You are sitting at your desk, about to finish another day at work when your manager approaches you and asks you to complete an important research task due for publishing the follow day.
You are slightly panicked, wondering how you will complete this paper by the deadline.
You are dreading looking through website after website, reading article after article trying to find the credible sources you know you need from the Internet. This will take up your entire evening!
You think, ‘Well, I’ll start by Googling it’ ….. Well Stop.
Researching on Google might seem like the most easy, fast and efficient way, but sometimes it can be the easiest way to chase your own tail.
It’s time to go beyond Google, and recognise its faults. Although Google is a convenient and popular search engine, information that is googled can often be misleading, outdated, biased, and often untrustworthy.
For public relations (PR) practitioners already in the workforce, and PR students studying for the role, it’s important to recognise that just ‘Googling It’ simply won’t cut it anymore.
As a PR practitioner, it is important to ensure that your work delivers the most updated, resourceful and credible information available, in order to maintain a dependable public perception of the person/organisation responsible. If the wrong information is used, this could be detrimental to the reputation of the organisation or source.
Sounds tricky? Not at all! You simply need to equip yourself with the right researching and monitoring tools, and use them to your advantage.
Here are 5 tools to create better researching & monitoring habits:
- Investigating different search engines or databases that are more relevant to your field of research.
- Limiting/restricting your search options to consist of scholarly resources and updated news reports.
- Utilise library search engines/resources available to quickly locate information.
- Include ‘keywords’ into your search to narrow the results and remove irrelevant material.
- Make use of readily available tools such as Google Alerts or Twitter hashtags which enable you to monitor keywords (including client names or organisations, news updates, etc.) and be notified whenever an update is made.
As a public and media relations student, this information also applies to me. Click here to preview a short video explaining why it’s important to expand your research.
I know what you’re thinking “I don’t want to give up Google!”, because we have grown dependent of its convenience and immediacy. But it’s time to move on, the most reliable resource are out there and more often than not you won’t find them by simply ‘googling’.
But through experimenting and practising the tools listed above this will enable you to create a professional online reputation for yourself/organisation that remains credible to the public audience.
Johnston, J 2013, Media relations: issues and strategies, 2nd (ed), Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Sydney.
Why can’t I just Google it? 2010, YouTube, Library Latrobe University, February 9, retrieved 22 July 2016, https://youtu.be/N39mnu1Pkgw
Ratcliff, C 2016, Say goodbye to Google: 14 alternative search engines, Search Engine Watch, 25 February, retrieved 22 July 2016,https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/02/25/say-goodbye-to-google-14-alternative-search-engines/