PR moves quickly.
No one day is the same, deadlines are always looming, and clients (and managers) are always pushing for more. You finish one project and there is rarely time to take a break before moving onto the next.
It’s a balancing act between client, employee and media relations mixed among creativity, passion, ingenuity, and pure drive. The early bird truly does get the worm in PR—and that can equal an incredible amount of never-ending, overwhelming pressure.
What can you do to battle that and, most important, not burn out?
Take a break
Vacation, vacation, vacation. As an agency owner I both love and hate the word vacation, but it’s important that people step back and rejuvenate in order to keep moving forward. Time spent lying on a beach, floating down a river, or reading a trashy novel in a hammock under the Caribbean sun is time well spent. Take a break, leave your cell phone and email behind, and do not read any magazines or news that pertain to work.
Remember to ask, ‘why?’
There are lots of moving parts to PR, and sometimes we tend to get wrapped up in doing things because it’s trendy or it’s something the client really, really wants to see happen. At the end of these projects, we usually realize they had nothing to do with the goal of the campaign. “Why?” is the key question that any PR person needs to ask before jumping into a project. Why am I doing this, how does it relate to the goal of the campaign, and how is it going to achieve results?
Get it together
I am not inherently organized. I used to have hundreds of sticky notes all over my desk and whiteboard, and I had a tendency to come into the office like a hurricane, leaving a path of destruction in my wake.
Then I got an iPad.
It seems simple now, but by downloading apps such as Evernote and Wunderlist I was able to keep everything in one place. Now, whenever I sit on a call, I open up my Notes and jot down what I need to, instead of scribbling it onto four separate sticky notes that happen to be on my desk.
Work smarter, not harder
Well, duh. Doesn’t everyone want to want to do this? Think about three things you can do to cut your workload. I like to do all my research using sharing sites such as Digg, Technorati, and StumbleUpon. Instead of scouring through online sites looking for people to pitch, I go to the sites that aggregate the articles that are shared most often.
After all, aren’t we looking to pitch people who create good content that gets shared? Social amplification is a hot PR concept, and by learning how to use tools that help you find these types of stories and the writers behind them, you can stay on top of what’s really trending and not just on outlets that have the largest circulation or views.
Know what you love
We are not all good at everything, and if we think we are, chances are we’re delusional anyway. Some people are great writers, some people love to research, and others relish the thought of picking up the phone and pitching.
It’s rare that you can find one person that wants to do everything and does it well. Embracing your passion will help you love your job and ensure your success. If writing a press release takes you three hours but pitching 20 people only takes you two hours (and you’re scoring results), then you already know what your passion is, or at least your strong suit.
If you have passion behind your work then you have happiness in your job. It’s really that simple.
God bless the webinar
This world we live in moves fast, and it seems that PR moves even faster. New measurement tools, new monitoring tools, new content management tools—I get dizzy just thinking about it all. It’s important to keep up with the times, and there are lots of good webinars out there from outlets such as Ragan Communications, e-marketer, and SalesForce that can help you do so.
Chances are they’ve got a webinar to help answer your question—and the beauty of it is that they’ve already done all the research, saving you time. By saving time you become more productive, less stressed, and happier, and all of a sudden the roses start to smell sweet again, rather than like yesterday’s breakfast.
Talk to me, Goose
PR people are communicators by nature, yet sometimes we are so paranoid about communicating with clients and journalists that we forget to communicate with each other. We sit, crouched over a desk, typing away, and we don’t come up for air until our bladders are about to burst or we need another cup of coffee. (Ideally, we can knock those two things out at once to save time.)
Step away from your desk, move out of your office or cubicle, and breathe. Breathe deeply and breathe often, and talk to your colleagues. Chances are they can provide the answer you’re looking for.