Even though we’re already more than a month deep into it, I’d like to take a moment to express my love/hate relationship with the year’s fourth quarter.
- The holidays are approaching
- The leaves turn their gorgeous shades of autumn colors
- Offices parties are being planned
- Cheeriness is never too far away
- Holidays make people harder to access
- The last quarter always flies by
- Cold weather and twilight at 4:00 p.m. are mainstays
- Workloads and stress levels may increase
In true Bradford Group fashion, I’ve learned there are a few ways to maximize the love side and minimize the negative effects of the final quarter year by being proactive. (Active is one of our core values, after all.)
PR Pros, take note of my six lessons to make Q4 productive and even a bit delightful:
- Start your year-end reports now. By now, I really mean yesterday. You want your clients to see the evidence of the hard work you’ve put in for them all year long, and now is the time to have your reports ready. Ideally, if you can start this before Q4 begins, do it. Procrastination on this front has the potential to make your December workload unbearable.
- Anticipate your workload weeks ahead of scheduled time off. The news doesn’t stop just because you’re on a holiday hiatus, meaning – you’ve got to stay proactive and generate media placements for clients. Consider a pre-determined plan for delegation before you leave so that all your bases are covered while you’re tasting turkey or sipping eggnog with your family from afar.
- Communicate with clients. Just as you may be heading over the river and through the woods to hang with grandma, your clients may be doing the same. It’s important to find out when they’ll be in and out of the office come the holiday season. That way, you won’t have a two- or three-week stretch of unexpected auto-reply email messages.
- Plan for 2015 now. The best way to recalibrate a PR plan that is most effective for your clients is to learn how your clients are adjusting for the coming year. Find out if your clients are having an annual planning meeting and ask to be part of it. If that’s not appropriate, consider an annual review with your client to readjust annual goals so that both of you are on the same page.
- Do some extra pitching. When the business world slows down, so can the news. From experience, journalists are looking for a little more outside help to generate content this time of year, so step in and help them out! As my fellow Bradford Groupie Caitlin mentioned in a recent blog, this time of year is perfect for pitching holiday gift guides for short lead-time publications, like daily newspapers – monthly or quarterly pubs should have been pitched in Q3 – and other seasonal stories. Get creative and pitch away.
- Spread cheer. There is no better time to connect with your coworkers than by celebrating the holidays as an office. Whether it’s a pre-Thanksgiving office potluck or the annual Christmas party, take advantage of these times to get to know one another and enjoy each other’s company. You do, after all, share 40+ hours a week together. Don’t forget about your clients either. A Christmas card or a holiday gift can be the perfect opportunity to let your clients know you value their business and relationship.
Happy Q4 everyone! As an early way to spread year-end cheer, we’d like to offer a personalized list of the 50 people you should be following on Twitter Click the button below and we’ll compile this for you for free –no strings attached.