The public relations industry, like all sectors, is being reshaped by technology. And one obvious example of this trend is the explosion in the number and variety of tech tools that attempt to manage, simplify or automate aspects of the PR process.
Even accounting for the consolidation that has taken place in the sector, there are still hundreds of services that offer everything from social media monitoring, to analytics, to media relations and content management. For an industry grappling with the pressures of reinvention, the situation can sometimes appear a little bewildering, particularly when every tool lays claim to being the best of its kind.
To try and bring some order to this chaos, enter #PRStack, a project dreamed up by Ketchum chief engagement officer (and CIPR past president) Stephen Waddington. #PRStack's premise is simple — map more than 150 tools against specific areas and goals, and ask the PR industry to provide consistent feedback to make the overall effort more accurate and, ultimately, helpful.
#PRStack is also being backed Weber Shandwick digital head (and PRCA digital chair) Danny Whatmough, and has tapped multimedia newsroom Prezly to help visualise the project here.
Prezly has also launched a compansion site called PRGeeks.co, which it describes as a new source of tips and tricks for the PR industry, to help PR people "unlock their inner geek."
"It’s appropriate that we use technology to solve the problem of finding great technology," said Waddington. "But we need to crowdsource the next step too. If you think this is important, tell every PR you know. #PRStack could raise the working standard across our entire industry."
The initiative is well-founded, particularly in the light of research into the digital skills gap that plagues the PR industry, from both the CIPR and PRCA. But, like any crowdsourced project, it will live and die according to participation. If nothing else, it is a welcome attempt to help demystify an area that, as Whatmough says, remains "fraught with difficulty".
The SABRE Awards is the world's largest PR awards program, running across six continents. 2016 details now available.