PR agency and media relations people tend to work hard, relish summer Fridays and warm-weather vacations, and return to work with gusto when fall rolls around and clients suddenly seem to realize how much needs to be accomplished in the fourth quarter of the year.
But even the most zealous communications pros can find it a challenge to return to high gear before their suntans fade. Here are our best tips for making the transition with your PR team once the summer has come to an end.
Host a “back-to-school” breakfast or lunch. For journalists who cover a regular beat, it’s not uncommon for elected leaders or heads of large organizations to host an annual breakfast for media who cover them. If you’re a company or brand that gets regular coverage, try getting to know the journalists who cover you in a less formal setting. Chalk it up to relationship building, and starting the season fresh. Usually journalists leave with a few story ideas, and the organization learns more about how to personalize communications with each person.
Shorten every email. Email is much abused and overused in PR and other professions: too frequent, too long, too irrelevant, and too unclear. Take the opportunity to create a new practice and shorten every email by 50 percent. Shorter emails are more likely to be read and responded to, and recipients dragging themselves back from summer vacation will thank you for your brevity. One of our clients is famous for sending succinct, often one-word emails that get the job done. Other notoriously succinct emailers? Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs.
Transform your work space. There’s nothing like a physical makeover to provide an energy boost for switching into high gear. PR and media professionals live by their organization habits, and fall is a great time to purge your files, buy new notebooks or laptops, and reorganize your space.
Embrace cultural and business shifts. Now is the time to read up on the latest business or PR thinking and embrace new habits. For example, big data and machine learning are making marketing and “business intelligence” even smarter, so companies no longer have to wonder about metrics and ROI. Venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz believes this sort of analytics will soon be part of regular business practice, rather than a standalone feature.
Change things up a bit. When the seasons change, new and different ways of doing routine work can bring a welcome dose of fresh energy. Are staff and weekly PR meetings held sitting face to face around a phone or conference table? Perhaps try walking meetings. We know sitting at a desk for 9 hours isn’t great for your health, but walking also leads to more creative thinking, according to a Stanford study.