This week the team are talking about challenges they have faced in their PR careers and how they’ve learned from them to improve their work going forward. Here’s what they had to say:
The biggest challenge we have faced in the past few months is ensuring our PR remains newsworthy. We experienced a shift in the media’s agenda during the lockdown, so it was essential we looked for new, positive angles on COVID-19 stories. One example of how we were able to continue to secure coverage was by working with local community groups to promote and support the work they were doing.
Strong, positive PR coverage is something we strive for each day at Liberty PR. Knowing the industry we work in, the media landscape and the goals our clients want to achieve is paramount to our success. It remains vitally important that we ensure our clients are wholly satisfied with the messaging we are telling to the world, but at the same time realising that the media need certain aspects included to be in a position to publish that same story. The balance is often delicate, and a challenge at times, but one we continue to relish.
Not long after starting my first PR job, the agency I was working for found itself dealing with a major crisis on behalf of one of our clients. In the ensuing panic to rescue the situation, I made a rash and ill-judged decision which only resulted in more embarrassing headlines for our beleaguered client.
It was the low point of my PR career. But it taught me an invaluable lesson. Never panic, no matter how urgent or desperate the situation may seem – a carefully considered and well thought out response is always better than a kneejerk one.
A recent challenge I have faced while working in PR is having to stay motivated during lockdown when we were not allowed in the office. All the work we do is very much a team effort so not having that face-to-face contact with the other Liberty PR members was tough.
Setting up a space in my home to be a makeshift office helped me get in the right headspace to work to the best of my abilities. Also staying in contact with my colleagues through Microsoft Teams, regular emails and Zoom calls went a long way to ensure we knew we were all still part of the team.
One important challenge that many PR professionals have to face is maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of current media publications, while forming lasting relationships with the active contacts who are writing for them.
To optimise the chances of having a story picked up by a journalist, it is important to keep a log of all the current contacts who work at different publications, along with the preferences of these contacts.
During the lockdown period, and with many journalists furloughed, I’ve found that I am forming new relationships with different journalists much more frequently now than ever.
As the industry is consistently evolving, I have found it is useful to check newspapers/digital platforms on a monthly basis to discover who is running the stories which are most relevant to my pitch – in terms of location or category – and to log the outcome of the pitch to help me plan my next move.
Managing your workload and being able to prioritise tasks is one of the key skills in a PR professional’s toolkit and also one of the biggest challenges we face each day.
We have to balance copywriting, media relations, organising community activity, arranging photography and liaising with clients.
To stay organised and keep on track for all of our clients, I have created a personal workflow which keeps track of my planned activity for the month, week and day. The document is colour coded and regularly updated so that I can see my priority list clearly at a glance.