Public Relations (PR) specialists are unique beasts. In their sweaty palms rests the fate of any number of companies; every client a potential runaway hit or crash-and-burn failure. It’s the promise of the former—secured with an excellent PR campaign that attracts serious media coverage at a fraction of the cost of advertising—that keeps clients, of every stripe, engaging these professionals.
But PR firms’ own operations are often organizational disasters, surviving courtesy of momentum alone.
Critical to success for PR players, in an industry that boasts some $6 billion in annual transactions, is a strong back-office system that exploits current technology and engages proven processes.
1. Get Consistent
Sure, your PR firm is pure genius, regularly unleashing displays of brilliance on an unwitting public. But having the creative stuff in hand is only one side of the equation. The other side could be your business, languishing in a state of disrepair and the result, an amalgam more characteristic of the last decade than the current one. Consolidate your systems—from accounting to time recording to billing—and yank your operation into modern day. With everyone reading, from the same script, duplications and overlaps will disappear.
2.Increase Your Web Presence
Today’s websites are a thousand times more sophisticated than their predecessors. The best include streaming newsfeeds from your blog. Providing the capacity for individuals to upload content and enough interactive elements to keep visitors lingering for meaningful lengths of time.
Productivity will climb, by adopting a combination of automated integrated general ledger controls, project management modules, time and resource tracking tools, and role-based workflows for your business. Replacing manual systems with clever automated solutions will help with job and resource management, financial controls, corporate workflow and billing. This will also provide the benefit of freeing up resources for more creative application.
4. Update Your Telephone
The telecommunications industry has not, historically, taken good care of the small and medium business sector, including many PR firms. Typically, these folks make do with systems cobbled together from multi-line telephones, answering machines and overpriced telecomm services. But all that’s changed with the advent of sophisticated telephony solutions—featuring a slew of powerful, flexible features to increase a company’s professional image, cut its communications bills and increase its responsiveness. These sleek telephony solutions are also now affordable enough for smaller firms to employ.
Private Branch Exchanges allow many phone users to share a system with fewer telephone company lines—a clear boon to a company’s efficiency—and voice over IP technology allows the performance of such functions as tracking conversions from outside marketing campaigns, routing calls to different departments, and managing all calls, voicemails and call transcripts from a single interface. Finally, establishing a corporate IP network to run all your lines through will translate into immediate savings on your phone bill, particularly if your people bounce between branches or engage in any kind of long distance.