- Get to know the media you’re pitching
As a PR professional it’s your No. 1 job to get media results for your clients. In order to accomplish this task you need to know who you’re pitching; plain and simple. This doesn’t just mean looking up their bio on software such as Cision. Read recent articles they’ve written, follow their Twitter feed, learn their interests. Knowing a great deal about the sources your pitching will help you not only get to know them on a personal and professional level, but will help you craft a pitch that’s targeted to their journalistic needs and inserts your client in the news. While media research can take up a great deal of time in your work day, it will pay dividends in the end establishing a long-lasting relationship with a journalist for weeks, months or years to come.
- Nail client messaging
Before you even reach out to the media on your clients behalf, it’s important that you nail down their messaging. It’s crucial for a client or brand you represent to have a consistent statement, industry viewpoint or brand perception across all media channels.
One of the first things PR professionals must do when kicking things off with a new client, product or service is host a messaging and positioning session with the client. Drilling down to what makes your client stand out, what key messages help build their credibility or demonstrate them as thought leaders is the space, is of extreme value. This will give you a clear direction on tactical media outreach and define how you position your client to members of the media.
- Utilize your entire PR team
Whether you’re a PR team manager or senior account executive, be sure to leverage the strengths of your entire team when it comes to client interactions, administrative tasks, pitching the media, research, building media lists, trade shows, etc. Playing to team members’ strengths will make your job easier and drive better results for the client. Don’t fear delegation. It’s important to pass the work on to team members with necessary skills who are motivated to get the job done. If you push work on to more junior team members, it will free your time and help younger PR professionals grow and learn.
- Planning: Embrace the to do list
As a former journalist I love the feel of paper in my hands – whether it’s notebook paper or newspaper. So, you could venture to guess that I’m a paper to-do list kind of gal. I cherish my paper to-do list. I find the repetitive nature of jotting down tasks on a sheet of paper each day helpful. It helps train my brain to know what needs to get done. I can’t lie but I get a little thrill every time I cross off a task on my list. Tell me I’m not alone on that one?
We all have different methods for tackling our daily tasks whether it’s the to-do list bar in your Outlook calendar, new mobile apps such as Wunderlist, hot new methods such as Bullet journaling or the old fashioned paper lists. Whatever your preference, use the method that works best for you.
- Shut off email; it will help you focus
Email is a time suck! We all know it. Some colleagues – and clients – live and breathe on extensive email chains, and their entire day is consumed by correspondence in their inbox. In order to tackle your daily tasks whether it’s writing a press release or byline article for a client or conducting media research, shut off the email for 1-2 hours to help you focus on the task at hand. The best schedule for checking your email inbox, according to a study by Oklahoma State University, is four times a day. That pesky “you’ve got mail” sneak peek window appearing in the bottom right hand corner every time you get an email is too distracting. Don’t let it prevent you from accomplishing key tasks. And don’t stress out about responding to a colleague, client or reporter immediately. It can wait a couple hours.