I've taken a week leave to settle into our new home. As I sit here waiting for the carpet cleaners to finish dry cleaning the carpets, I realised how much of my day-to-day PR activities and challenges are the same as what I was faced with in moving house.
No matter how much you plan, something unexpected will happen
I spent three months planning this move. Yes, seriously. Getting boxes, using one room for all the boxes, arranging boxes by room and weight. Getting the necessary quotes for installing an alarm system, having the carpets washed, calculating window sizes to ensure I have the correct amount of curtains and most of all, how the day of the move should happen.
But, alas, we started the day with a flat battery on the one car, delaying the start of the day with two hours. When we arrived at the new house, not everything was out yet, so all our items couldn't go where they meant to. That evening we were still re-arranging furniture.
So, how may PR campaigns have I experienced similiar on? Quite a few actually. In the end, one has to accept that you can plan all you want, and at least it creates structure and you know exactly how you would like things to ideally take place. But when something unexpected throws a curveball, tackle the challenge head first, adjust your plan, and do it to the best of your ability.
I promise, it will still work out the way you had wanted it to - and perhaps even better.
Although the project appears small, there is often a lot more work than you expect
I moved from a one bedroom to a four bedroom house. Never did I imagine my belongings would take up so much space, take up so much of my time when it came to packing – or unpacking.
Similarly I’ve underestimated the size of PR projects or the write up of a media release.
Going to a client event to do a write up about the speaker and their topic? At first one would think it’s quick and painless – just listen to the speaker and formulate what they say into a press release that provides your target audience with insightful and worthwhile content. Nope. The reality is a lot of research goes into writing media releases based on an event for a client. Research around the topics, speakers and your client’s stance on each subject. The aim they’re trying achieve with the story.
If you fail to put the effort in beforehand, you will most likely find yourself redoing everything because you failed to achieve the goal set by the client.
Don't try to do everything on your own
By day two I decided the house is simply too big to try and do everything on my own. I got in a lady to assist with the cleaning while I focused on the unpacking and arranging of my belongings. We finished in probably a third of the time and with a lot less frustration and stress on my side.
When taking on a project for a client, divide the work between your team members. We recently pitched for a client that operates in a very regulated industry. While Juanita focused on the pitch itself, I completed research on the industry and the regulations that may hamper marketing, PR or communications activities. We were able to combine our efforts and pitch on time and within their budget and expectations.
And yes, they signed with us!
We all need a little pep talk when the going gets tough
Guess who arrived at my house with a huge bouquet of bright pink flowers to talk me through my frazzled state of mind? Yup, Juanita.
Thank goodness! Once the roses were in water, nothing seemed impossible anymore!
Each member of our team has needed a pep talk when we were faced with a difficult challenge. The project that tested our patience. The client that didn’t understand the purpose of PR. The computer or printer that simply didn’t want to work when we needed it to.
A quick pep talk, a cup of coffee and depending on who in the team is under pressure, a chocolate or flowers usually does the trick.
Slowly, slowly catchee monkey
Let me say this. The more you plan and the better you organise, the easier it is to reach your end goal within your time frame and budget. So when you look at the mountain before you, take a breath and know, this too shall pass.
It has before.