By Felice Appell, APR

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, I headed to Austin, TX, also known as “Bat City” because every March through October the downtown area hosts the world’s largest urban bat colony – 1.5 million bats, to be exact. But instead of witnessing bats emerge at sundown from the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, I arrived in Bat City to attend PRSA’s International Conference (#prsaicon) entitled, “Communications Convergence: Big Ideas, Bright Future.” The conference was a whirlwind experience that offered four keynote presentations, six professional development tracks, 18 social events, nearly 50 exhibitors, and 120 professional development sessions. Oh, and did I mention a fun-filled night with chapter friends, barbecue and a free headshot?

With so much to choose from and only two days to maximize all that PRSA ICON had to offer, I customized an itinerary that would, I’d hoped, expand my professional network and surge my skillset with best practices from some of the brightest minds in the industry.

I learned from and enjoyed every session I attended. Mostly I gravitated toward heady, thought-provoking topics such as leadership, the mutable nature of civility and working with purpose. But one session stood out from all the others in a dynamic way, and it was technical. Spearheaded by a PR superhero and entitled, “Top 10 Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier,” this immensely popular presentation focused on specific applications and websites. It was the only presentation I’d attended that garnered a standing room only crowd of practitioners of all levels and from all over the globe.

Kate Snyder, APR, principal strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations and creator of “Top 10 Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier”Kate Snyder, APR, is the principal strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations who created and facilitated the session. One of her superpowers is her generosity, as Kate was kind enough to permit me to share highlights from her presentation with you.

“We live in an absolutely overwhelming world. PR people are constantly moving at warp speed and it’s often counterproductive to our actual goals,” said Snyder. “This session is about tech tools, but really it’s about making ourselves more efficient and effective.”

To be sure, the topic was all that and much more. So, grab your laptop or stylus and make note of the following cost-effective tools that, when used together or alone, may be the perfect solution to making your life easier, calmer and productive.

Category: Organization

  • Tech Tool #1: LastPass (manages all of your logins and passwords)
  • Honorable Mentions: Do! App, Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Evernote

Category: Transcription and Dictation Services

  • Tech Tool #2: Rev
  • Honorable Mentions: Nuance Dragon, Scribie, Otter, Transcribe

Category: Audience Research

  • Tech Tool #3: Pew Research Center
  • Honorable Mentions: Claritas 360, YouGov, your local state agency

Category: Social Media and Graphics

  • Tech Tool #4: Canva
  • Honorable Mentions: Piktochart, Wakelet

Category: Stock Photos

  • Tech Tool #5: Pexels
  • Honorable Mentions: Pixabay, FreePik, Twenty20, Photoability, Disabilityimages.com

Category: Email Tracking and Scheduling

  • Tech Tool #6: Boomerang for Gmail
  • Honorable Mentions: Microsoft Outlook, Mailtrack, Streak, Unroll.me

Category: Writing Tools

  • Tech Tool #7: Hemingway Editor
  • Honorable Mentions: AP Styleguard, AP Lingofy, Grammarly

Category: Media Lists

  • Tech Tool #8: Easy Media List
  • Honorable Mentions: CoverageBook, Talkwalker Alerts, NewzGroup

Category: Campaign Tracking and Measurement

  • Tech Tool #9: Bit.ly
  • Honorable Mentions: Custom URL Builder, Google Analytics

Category: Project Management and Time-Tracking

  • Tech Tool #10: Any Project Management Software
  • Honorable Mentions: Trello, Asana, SmartSheet, Basecamp, Teamwork, AirTable, Harvest

Bonus Category: Tools to Make You Say “Om”

  • Top Pick: Calm
  • Honorable Mentions: HeadSpace, Buddhify, Coffitivity

Now that you’re ahead of the game, plan to invest in yourself and your career by attending next year’s PRSA International Conference on October 20-22, 2019 for members and nonmembers alike. The conference will be held at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina in San Diego, California. PRSA is offering a deeply-discounted conference rate of $995 if one registers by December 1, 2018. For more information about the 2019 conference, including discounted registration options, click http://apps.prsa.org/Conferences/InternationalConference.

Felice Appell, APR is an award-winning communications professional who has considered PRSA her professional lifeline for a very long time. She is a past president of PRSA Phoenix, recipient of the chapter’s 2010 PERCY Award and member of PRSA’s Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) Section. For more information click https://www.linkedin.com/in/felice-appell-apr-b6674955/ or find her on Twitter: @feliceappell.

Content from “Top 10 Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier” used with permission by Kate Snyder, APR, principal strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations. Click piperandgold.com for more information or find them on Twitter: @piperandgold and @pipergoldkate.

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