Guest blogger Erin Kenna serves as PR/media manager for Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, a regional tourism entity representing the three coastal counties in Mississippi. She recently moved back to the Coast after more than a year in Chicago, a true survivor of Midwest winters. Kenna graduated from Manship School of Mass Communication in May 2014. Follow her ventures on Twitter or send her a quick note.
The beauty of public relations is that each day holds its own set of challenges and triumphs. Regardless of which type of PR position you intend to pursue (large or small agency, in-house or even freelance work), you’ll be required to juggle priorities for your various projects.
I’ve gained experience in each of these realms. From talking media relations and crisis communication strategies at Edelman Public Relations to diving into the world of social media tactics at Red Six Media and to learning about destination marketing at Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, one rule holds true: prioritizing and time management are keys to success.
As a public relations professional, you might have a team of 20 or a team of two. Due to the skill sets you’ve acquired while in school and through internships or job experiences, you will be considered a thought leader in writing, in communicating across a variety of channels, in professionalism and more. For this reason, your colleagues may lean on you to flex your PR muscles in ways you never considered. Finding time to contribute to or lead each project required of you can be overwhelming and demanding, but I have a few tips for success.
- Utilize the organizational tools you prefer most.
You might find that some companies tend to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to your organizational struggles, i.e. a task management software. Unless you’re required to update the software on a daily basis, use what helps you visualize your accomplishments and your challenges. If written to-do lists are your thing, continue to check off what you’ve accomplished for the day. Because we all know that scratching off a time-consuming or cumbersome checklist item feels amazing.
- Determine overall priorities with your manager/supervisor.
Each week, I request a priority meeting with my direct supervisor. We discuss hot items and upcoming deadlines, creating a candid dialogue about realistic goals. By being transparent with personal goals and deadlines and providing a weekly update, there are rarely any surprises. Also, my supervisor feels as though she can share an adequate update to anyone on the staff, based on my upcoming items.
- When possible, delegate to help others grow.
At times, you might be asked to perform a task that you’ve already been successful at in the past. If available, walk a more junior level team member through the task if they’ve never had the opportunity to take a stab at that task. Not only are you clearing a bit off your plate for priority items, but you’re also fostering a sense of collaboration and growth.
- Learn to let go of things you simply can’t control.
You don’t have to have your hand in every pot and you don’t have to say yes to every opportunity. If someone else on the team is just as capable and willing to try, allow them to take control.