5 tips on how we manage time
In public relations, time is a precious asset that can easily be consumed to no real benefit for either the client or the agency. Being aware of time, and that this is part of what a client’s retainer is paying for, helps keep you focused on the client’s goal. We have asked around within Vividink to see what the five key things are that we consider essential in managing time for our clients.
- Planning - the biggest friend in making the maximum use of time is planning. When all parties know what is required to deliver the end result, the efforts are complementary and will move the project forward faster. Is there a photograph or video required? How can that opportunity be maximised by adding a little creative input to the process? Ask the question early and plan it in. Quotes from all parties concerned - asking in advance will prepare the person providing the quote and allow them to check if there are any approval processes required before issuing their quote to the media. And, on the subject of approvals, find out in advance who needs to approve the piece of work.
- Accurate briefings - getting all of the information and materials required to complete a news release, feature, blog, opinion piece or other written output, means that we hit the mark with our first draft, often requiring few amends from the client and collapsing the time from brief to placing the story. So, preparing clients on what they will need to provide us in the briefing process will help them arrive at the briefing prepared, which, in turn, means that taking the brief is easier. If the client and the person taking the brief are both aware of what is required to be passed between them it should be quick and efficient. Quick and accurate briefings release more time for the creative process in the writing and placing of the piece and that leads to better pick up rates and coverage.
- Sequential proofing - getting a client and others to approve a piece of work can hoover up a lot of time, but an agreed sequence of proofing of any work for a client will avoid the nightmare scenario of receiving a number of versions all with different and often contradictory amendments. Deciding in advance as to who will approve what, and who has final sign off, will make it a far more efficient process, saving time and speeding any piece of work from briefing to placing.
- Using technology - in the dim and distant past, agencies met with clients on a monthly or quarterly basis to review and plan activity. This was great but, as clients became more widely spread geographically, we were spending more and more time preparing plans, reports and then in the car heading to meetings. Since the arrival of the cloud, remote concurrent working and meeting tools such as LoopUp, Google MeetUp, etc, it’s easier for all parties to log in, sign up and meet virtually - only last week I met with 2 members of a client’s team - I was in Hope, one was at the Head Office and one at their home office in London - we discussed plans, shared documents and had a great meeting for an hour and a half. That meeting would have taken me a day. Add in real-time reporting and planning tools that allow collaborative working and we can use the time saved on delivering more for each client.
- Lastly, a quote from Olympic rowing coach Jurgen Grobler “Will it make the boat go faster?” if it didn’t, they didn’t do it. Look at what you are doing, will it make the piece better / achieve better coverage / clarify the message / etc, if not then stop doing it. I have seen writers grimacing as they wrestle with clever phraseology and complex language, burning time in the process. Will it make the piece more easily understood or deliver the message more clearly? If not, simplify. Nice clean quick copy does the job and moves the project along nicely.
Our time is your money, neither of us want to waste it.