Time, they say, is money—and as event professionals, we know it’s true. We know the value of our time, and how precious it is during the busy season. If we’re devoting all of our energy to keeping clients happy, vendors on track, our teams going in the right direction, and our feet in something close to their original size shoes, how on earth can we also be expected to attend to PR?
Trust me, I remember those days, and I know the reality all too well. But I also know that working on your business is as important as working in your business. Fortunately, you actually can do both. With some strategic planning, off-season preparation, and at least a little bit of help, you can keep the PR wheels turning, even during the busy season. Let’s look at how you can…
Manage your time
Since you can’t add extra time to the day (no matter how badly you need it), you’ll need to learn to manage the available hours to ensure that everything gets done (and you’re still in one piece at the end of the season). Block off certain times of day when specific tasks will get done. Instead of just adding PR to your to-do list, make an appointment with yourself such as you would with a client, to make sure you turn off all other distractions and get straight to work. During your appointment, focus only on objectives that you’ve set for the day, and you’ll soon see it’s so much easier to get pitches out and submissions in to the publishers you hope to woo.
Make a solid plan
Avoid wasting time and effort by planning ahead. During the off-season, outline your PR goals. Do you want exposure in new markets or a greater share of clients close to home? Decide what is most important to you so you can strategize and avoid wasting time where it will yield little progress.
Make a list of the publishers you plan to target, and then research their submission policies. Note deadlines, word counts, preferred topics and formats, and of course, record the contact information for the key parties who accept submissions. Organize the information chronologically then set yourself alerts so you’ll remember when a deadline is approaching.
Look at your schedule of events, and anticipate the ones you think you will likely want to publish. Contact the photographer in advance and give him or her a heads-up as well as any critical production dates. Gather any details for the backstory from your clients and your team, along with the name and contact information of all of the vendors who will ultimately contribute to the event. Finally, make sure that you have consent on file from clients whose images you plan to use in your submissions.
Use apps and tools
Employ technology to help streamline your PR efforts. Some of my favorite apps and websites include:
• HARO (Help a Reporter Out): a never-ending stream of opportunities to help writers as a contributor to articles that end up in publications all over the world.
• Talkwalker Alerts: This app will let you know when a feature you have submitted goes live so you can promote it ASAP.
• Wufoo: this site helps you generate questionnaires that your clients can fill out to provide feedback and interact in other ways. It’s easy for you and your clients, and can revolutionize your approach to PR.
Enlist great help
Face it. If you want to grow your business, you have to seek out help with functions that are essential to the business, but that do not essentially have to come straight from you. There are talented writers who can help you overcome your writer’s block by picking up the pen and writing as you. Designers can take care of your graphic needs quickly and painlessly, and a great PR firm can help take over the management and execution of your plans.
Don’t let the busy season halt your growth or scare you away from managing your PR. Follow the easy steps I’ve outlined and you can finally be the one who does it all!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.