3 Tools for Managing Information Overload

The great thing about the Internet is that everyone is free to share their thoughts and ideas with the world. The horrible thing about the Internet is that everyone is free to share their thoughts and ideas with the world.

With so much content out there, and with the media landscape changing so frequently, it can be hard to keep current with relevant news you can trust.

In PR I’ve found that one of the most important parts of my job is staying informed on well…everything. In order to come up with proactive ideas for my clients, I need to know what’s happening in their industries. And to sound like an educated human in conversation, I need to know what’s going on in the world.

The question is, who has time to wade through the millions of pieces of content posted every day that may or may not be important? For me, managing all that news comes down to three tools:

Specific News

People, Google alerts are your friend—well, if you go beyond just setting up an alert for just your client’s name. Sure, it’s helpful to be notified when your client is mentioned in the news, but using Boolean Logic to set up calculated alerts for clients and events will prove to be much more efficient. For example, I use these alerts when I’m waiting for information about a specific conference, product release, or trend I would like to pitch. Setting the information to come to your inbox rather than spending 20 minutes searching for it will end up saving you a lot of time and frustration throughout the week.

Industry News

One thing I love about working in an agency is that my clients are in such different spaces. I am always learning about something from a different sector, so it’s hard to get bored with what’s in front of me. That being said, multiple sectors mean exponentially more publications to follow and verticals to pay attention to.

Enter Feedly—the content aggregator that made my life so much less complicated.

Feedly is a content aggregator that allows you to customize how you see your news. With this tool I can organize the publications I follow into “Collections” for each client. I can’t tell you how much time I save by having all of the public sector tech coverage (for example) that I need to read in one place, rather than jumping around between 15 publications looking for relevant news. It’s made it easier to identify industry trends and ultimately helps with proactive pitching.

World News

Obviously you can’t use one source to get all of your world news. Personally, I get updates from the Washington Post, Politico, and New York Times throughout the day. It may be small, but the one tool I want to call out for world/life news is The Skimm.

The Skimm is an email that shows up in my inbox before I wake up every morning with a brief recap of the news that happened the day before or is currently happeneing. The five-minute read condenses most of what you’re going to hear that day into short, funny, conversational paragraphs. Essentially, it’s news that you can wrap your mind around before coffee.

Warning: The Skimm is pretty femme-focused; of its entire readership (about 1 million active readers) only about 20% are guys.