On the Record with Ahsan Awan, Contributor to InfoWorld

The theme of this blog series is: making your job easier! My goal with this blog series is to educate the public relations (PR) industry and ensure that we are forming productive relationships with the media. It seems as though PR people and reporters are often at odds with one another, and I hope to do my part to change that dynamic.

As an account coordinator (AC) at our San Francisco PR firm, I am in the perfect position to get my feet wet within the fast-paced tech PR industry. I have come to learn that being an effective AC means making my team’s job easier. One example includes collecting news sweeps for my team to understand what reporters are talking about in our industry, as well as providing insight about how we can make the client relevant. These activities help us develop stronger PR strategies and plans. I believe this same process should apply to all public relations people who engage with reporters. The overall goal is to understand how I can help make your job easier, and to equip each professional with the best possible resources.  

For this week’s On The Record, I had the opportunity to traverse the floors of Dreamforce 2017 with Ahsan (ah-sin) Awan.  Ahsan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of American Presswire, which distributes content to media enterprises and focuses on sports, stage and other live event content. At his company, Ahsan is actively involved in all aspects of operation including sports and event photography in the field.

Ahsan also writes the #TechSense blog for InfoWorld, where he primarily covers enterprise tech and conferences.

He received his BS and JD from the University of Oregon, his MBA from George Washington University, and his MSPharm from the University of Florida.

And yes, he is a huge Oregon Ducks fan.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Photography, skiing, dancing, food & wine tasting, travel, road trips, reading and writing about all sorts of stuff, and most recently distance running.

What do you generally write about?

I like to write about tech, mobile apps, conferences, DevOps/DevSecOps, sports, concerts, and healthcare/biopharma. At current, I am interested in writing about hot topics such as IoT and the analytics that it will provide for both users and companies. Additionally, I would like to write more about nature, business ethics, and good corporate citizenship.

What kind of music do you listen to when you want to crank out content?

I don’t really have any go-to music for writing, and often times the best background sound is nothing at all.

What are your general thoughts about the PR industry?

I love the PR crowd. Sure, some of them can come across as superficial, or very focused on a fixed agenda, but they work really hard to do a job most wouldn’t, couldn’t and probably shouldn’t do. It takes exceptional talent to be a great PR pro.

What are some best practices that you would suggest PR people to follow?

Prior to pitching reporters, I would suggest for PR professionals to absorb the content and to send the pitch to someone else for review.

Sit Down and Absorb Your Content: The reason why I suggest PR people to sit down is to ensure that they are properly absorbing the information. PR people are constantly automating messages without taking the time to absorb the information, thus they are unable to produce content or reach out to me in their own words. Once you are able to digest the information, then you will be able to understand why the content may be relevant for the reporter.

Send for Review: I highly suggest that PR people write and then send what they’ve written to be reviewed and copy-edited by someone who doesn’t know (the subject matter) and doesn’t care. The neutral and detached review will cause the quality of your communication to improve.

I think this applies to all reporters, but I don’t care much for truly constant contact, pitch calls and the like. I get it, you have a job to do, and I really do want to help, so send me the information once and let me process and strategize.

What are some upcoming events that you plan to attend?

I recently attended the IoT Tech Expo in Santa Clara and plan to attend CES, MMTC, SXSW, Collision, DIA, DeveloperWeek, API World; and of course, Dreamforce 2018.

What benefits do you see from attending conferences? What is the point?

Keep a Finger on the Pulse of What Will Be the Next Big Thing: Whenever you attend a conference, be sure to go to the exhibit halls. If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going to be the next big thing, you will find just that at the exhibit hall. Most people waste their time going to booths to only get free stuff, but don’t take the time to absorb the information from the different companies. Especially for more technical people that want to be business leaders in the future, it is essential to understand what the newest-edge tech can do.

Network as Much as Possible: Conferences allow you to expand your world and community. There are only 3.4 billion people that have access to the internet, about half of whom are mobile. With that in mind, you should take the time to go out and shake hands with people, travel and meet people, go and discover more about people and about yourself. Similar to CRM, the opportunity to network allows the opportunity to gather info to better equip for future engagements.

When attending conferences, do not waste the opportunity to network and learn what will be the next big thing.

For a mix of information regarding conferences, tech and sports, be sure to follow Ahsan on Twitter @Quackarazzi and you can read his articles on his InfoWorld #TechSense homepage.

For all things enterprise tech and cloud computing, be sure to read our previous On The Record:  With Sal Rodriguez of Reuters.

Interested in learning more about what we do? Drop us a line.

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