Colleen O'Connor April 14, 2022 | 05:46:50

A PR Spring Cleaning Checklist

Finally after a long winter (at least here in New York), the change in weather means it’s time for PR professionals to refresh their plans and get re-organized. Just like the tradition of ‘spring cleaning’ a home, PR teams should consider cleaning up daily tasks to start the new quarter and season on a fresh note. 

Media lists 

We all have “master” media lists for different verticals but as any good media master knows, journalists and reporters move around, frequently changing publications or beats. We have a Slack channel where we exclusively update our team on media moves, which is a good tactic for updating lists. Another great source is a journalist’s personal Twitter. They will often share announcements on job changes or even upcoming story needs. 

Check in with reporters

A big part of PR is having strong media relationships. It helps to have contact that you can pitch informally and know you will get a response – either a yes or a pass. But what about the ones with whom you want to form a deeper relationship? Shoot them a friendly email checking in and ask for an informal conversation. Chat about what they’re working on and how you can help. This can also put you on their watch list for a go to source for a quick comment.

Email inbox

Personally, I love newsletters as a way to start my day (check out this list of some of my favorites) but more is not always better. After being out of office for two days, I came back to an inbox that was almost 300 emails – half of them being newsletters. It took me longer than it should have to sift through the clutter to catch up on necessary messages. Think about what newsletters are most important and best for media opps. I ‘m also a big fan of folders for organizing and quick searching based on different email groups. Wouldn’t it be much better to come from some time off, or the weekend, with a clean and organized inbox?!     

Refresh PR plans

As the first quarter of year ends, so do Q1 PR plans. Pitches and announcements from last quarter are yesterday’s news and it’s time to plan for the next few months. Schedule separate planning meetings with executives to find out about upcoming announcements, initiatives, or speaking engagements. It will spark ideas for pitches and targets that PR can go out with throughout the quarter.  

Social media audit

Social media is a great tool for corporate and personal branding. Before scheduling that post on Twitter or Instagram, think about your goals and what message you want to convey. Do you want to gain more followers or increase engagement? These are all great questions to consider before creating social media goals for the next few months. There have been times when I go through people I follow on Twitter and curate who you are actually following. Interest change over time and people you once followed may not be relevant anymore. Another great clean up would be to polish that LinkedIn profile. In the business world, LinkedIn is the go-to place to present yourself. Take a new profile picture, update your job description – keep it up to date as possible!    

Desk organization

My WFH desk is a mess. I have papers, pens and old copies of Adweek lying there with no rhyme or reason to them. There is no reason for it; sometimes things just land there and stay until I get a spark of motivation to do a deep clean of my apartment. If you have a similar situation, consider inexpensive filing cabinets and folders. Waking up each morning and starting the day at a clean and organized desk will make you more productive. Vow to clear the desk before walking away from it at the end of the day and your future you will thank you. 

Set new goals

A new season brings a blank slate of possibilities. One great way to become a stronger PR pro is to set goals outside your comfort zone. Have you never tackled a PR plan on your own but want to get involved with this? Connect with your team and talk about ideas for getting stronger in your position. It shows you want to grow and gain skills that will help your career. If the goal seems intimidating, go for it! Going outside your usual lane is a good thing! 

Schedule that overdue PTO

With warmer days coming, we all have a bit of spring fever – longing for time away from the computer and emails. If you spent your winter cooped up inside, look at your calendar and plan some much-needed days off. It doesn’t have to be any extravagant trip (unless you want to) but get some fresh air and disconnect – you deserve it.  


Happy spring cleaning! What are you cleaning up this spring? Let me know on Twitter @colleeno_pr

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