Break out the Swiffer: It’s time for some spring cleaning in your PR toolbox

By | May 27, 2014

Clean All the ThingsFor those of you not located in Texas, where spring is a single day – a week if we’re lucky – in April, spring has most likely sprung. Yard work and home renovations are once again common topics of conversation and, at least for the Austin office, photos of people precariously perched in a field of bluebonnets have covered our Facebook feeds.

Spring cleaning is also coming up more often and not just in relation to our closets at home. Spring and summer can be a slow(er) time for PR pros, with clients and reporters both taking vacations. This makes it the perfect time to take a close look at some of your day-to-day materials and make sure they’re in perfect shape:

  • Press Lists. The unfortunate thing about press lists is that they are always out of date. Reporters change beats and publications. Publications add new beats or get rid of old ones. This is happening every day and if you’re not careful, you might miss it and continue pitching people who are no longer relevant to your client, while missing out on those who are. Take some time this spring to go through your press list with a fine toothed comb. Are all the publications and reporters still relevant? Is there anyone missing who should be on there? Is everyone’s contact information up to date? Do some publications need to be reassigned due to changes on the team or new relationships? While a complete overhaul of the press list can be tedious, it’s well worth the effort to know that the team is pitching the right people the right things.
  • Pitches. While a client’s messaging typically doesn’t undergo drastic changes over the course of year, there are often subtle shifts in the positioning. Take a look at the pitches you’re using. Are they reflective of today’s messaging or more reminiscent of past ideas? It’s worth considering a series of input calls with clients’ experts to see what they have to say that’s new or different. Is there an issue that might be appropriate for them to become involved in? Have they changed their stance on an existing problem? You might be surprised by some of the answers you get.
  • Grids Galore. Grids are an essential part of PR life. From speaking to awards to editorial calendars, chances are pretty good that there’s at least one grid that you interact with regularly. Unfortunately, these grids are easy to let slip down the priority list as the year goes on and they are often out of date. Chances are good that there are at least a few awards and speaking opportunities that are relevant to your client that didn’t exist the year before. Even if that isn’t the case, deadlines and submission requirements must be updated every year. With editorial calendar grids, by the time spring rolls around, most publications have released their editorial calendar and these grids can be finalized for the rest of the year. This can help you identify new opportunities and plan for the months ahead.

Spring cleaning may not be the most exciting part of PR, but it is a necessary part. You’ll be surprised how out of date some of your documents may be. Breaking out the feather duster and clearing out some of those cobwebs may spark a few new ideas or help you put the finishing touches on that pitch you’ve been working on. In the end, it will be well worth the effort.

Phoebe Francis (6 Posts)


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