Yes, Christmas is nearly here and there are still three weeks of December left but at Changeworks our sights are set firmly on 2016.
Just as you buy a magazine from the newsagent in November and it’s already dated January 2016 – some on sale at the end of December even have February on the cover! – in the world of PR and communications you really do have to think well ahead.
In fact, for one client we are working on an exhibition that won’t be held until September next year! We have already held several meetings discussing the stand design, the overall message for the show and how we are going to give visitors something to remember this time around.
PR is a curious mixture of the short-term – something is always needed yesterday! – and the planning well ahead. There are always deadlines, of course, and they should NEVER be missed. Then there are the short notice requests from publications who would love to have 1,200 words from your client by end of play on Friday (you find this out late Thursday afternoon and your client is out of the country).
And then there are the long-term plans. If you have a year’s features list for your key publication(s), you will know what’s coming up and when material is needed. Exhibition stands are usually booked before the previous show has even finished. It’s in the organisers’ interest to get bookings as early as possible and they have a captive audience at the show so, in effect, your client starts to plan for the following year from that point anyway.
Here at Changeworks, we pride ourselves on being on top of schedules and on never being late with a project. Procrastination is simply not an option with us and our clients appreciate that. They certainly welcome our organised approach to their PR programmes and how we (gently) nudge them to make sure that the work gets done on time, despite their own extremely busy schedules.
Of course, when you are ‘pushing’ your client you have to be sensible. Everyone likes to be in good time but pressing your customer to get something done in early January when it isn’t needed until March might look efficient but it can come across as putting them under unnecessary pressure.
Equally, you mustn’t let your own disorganisation put people under intense pressure. There used to be a person in PR who always thought they were incredibly efficient because their desk was covered in paperwork and you couldn’t actually see the desk’s surface. Then staff would be given something that was desperately urgent and they would have to stop working on their own well-planned projects, only for them to notice that the project was already three weeks old but had been buried on this ‘efficient’ person’s desk!
Running around like a headless chicken is not being efficient and impresses no-one. Take it steady, plan properly and let clients see that you are in control and are managing their work smoothly. The comfort factor really is an added value that will keep your customers happy and make them more likely to sign up to work with you year after year.
To find out more about planning PR programmes, contact us at Changeworks.