Top 5 Ways to Stay Organized as a PR Professional

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Sam Wormser
By Sam Wormser

Public Relations is not for the faint of heart. Juggling clients, staying in touch with editors, forming relationships with influencers, coordinating story placements and maintaining cohesive strategies can be overwhelming. The best way to combat this stressful career path is through organization.

As professionals in any field, we constantly hear “organization” as a buzzword for success and our New Year’s resolutions usually include a “stay more organized” bullet. When it comes down to it, there are countless resources at our fingertips that are here to help us stay organized and minimize stress. I’ve always thought of myself as organized, but until I utilized the tools below, I was not at my optimal level of organization. I’ve outline the top 5 ways in which I stay organized as a public relations professional – hopefully these work for you too!

Asana

If you’re a lover of lists, like myself, you will thrive in Asana. Asana is a platform that allows both you and your company to organize and track workflow. Each individual has his or her own task list where you can assign a due date, tag followers, create subtasks, and attach documents. You can organize by due date and check off the task once completed.

At Power Digital, Asana is much more than a digital grocery list of tasks. We utilize this platform as the central hub of information. It contains our arsenal of all clients under “Projects,” allowing us to tag team members as followers and receive notifications when team members comment or complete tasks. The tasks for each client project can include headers of each department’s goals and deliverables as well as common documents like Schedule As. We store all client communication through the comments section under each client project so there is one location for all email communication and the team is constantly updated.

Another benefit of Asana is its usefulness when it comes to intern organization and management. Any team member can assign tasks to an intern, set a deadline, tag themselves in the task, and is notified when the task is marked complete.

Google Drive Is Your Best Friend

Our PR and Outreach department lives in the drive. It’s how we keep track of our hot leads, live coverage, client call agendas, processes, and more. It’s impossible to memorize all press movement between clients, so it’s critical to constantly update the appropriate google docs when leads come in, coverage is secured, and processes are reformulated. The Drive eliminates constant email chains with updated documents that are clogging up your inbox.  It also enables more than one user to be editing a document at the same time and keeps team members up-to-date on movement.

Be weary that the Drive can get crowded and unorganized, especially when dealing with a large clientele and an entire company with access. One tip for navigating the Drive like a pro is to “star” your most frequently used documents, which can then easily be found under the “Starred” category on the left toolbar.

Weekly Scrums

We utilize Monday mornings as our “weekly scrum” of coverage, movement updates, and adding deliverables to Asana. Holding a meeting with the PR team with a list of all clients and bulleted tasks that lives on the Drive enables everyone to actively participate and voice his or her updates that are translated into a “weekly update” doc. We use this meeting to outline on a client by client basis the weeks’ initiatives and deliverables with deadlines. During this meeting is when team members enter in the delegated tasks into his or her task list in Asana, tagging the appropriate followers so they are notified once complete. This doc can be circulated to the entire company for an update on PR progress and weekly initiatives. For example, client X will have a list that may read:

  •      Write pitch (Bob)
  •      Pull list (Bryce)
  •      Conduct outreach (Sam)
  •      Follow up with Forbes editor (Kate)

These meetings hold each team member accountable for completing the outlined tasks and deliverables and organize the work flow for the week, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.

Excel Spreadsheets For Media Lists

With initial outreach, follow-ups, second follow-ups and editor updates, Excel is both a useful and tricky asset to organization. Initial lists pulled from Cision or created manually can be difficult to keep track of outreach progress, which is where Excel organization comes into play. Always include additional columns in the Excel document for “Outreach,” where the date of outreach goes; “Follow-up,” where the date of last follow-up goes; and “Notes,” where feedback from the editor can be noted. You can also implement a color key where you can highlight in red an editor who declined, or in yellow an editor who has become a lead.

Using Excel may not seem like the juicy nugget of information you had expected, but it’s underappreciate and misused organizationally. Following these steps and providing detailed accounts of outreach status will help you in your follow-ups and organization.

Define Your Processes And Strategies

In an effort to have a more organized year in 2016, defining our processes became a new initiative. We store a document of these processes in the Drive, so each team member has access. The document is comprised of a list of PR processes and strategies that we use on a daily basis.

For example, we defined processes for onboarding a client, conducting outreach, conducting follow-ups and more. We also defined strategies for backlinking and dead link outreach. When you define a process, it leaves less room for error and explains in a more granular sense the step-by-step way in which we complete tasks and deliverables.

Wrapping Up

Not only do these processes help us maintain organization, but also have proven to be an integral part of onboarding our interns as point of reference for them to access at any given time.

Organization doesn’t happen overnight, but can so easily fall apart in just a few days. That’s why it’s so crucial to maintain processes and heighten communication between team members. To start on your way to peak organization, try implementing one of the above tips and see how it works for you! We know you won’t be disappointed.

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Samantha is a PR manager and account manager at Power Digital where she executes on everything from top tier media relations, to SEO outreach and social media influencer outreach. After spearheading the influencer marketing arm of the PR department, Samantha has created strategies and partnerships with social media influencers to elevate both brand awareness, engagement, and ROI for our clients. Outside of the office, she's obsessed with all things food and exploring the outdoors.