Tales from the Tech PR Bunker

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Folks, I know I haven’t been writing here as much, Sorry for the interruption. These are unusual times.

But the show must go on, right?  People are stuck at home and clamoring for distraction and new episodes, er, posts.

So pardon the DIY production, the dirty socks on the floor.   Don’t mind the poor lighting and audio quality. Damn the torpedoes and coronavirus.

With this post I bring a roundup of topics I’ve been meaning to get to.

Mellowing the Harsh

In my post about PR in a pandemic, I suggested that uplifting stories and your routine news can be a welcome diversion from all the grim headlines..

The NY Times seemed to confirm this POV in their article: The News is Making People Anxious. You’ll Never Believe what they’re Reading Instead.

Zooming to the Top

If ever there ever was a company in the right place at the right time, it is Zoom. Their namesake teleconferencing service has come to symbolize how corporate teams can get useful work done, from a distance.

Those in PR understand the importance of conveying the right image. when using Zoom, or another service, you don’t want to come off like the jokers in the SNL video, above.

You do want to look and sound your best at virtual meetings, meaning professional, ready for work and to make a good impression. Sometimes, you can’t help things like loud pets or kids in the background. People tend to be understanding and can relate. But it is better, if possible to look and sound as if Zoom meetings (or Google Hangouts, or FaceTime) are second nature.  This means avoiding messy room backgrounds, and heeding obvious things like dress and grooming.

And sure, why not rock that virtual background, make it look like you’re Zooming in from an exotic location? This article discusses how to look good on camera.

You don’t want uninvited guests crashing the Zoom party. This can especially be a danger in the PR world, for obvious reasons. Check out this NY Times article, which explains how to counter Zoom bombing.

Designing at Home

Most PR pros are not graphic designers. When asked to create an infographic, e.g., we often call in a partner with this skillset.

Not to take away from the pros, but I found a tool that does let PR try designing at home (well, isn’t everything tried at home these days – negating the old saw).

It’s called Visme, and is like Canva on steroids. E.g. Visme has a nice library of art, templates and animations. It guides you in color selection and layout, you don’t need to be a design whiz. Visme makes it easy to design infographics, and other visuals that combine data and charts. It brings stunning presentations, brochures, graphics and videos to life.

I am using Visme now to create cover art for a podcast that we’ll be announcing soon, and will be writing more about my experiences with Visme.

Dispatch from the IT Front Lines

I was recently fact checking a pitch about tools to help enterprises manage IT consultants amidst the pandemic. To do this, I wanted to speak with someone who works in the field, to see if the pandemic had an impact on IT projects, their business, and if the pitch might have legs.

So I called my buddy Joe to hear about what’s been happening. He leads 36 IT consultants; their company has a team of 350. He prefers that the team work on client-prem, for face-ime, but now all are remote. Here are some things Joe shared.

  • In-flight work continues
  • No major impact on new business, so far
  • Major new initiatives, like digital transformation are being held up
  • These days it is easy to manage everything off site, even for infrastructure like networks, firewalls, and servers.
  • He used Coronavirus as a verb, like deals getting “Coronad”
  • There’s been remarkably little impact on their work, except it is tougher to close new business as he normally does a lot of wining and dining.
  • I asked if he’s worried about team productivity, he said no; this kind of work style takes politics and appearances out of the equation and emphasizes real results.

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