By Gina Celeste
To be successful, companies need to have clear objectives, consistent processes, and an understanding of client expectations. How does a company’s ‘behind the scenes’ operation foster these things? Bottom line: the devil is in the details! Attention paid to all the small things and leveraging organizational tools adds up to big rewards.
Create tools to document work in progress
With all the moving parts of daily operations, PR professionals need to know our priorities at a glance both for internal review and to be shared with clients. There are several online collaboration tools that can be used to outline client activities, deadlines and project status. One free tool is Google Docs, which enables users to manage spreadsheets that can be shared and actively viewed at any time. Other paid tools, such as Wrike and Zoho, enable users to manage projects at a higher level and can generate alerts when a project is due, for example, or provide an audit trail of activities. Online documentation enable updates in real time, eliminates the need to continually highlight pending items for conference call agendas and establishes a transparent and open process where information about specific projects is freely available to the client.
Recognize value of editorial content and timeliness of outreach
In addition to ongoing efforts to maintain relationships with media contacts, PR professionals need to know what is on the horizon regarding trade magazine editorial content in order to determine specific opportunities to support client initiatives. PR agencies will develop a list of targeted publications based on each client’s needs and refresh that list on an ongoing basis, to include both editorial contacts and editorial calendars to support regular outreach to editors on topics that are pertinent to each client.
Make information actionable
It’s important to develop a database of media and industry contacts – both media outlets and influencers – to provide a clear, concise way of compiling upcoming editorial opportunities for client exposure. From this information, reports are produced on upcoming editorial items by keyword to be used as a roadmap for editorial outreach and for documentation of team accountability and deadlines.
Rigorously stay abreast of changes related to contact information
Ensuring that the right person receives the right information saves time and also avoids outreach ending up in a black hole. It should be a priority to continuously update contacts in the database to include new editors, remove outdated contacts and notate areas of specialty coverage (i.e. the new cybersecurity columnist or the right contact for case studies) to ensure that pitches and content are received by the right contact.
Create a tool for easy access to intellectual capital
Information gathered from our clients, such as technology perspectives, quotes on specific areas of industry growth and customer case studies, can be repurposed in many different ways. To help internally manage that intellectual capital, and to avoid continually going back to the client resource for the same or similar information, creating a content library can provide easy access to existing bylines, recaps of media interviews and Q&A articles that have been penned on behalf of our clients. This online tool compiles the various pieces and includes links to published items. Keywords are reflected for each entry so that similar topics can be easily sorted. For quick reference, a link to related items, such as press releases and image files can be added into this document.
Save time and paper – go digital
Publications are more than happy to provide their monthly issues and media kits digitally.
Digital media kits can be stored in a Dropbox, for example, and easily referenced in the future if needed, while digital copies of magazines provide easy searching tools to identify when a client has been quoted in an article.
Great things happen when you focus details each and every day. An efficient ‘behind the scenes’ operation is vital to continued success in PR.
— Gina Celeste is a PR Coordinator for Eclipse Media Group with extensive experience in process and customer relationship management. For EMG, Gina specializes in editorial outreach to media, product submissions, tracking media coverage and maintaining EMG’s extensive database of editors and publications.