Achieving total productivity in PR might seem like achieving a utopia.
The multitasking, distractions, everchanging priorities… You may have a clean-looking to-do list, but your days don’t look like that, especially in the agency. Priorities change, and your (agency’s and clients’) needs do. And one can be more demanding than the other.
To achieve total productivity in PR departments, department leaders must consider different aspects. An efficient public relations department manages a company’s reputation and keeps it in excellent condition in the eyes of customers, partners, and stakeholders. The key takeaways below will help you achieve this in your business and sustain high productivity and work rate levels.
How are PR teams spending their time?
Across brands and agencies, PR teams are wasting days even months, or a year on data entry! According to Muck Rack, Most PR pros spend too much time on manual work like creating media list spreadsheets, compiling press releases, tracking media coverage etc.
Try to guess how much time on average a PR pro spends on data entry.
35% of PR pros at brands are spending up to 5 hours per week or 10 days per year. At agencies, the time jumps up to 10 hours per week.
And the bigger the team, the more time forfeited.
A brand with a 10-person PR team could be wasting up to a total of 100 days per year. The date is even scarier to look at when we observe agencies. An agency with over 100 PR people could be wasting up to a total of 2,100 days per year!
Rather than focusing on manual tasks, PR pros would benefit much more from generating coverage and showcasing success. In fact, measuring success is the #1 challenge for PR pros, followed by finding and engaging with relevant journalists.
PR pros believe that generating more media coverage is the best way to increase value inside organizations, but 68% believe it’s crucial to correctly measure that coverage.
Why is it important to achieve productivity in PR and communications?
Every workplace prioritizes productivity since it has numerous advantages for both the company and the employees. These are a few of these advantages:
- more profitability for businesses and improved performance in governmental and non-governmental organizations
- higher levels of shareholder, stakeholder, and customer satisfaction;
- improved workplace wellbeing;
- Increased staff engagement and satisfaction.
Let’s head into our 4 tips to achieve your full potential productivity in PR.
4 Tips to achieve maximum productivity in PR
Tip #1: Organize and prioritize your daily tasks
It can be challenging to manage a variety of duties throughout the day, especially if you don’t arrange them efficiently.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, organize your long to-do list and handle your tasks proactively.
Looking at an extensive to-do list can put a stop to your progress. However, if you prioritize tasks and organize them by importance and urgency, you’ll know just where to start.
This is where The Eisenhower Matrix comes in handy. The matrix allows you to list all of your weekly responsibilities and categorize them using the Eisenhower Urgent/Important Principle:
- Important & urgent
- Important & not urgent
- Not important & urgent
- Not important & not urgent
Here are five time management tips when working with The Eisenhower Matrix:
- Making a to-do list frees up your mind. But always consider what is worthwhile to do first.
- Limit yourself to no more than eight tasks in each quadrant. Complete the most critical one before adding another. Keep in mind: Finishing tasks is more important than collecting.
- For both work and personal tasks, you should only ever keep one list. That way, you’ll be able to keep your loved ones and yourself high on the priority list.
- Don’t let yourself or others divert your attention. Never allow others to set your priorities. Make your plans in the morning, then get to work. Finally, savor the sense of accomplishment.
- Finally, try not to put things off so much. This also includes spending too much time managing your to-do’s.
Tip #2: Automate your tasks
The list of daily tasks that PR professionals need to tackle is sometimes neverending. And they all take so much time and effort to do. But PR automation makes the job a little simpler. Some believe that PR automation undermines the basic foundation of the profession – relations. After all, you cannot automate your interactions with others, or you shouldn’t.
However, working more efficiently allows PR professionals to concentrate on what they do best: building relationships and creating messaging. Some of the busy work that comes with a PR professional’s job could be handled by automation.
Automating some processes, such as media monitoring, media outreach, social media, and reporting, can improve planning and outcomes while saving time when used correctly.
According to Wendy Marx, president of Marx Communications, “using tools to automate our jobs helps us be smarter about our work while enhancing our productivity.”
Here are some examples of what can be automated:
- Social media uploading
- Influencer outreach lists
- Analytics & reporting
- Reputation Monitoring
- Brand mentions
- Building lists of influencers
Tip #3: Set and monitor progress against objectives
Every PR campaign’s innovation and wit have a price. The ideal PR strategy takes a lot of planning, preparation, and time to create and carry out. Each campaign is deliberately designed to appeal to a certain demographic and promote a specific idea or good in the hopes of receiving positive feedback and generating a profit.
Because of this, it’s critical for PR specialists to understand which advertising strategies failed and which ones actually paid off. Setting goals and objectives for your communication activities allows you to plan and track progress and outcomes, demonstrating their actual worth.
Here are KPIs that matter to PR pros:
- Geographical presence
- Reach and impressions
- Share of voice
- Social engagement
- Sources reached
Tip #4: Stay focused
Staying focused is much easier said than done.
Understanding neuroscience and why we’re so easily distracted is a good place to start. Our brains are hardwired for distractions. From an evolutionary perspective, it served us well to notice things in our periphery.
Imagine it’s a warm day, you’re walking along a bush tray, but you’re not at ease. You notice something in your periphery, and it’s a large tiger snake. And you stop, let the snake go by, and continue. This is part of our flight or fight instinct. But the thing is, we’re not in the bush fending for survival anymore.
In our workplace, we use our prefrontal cortex, the executive part of our brain, to concentrate, plan, prioritize, write content, and develop strategies. This part of our brain doesn’t multitask, and it’s hard to access when we’re under stress.
There is another component to our distractions. Our brains love novelty. When we see something new, neurotransmitters cause dopamine to be released, and this drives our behavior. When our brains receive this little dopamine burst, we look for more. So, it’s very attractive to check our inboxes, social media, etc.
How do we manage distractions? If we want to focus, we must set up our working environment to help our brains work the best. Here’s what you can do to help stay focused for longer periods:
- Eliminate distractions
- Reduce multitasking
- Take short breaks every 25 minutes
- Listen to music, preferably wordless
- Start the day with the most challenging task, preferably in the morning
Tools and apps that improve productivity in PR
Numerous tools and applications claim to increase your PR productivity. Hundreds. Finding the ideal ones for your needs is the key. To accomplish this, take the following steps before choosing the best tool & app:
- Identify the result you wish to achieve with a new tool or app
- Verify how this result will boost team and organizational performance
- Choose the tool or program that will help you accomplish this the most effectively
- Make sure to test it out before buying
- Be knowledgeable about how to use it
Without further ado, here are:
Best tools and apps to improve productivity in PR
Tool for creating a visually pleasing press release
Sure, your press release can be shared in Google Docs with just text. But it’s much better to spice up your announcement with multimedia flair. They provide the reader with all the information they need to create your story – while being aesthetically engaging and eye-catching. You can include pictures, videos, social posts, audio clips, and any embeddable material you can imagine.
Prezly enables you to incorporate any type of media in your press release – even live stream videos – and it makes the whole process simple. If you’re working with international press releases, they make it simple to switch between translations. This can help save so much time translating too since they offer more than 40 languages!
Tool for creating content for social media
If you have a designer on board, you might not need a tool for this. However, if you’re trying to close the gap between DIY and hiring a professional – Canva is the ultimate winner. You can use it to make logos, presentations, posters, films, social media postings, and more. It’s user-friendly and free to use!
Aside from enabling you to “drag and drop” elements such as on-hand stock images, elements, text, etc., it has a vast library of templates! The templates are available for every type of pre-determined format (IG story, IG post..). You can use the whole template or just use it as inspiration. This will help you create content so much faster, letting you focus on other, more important things.
Tool that helps you focus
There are programs that can help you shut out online distractions if you need to concentrate on a certain activity but don’t trust yourself to resist the online temptation to scroll social networks.
You can use StayFocusd, which is a fantastic tool. It’s a Google Chrome extension that either restricts the amount of time you can spend on particular websites or entirely disables others. When it comes to the websites you want to restrict and the amount of time you want to spend avoiding them, it is totally adjustable.
Tool for news
You should always be up to date on current affairs because it is a PR professional’s responsibility to be aware of what is happening in the news. We all have reliable information sources, and we are all aware of how time-consuming it is to check each one individually. News aggregators are great at gathering news from various sources and presenting it to us in one convenient location.
Flipboard is unquestionably one of the best and most well-liked news aggregators available today. You can select your regions of interest and the news subjects you wish to hear about.
Tool for monitoring media coverage & reporting
Considering the flood of information that occurs every second, it may be difficult to compile all of your company’s coverage. We have some excellent news, so don’t worry. The top media monitoring tools will uncover any pertinent mentions for you if they exist.
Mediatoolkit offers real-time media monitoring across 100+ million online sources, 24/7 in any language. It allows you to track and monitor mentions of your brand, competitors, campaigns, key people, hashtags, etc. This award-winning tool can provide impeccable business insights, especially with its integrated reporting system.
Mediatoolkit offers a 7 day free trial!
Tool to organize your work
Notion is an app that is dominating the market and rising as Slack did in its early days, in a straightforward, unconstrained manner with free access to all of its features.
With the help of the cross-platform task manager Notion, you may improve both your personal and professional planning. To create, manage, and collaborate with others, you can use your computer and smartphone whether you’re online or offline.
With this tool, you may compose texts, lists, checkboxes, bullets, and more while organizing your work using tables, databases, galleries, and calendars. It also has a high degree of versatility. Additionally, Notion allows you to add pages and subpages as desktop folders.
Tool for lectoring press releases & emails
It’s impossible to consistently produce error-free writing. You’ll uncover errors if you read carefully the next time you pick up almost any widely read book or watch a movie with the subtitles turned. (I recently noticed one in Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. Being a neurotic proofreader makes it difficult to enjoy life.)
Therefore, having a safety net built on clever algorithms to guide us in the right direction makes it logical. Grammarly is an app to help you avoid being careless when rushing to send emails and to lend support if you are aware that wordsmithing is not your greatest suit. Try out the Chrome extension for free to see if it works for you.
The list provided above is by no means complete. Please use this list as a beginning point because the world of public relations tools and technology is always evolving. See if the tools are a good fit for you and your team by checking them out and experimenting with them.
3 Books to Read to Achieve Productivity in PR
Atomic Habits by James Clear
This best-seller by James Clear is based on the idea that we frequently undervalue the importance of making slight improvements every day. We often delude ourselves into thinking that big success requires massive action. In reality, the little things add up to significant change.
The book Atomic Habits’ five main lessons are:
- Habits are the accumulation of self-improvement interests.
- Instead of setting goals, focus on your system if you want greater results.
- Concentrate on who you want to be rather than what you want to attain.
- The Four Laws of Behavior Change are straightforward guidelines to create better habits. One is to make it evident; two is to make it appealing, three is to make it easy, and four is to make it satisfying.
- The environment is the final factor shaping human behavior.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Csikszentmihalyi delves further into what he refers to as Flow, an optimal psychological state that, if attained, results in immersion and intense focus on tasks. It’s an inside guide to discovering success, progress, and pleasure through Flow. As PR professionals, we frequently switch between working on tasks that are either too easy for us and no longer challenging or too difficult for us and stressful.
The formula for Flow? Establish the line between the simple and challenging so that your problems are both important and compatible with your ability to act.
Here are some of Csikszentmihalyi’s most essential tips for doing this:
- Select and clearly define your objectives.
- Find ways to track your progress.
- Learn to focus entirely on the task at hand.
- Develop the skills required for advancement.
- Continue to raise the stakes.
Stillness is the key by Ryan Holiday
This book may appear to be an oxymoron for “busy” PR professionals, who often thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. But there are times when slowing down is wise. Holiday emphasizes the importance of stillness and quiet moments in his book for a well-rounded professional and personal life.
Still Is the Key’s five key takeaways:
- Develop mental stillness.
- Don’t let social media and minor issues take over.
- Decide what to ignore and what to NOT think about
- Save your energy
- Create a life that you don’t have to run away from!
To sum up
There you have it! This is a selection of the best tips, tools and books that will enable you to achieve full productivity in PR. Okay, full productivity might be a bit ambitious, but it might get you a bit closer!