As we roll through summer, we all want to soak up the sun while we can. Having spent as much time as possible at the beach this summer, I realized when we are well prepared in our professional lives, our daily tasks can be just a bit more like a “day at the beach.” Known as one of the most stressful jobs, public relations professionals are constantly faced with unrealistic timelines, tough decisions, and fast-paced client demands, but with a little proper planning, we can hold onto that feeling of relaxation we have at the beach, beyond the weekend.
Here are my 4 tips for remaining calm during a major media announcement by utilizing the same tactics used when planning a day at the beach:
1. Loading up the car with your beach gear the night before
Before you head to the beach for the day, some load up their car with beach chairs, games and umbrellas the night before the trip. The idea is that if you pre-pack up all of your gear, you won’t run the risk of rushing and leaving anything behind.
In public relations, major announcements require careful planning to make sure no stone goes unturned before the press release is distributed. Creative media outreach strategies and securing pre-briefings with reporters, bloggers or producers that help them understand the story without the pressure of deadline can help build anticipation before the announcement is officially public.
2. Getting directions
Building a media list
Nothing is worse than getting lost on the way to the beach. The desire to dive into the water or feel sand between your toes gets sidelined by missing the right exit or an inability to find a parking spot. But, if you print directions and research the best places to park, you will save yourself unneeded stress and find yourself on a beach towel in no time.
The success of an announcement is largely based on the creation of a strong media list. At InkHouse, we are constantly nurturing relationships, monitoring beat coverage changes and listening to media on social channels so that when the time is now, we know who will be interested in our pitch.
3. Reliable driver
You’ve got your tote bag packed, sunblock lathered on, but no ride. When you make plans for a day at the beach, you want to make sure that whoever is taking you will actually show up. You need someone who will be on time, won’t bail last minute and is actually interested in going with you.
For many major announcements, public relations agencies will often offer an embargoed release to select, trusted reporters, giving them advance information so they can be live with the story at the earliest possible agreed upon moment. There are advantages for the reporters who strive to be first with news, the enticement for them to be early can often expand the coverage a client can receive.
4. Leaving at the right time
Selecting the best time to distribute a press release
For most of us, traffic is a deciding factor for when and where we venture. Many Bostonians head to Cape Cod for the weekend. A widely known fact is that if you plan on heading down to the Cape on a Saturday morning around 10:00am, you will be stuck in miles of traffic before even reaching the Sagamore Bridge. But, if you research traffic patterns and hit the road at 7:00 a.m., you will find yourself flying over the bridge with little to no issue.
Much like a drive to the beach, a major announcement is all about timing. You wouldn’t distribute a press release on a Friday, because many reporters are trying to finish up and may be facing additional demands for a weekend or a Monday feature. Same goes for distributing a press release at 5:00 p.m., as most reporters are already on a crushing deadline. There are a variety of best practices for distributing press releases, but most importantly, researching your target industry’s media schedule will allow for smoother pick-up of your announcement.
Sit back and relax
If you have followed the steps above—prepared your materials, researched all viable media outlets, secured reliable embargoes, and selected an impactful time for distribution of your announcement—it’s time for you to sit back and relax.
You may not be able to feel the cool breeze and hear seagulls overhead, but you will have your teammates patting you on the back, your phone ringing with interested reporters and, most importantly, a happy client.