Back then, we had a saying for customers that did not want to take the time to try to figure things out for themselves - it was "RTFM!" which means Read the F--ng Manual (of course, we never said this to them).
Flash forward, and similar words of wisdom can and should apply to tech PR people.
Actually, reading was always good advice for us; after I joined the profession in the late 90's, and started climbing the ranks into management, I remember that we always implored the teams to pick up the publications and actually read them. That was the best way to get smart about the magazines and the topics they covered (this may seen like common sense, sadly many continue to rely on databases of media contacts and preferences rather than read in detail their content).
It is worth repeating, and updating today, because the noise has only grown in the tech world, and all the interruptions from social media - and fragmentation of traditional media - make it all too easy to lose focus and skim the surface.
There aren't many freshly printed publications to pick up these days, lovingly thumb through and smell the freshly pritnted, glossy pages - but there sure is a lot of reading we can and should be doing.
So, why not resolve to RTFC (Read the F--ng Content) to be a better tech PR person?
- Read the publications, print and online, get to know their sections, editors and news appetities
- Read the articles that feature clients and their competitors - don't just skim, but read, and try to understand what it all means in terms of positioning, reporter biases, message penetration, etc.
- Read the gorpy client side stuff - yes dig deep into their white papers, decks, etc. - you will get invaluable product and company knowledge (but don't just "drink the Kool Aid" - apply your own critical thinking and square what you are learning with what you already understand).
- Read to improve your writing - see my previous post on this