PR pros, it’s officially March. We can finally welcome spring! As much as I look forward to everything spring has to offer – flowers blooming, warm weather (*cough* happy hour on patios *cough*), longer days – my favorite part of the season thoroughly explains my self-identification as Type A personality: I love spring cleaning.
As soon as the temperature hits 50 degrees and sunlight lasts until 6:00 p.m., I throw open my windows and get to work. Organizing my closet, cleaning my apartment and rearranging furniture gives me a feeling of satisfaction like none other. It makes me wonder, if it feels this great to get organized and start fresh at home, why wouldn’t I tidy up at work? And, I don’t mean Lysol-ing my desk and organizing my collection of pens (although, now that I think of it…).
As busy professionals, it’s easy to settle into a routine that works if we have sound strategy, successful tactics and happy clients. However, it’s important to stop every once in a while and ask ourselves a few questions: What more could we be doing? What isn’t working? Where can we improve? How can we continue to show our value? Spring is the perfect time to revisit these aspects of our professional lives, decide where improvement is needed and conduct a professional “spring cleaning”!
Below are a few items for the PR professional’s spring cleaning checklist, paired with my favorite traditional cleaning and organizing tactics. Time to de-clutter and refresh!
While you reorganize your closet at home… clean up your media lists at work.
This might seem like the most mundane chore, in both instances, but they are also the most satisfying. No one wants to open their closet and find they have tons of clothing but NOTHING to wear (been there!), and no one wants to open a media list and find they have tons of contacts, but no one to pitch. Spending the time to find valuable and relevant articles, uncover new reporters and follow media movement can make all the difference.
When you throw out old food and unnecessary items, do the same at work!
Delete old emails, folders, and documents that are creating unneeded clutter on your computer, your desktop and in your life. My general rule of thumb is to delete all emails that are more than one year old, but definitely consider deleting those that have been sitting in your inbox for more than 6 months. If you know you’ll need to revisit it, keep it. If not, send it to The Great Inbox in the Sky (a.k.a. the deleted folder).
While you dust away a year of debris at home, make sure you’re checking in on client strategy at work.
Dusting seems like an easy chore – how dirty could my apartment be? It looks fine on the surface, right? WRONG. It’s filthy. Much like my apartment, everything might be fine (even great!) on the surface, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little tidying up. If you’re consistently using tactics that are making the client happy, and getting results, you might think your job is done. However, it’s important to revisit your overall strategy several times each year, asking yourself, “Are these tactics (events, media engagement, earned or paid placements, etc.) helping us reach overall goals and contributing to our strategy?” Clients will appreciate the initiative, and you will take pride in your new and improved outlook.
Finally, everyone’s favorite chore: cleaning the toilet. I’d like to pair this with every PR pro’s favorite professional chore – social media.
Use this opportunity to revisit your social strategy. Ask yourself, are my client’s followers engaging? Are we favoring quality over quantity, or the other way around? What content is working (and what isn’t), and where is the best content coming from? It’s always a great idea to create or revisit your Twitter lists – make sure they are up-to-date with media information (from your updated media lists!) and start to check them daily. Consider chatting with your client about how you think social is going, and come up with a best course of action to get you through the summer with robust and engaged followers.
When all is said and done, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Valued clients will be impressed by your ability to not miss a beat and you’ll get a fresh start and a new chance to work toward your professional goals. In addition, I know I’m equally as excited to fill my newly organized closet with some items I’ve been eyeing.
Here’s to a smart, strategic and efficient summer filled with PR success, freshly dusted shelves and clean bathrooms!