PR student review of #2 MyPRStack

#2 MyPRStack: A Practical Guide to Modern PR Tools & Workflow
Edited by Stephen Waddington
Prezly, 2015, 126 pages
Available from prstack.co 

prstack-cover-4-whiteFirst the editor’s preview, now for his students’ review.

If you’re familiar with #PRstack, then you’re probably aware that the second instalment (#2 MyPRStack: A Practical Guide to Modern PR Tools & Workflow) is the product of 30 people’s collaboration that gives a practical how-to guide for various PR, marketing and communication tools. The book, edited by Stephen Waddington and Margaret Clow, has been well-received and is available online from prstack.co for free.

In homage to this coming together of PR academics, practitioners, senior professionals and even students, we – a class of second year Public Relations students at the University of the West of England – are collectively writing our own review of #2 MyPRStack: A Practical Guide to Modern PR Tools & Workflow and we hope that we can do it justice.

PR is constantly changing, there are always new ways of doing things and updated versions of software. This makes #2 MyPRStack great for professionals that are feeling a little lost and struggling to know which direction to take.

This book is broken down into six sections: changing organisational workflow, simple workflow hacks, planning, content, engagement and monitoring and measurement. Each of these sections has a number of chapters, each detailing a PR tool, which makes it easier to narrow your focus.

For example, if you had been working in PR for several years, but had become tired of going into the office every day, Rachel Miller’s chapter on ‘Using a tablet to manage an agency or communication team’ provides an explanation and lists apps one could use to work from home and still be as productive and have all the means you would in an office.

This book is also great for students looking to get ahead in the world of PR and learn about tools that will impress future employers and help secure a job after graduation.

Current students have actually contributed to this book which is great because it makes it a lot more approachable to students who maybe feel slightly daunted by the industry. Livi Wilkes’ chapter on ‘Using WordPress to build a personal portfolio’ is a good read for students like myself that want to get a head start and build their reputation in the industry before they graduate.

As to the authors’ credentials, consider the following: If you were building a chest of drawers, you’d read the instruction manual that B&Q gave you, wouldn’t you?

So if you wanted to build your skills in Public Relations and learn about its modern tools, why would it be any different? Who best to describe and analyse the tools than the experts who use them every day. The Community page is like a who’s who in the industry. From the Past-President and Fellows of the CIPR to the humble students in their third year, each and every one of the authors who have contributed to this book have one thing in common: a passion for Public Relations. And that has to count for something.

This is the second PR Stack book. Although similar in content and style, My PR Stack 2 has a different intention. Whereas the first book aimed to educate practitioners on the tools available, My PR Stack 2 implores readers to act.

With the benefit of hindsight authors have seen the effect of the first book and have changed the game. Frederik Vincx writes: ‘They often know about PR stack. They’re impressed by the amount of tools (250+) but explain that they haven’t done much with tools yet.’  This book is needed to push professionals to start using this technology.

Each chapter of the book is written by someone with an in-depth knowledge of a particular public relations tool. The way each chapter is set out means you are able to gain an insight into the contributor. A brief introduction and a Twitter username is effective for both readers and the writers, as networking is key component of public relations. The layout of each chapter is also easy to follow as it is chronologically laid out in a step-by-step way, meaning it is easier to apply any of the strategies that are introduced.

Here are some of our favourite chapters and tools:

Using Traackr

Erica Eliasson talks about how influence isn’t about popularity, it’s about ‘context and content’. Traackr allows you to enter keywords to find the relevant conversations you’re targeting. This will bring up the most relevant influencers. It will tell you in real time what they’re publishing on Twitter or Facebook. You can then decide whether these influencers are relevant to your project.

The device identifies, engages and analyses the impact from brand ambassadors and job applicants. You can use filters to find people in a particular area and most importantly, people that have the appropriate content on their websites; most of the time it’s not about the popularity but their interest in the subject that can help your campaign to reach the right part of the community.

“Using a tablet to manage an agency or communication team”

In this chapter, Rachel Miller – a founder of All Things IC communication consultancy and blogger at allthingsic.com, explains:

I run my company from a flexible office space I rent, and the rise of apps means, in reality, your office can be in your pocket. I can be as productive on my tablet, an iPhone or iPad, whilst on the train or in the garden, as I can sitting in an office cubicle on a laptop.”

Why this chapter? Because it’s a very helpful guide for busy people and I’m one of them. There are days when certain tasks have to be performed, but it’s simply too hard to find enough time, equipment and all the needed material to get it done. However, Rachel Miller’s tool is there to help you manage those tasks whenever and wherever you are, guiding you through useful apps, which can easily be downloaded to your tablet, iPhone or iPad.

The author presents and guides us through numerous apps from ScanerProApp, allowing you scanning, converting and sharing documents, through WordPress, WhatsApp and LinkedIn, to Microsoft Office Apps.

Using IFTTT and Zapier to automate repetitive public relations tasks

These are useful tools. However, chapter author Stuart Bruce says that there are risks of using them because they are automation tools and you can’t automate relationships and Public Relations involves ‘’relationships between people and organisations’’.

IFTTT is more consumer focused service whereas Zapier is more targeted at businesses so you decide which one you choose.

IFTTT is easier to use for amateurs as you create simple connections between the products that you use daily. IFTTT, uses recipes which are connections between products and apps. You can use it every day and everywhere even on your smartphone. You can save any picture you post on for example, Instagram to Dropbox automatically by using IFTTT. It’s simple and free to use it. You can keep tracking many things that you do every day such as keeping track of your daily workouts, how many hours of sleep you should have and learning new health tips.

Summary

#2 MyPRStack is a collection of tools used and explained by those on the frontline of the PR industry, which makes it an invaluable resource for a wide range of people across the industry.

Comments

  1. Great review and glad you found it useful. IFTTT and Zapier are great. I use both. IFTTT because it’s free and easy, but sometimes only Zapier is powerful or flexible enough to do what you want. Zapier has so much potential I’m still getting to grips with some of its myriad of customisation and filter options.

  2. Thank you for your review. Excellent to read the thoughts of students and I enjoyed Livi’s content in #PRStack.

    If students would like to review other books you’re working through and feature as guest writers on the All Things IC blog, you’d be more than welcome to. Best of luck with your studies, Rachel.

  3. Thanks for the review. We sought to build a community to tackle the issue of characterising tools and workflow. This cracks it for me:

    “From the Past-President and Fellows of the CIPR to the humble students in their third year, each and every one of the authors who have contributed to this book have one thing in common: a passion for Public Relations.”

    Thanks for recognising what we’ve achieved. I’m really glad you found it useful.

    If you’ve any ideas for what we might do next please do get in touch. Even better, come and help. I’m @wadds on Twitter or sw@wadds.co.uk.

    Thanks again.

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