As a public relations professional, are you priding yourself on the principles of personal relationships in your work? You should be. After all, genuinely and positively fostered relationships are the foundation for generating quality results for our clients, even if some PR firms still live in a day-to-day hustle defined by quantity of output alone.
As a leading PR firm in Nashville, we spend most of our days talking to our media contacts about the latest, greatest innovations of our clients (for example, a one-of-a-kind blood test for MS). But we also happen to be a smaller firm, which means we’re hyper-aware about efficiency in our conversations and how we can maximize the time we spend at the office.
In order to prioritize the relationship aspect of PR, below are three steps and corresponding efficiency tools used by members of our firm that can help you raise your pitching average, build your relationships and impress your clients:
Step 1: Switch to better email, stat.
How many hours do you spend on email per day?
A 2016 report from Adobe found that workers spend more than half of each day checking email. That’s about 20.5 hours per week, and those are results from a general survey. (Imagine if they had surveyed those in the PR industry— oy vey!)
The common misconception in PR is that our only job is communicating and pitching media contacts about new stories, but you and I both know that’s no longer (and arguably was never) the truth. At our firm, for example, we need to allocate time for copywriting, digital marketing plans, social media analytics, audience research and more.
To cut the time-suck brought on by email each day, modernize your method and ditch the standard inboxes of old. Try Newton or Polymail.
Newton | https://newtonhq.com/ ($49.99/yr)
Yes, there are add-ons or extensions for Gmail that help you track emails, but Newton (formerly CloudMagic) makes it easy and simple, and that’s not the only impressive feature. Newton also helps you spend less time on email by clearing up clutter and presenting emails in an easy-to-quickly-read space. You can also snooze emails to read them later or schedule outgoing email messages for down times.
Polymail | https://polymail.io/ ($120/yr)
Another great option for upping your email game is Polymail – an email and sales productivity platform that features message tracking, personalized outreach and contact profiles, so you can reference who you’re pitching. While more expensive than Newton, you also receive 5 email campaigns and message templates in addition to the contact profiles and message tracking.
Those in the PR game receive negative attention from time to time. Reporters or editors will often call people for lazy outreach or faulty preparation.
From the PR perspective, this is likely due to the unfortunate fact that those journalists became a number on a list. But here’s the deal, PR fellows: You don’t have to risk budding relationships with reporters to check off names on a spreadsheet. Prepare the right way and do the research first.
Confused as to where to start? Try Nudge.
Nudge | https://nudge.ai/ (Free for individuals; Paid Team/Enterprise options starting at $29.95/yr)
Want contact information at your fingertips as you research online? Nudge is a Google Chrome extension and online tool that offers great relationship management for PR pros. The extension lists company mentions and tweets, and it keeps an eye on who you’re tracking. If you decide to still use Gmail after my earlier recommendation, this tool also helps you with contact details as you compose emails. Pretty cool.
From the platform online, you can build personal lists of your top media contacts and keep track of your relationships. You can even set reminders and tasks to drop a note to your go-to media friends.
Monitoring the daily action is usually an arena in which PR pros excel.
But as digital continues to take the crown from traditional media outlets, monitoring is no longer just reading the paper (even if it is online) or skimming a few news sites twice a day to peruse the news. Staying engaged in the modern era means setting up alerts and notifications to receive news faster and faster, until we’re bombarded every minute of every day with each M&A announcement (ding!), product release (ding!), Trump-ism (ding!), earnings update (ding!), trending interview… ding, ding ding!
It can get hairy out there. After all, when we’re splitting our time between five different stories and trying to take in timely updates at the same time, how can we get through all of the news without driving ourselves up a wall?
The answer, and third important tool, is a read-it-later service. We like Pocket or Stash to prioritize and categorize our news intake.
Pocket | https://getpocket.com/ (Free; Premium, Ad-Free option – $44.99/yr)
Pocket was the first read-it-later service to catch on widely, and it’s still the most popular. You can save articles from any device and then pick them up later when you have the time to spare, even if you don’t have an internet connection. There’s also a premium, ad-free option, if you’d prefer.
Need to stay up to date on a particular industry? Browse the headlines of top stories each day and quickly add them to Pocket. Get to them later and skim for the important details.
Stash | https://stash.ai/landing ($3/mo)
All read-it-later services offer similar apps and tools, but Stash is unique in that it saves you a step for organization. Want to categorize your “product release” news? Stash uses artificial intelligence to do that work for you—automatically sorting out all the items you save to the service.
What about you? What tools do you use to stay efficient in your PR day-to-day?