reviews and webinars– can help you narrow the field. You don’t have to try all the tools now – keep a file of these resources and refer to it whenever a new need presents itself to you.

Having earned a central role in the lives of today’s PR professionals, the right tools and services can help us achieve amazing results.

For more information on Solo PR Pro’s road tested recommendations, check out our free Tool School blog series. From productivity and PR tools to services that help you promote your business, Solo PR Tool School includes more than 100 specific suggestions.

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Written By Kellye Crane
Kellye Crane is the founder of Solo PR Pro, which provides the tools, education, advocacy and community resources needed for indies to succeed and grow. She's a veteran and award-winning communicator with more than 20 years of experience - 19 of them solo.