For many wedding pros, public relations is always that task you’d love to do in a perfect world but ends up languishing at the bottom of one’s to-do list in favor of more pressing responsibilities. It’s understandable — you have clients to keep happy all season long, so you wait for things to taper off and submit a flood of real weddings.
But, wait. If this is a common practice, doesn’t that mean you are competing with all of the other super-busy wedding pros who are just waiting to ramp up in PR once the colder months hit?
Bingo! That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of your PR efforts year-round. A few haphazard submissions once or twice a year will not get you any closer to reaching your big picture goals — whether it’s increasing your profit margins or reaching clients that are a better fit for you.
Without a PR strategy, it’s easy to get caught up in the “same old, same old” work. You can certainly earn a living this way, but you’ll never see the growth you imagined when starting your business. Fortunately, there are solutions to help you make the time for PR in your busy schedule — all it takes is some proactive thinking and the motivation of knowing how much of an impact your outreach will have on the future of your business.
So, what’s the big not-so-secret secret? Repeatable tasks.
The same way your calendar is set to remind you about your mother-in-law’s birthday every year, it should also be supporting the business tasks that will help move the needle. You might not be able to do all the things all the time, but you can do some things some of the time — and that will do far more for you than doing nothing at all.
Let me share some of my tried-and-true efficiency hacks that allow me and my team to do the most without breaking a sweat.
Audit your top priorities and trim the proverbial fat.
Every business is made up of systems and processes that keep it running. How well they perform is to be determined, but in many cases, there are likely tasks that you’ve been doing for so long that you don’t bother to reevaluate whether you actually need them to reach your goals. Consider where your priorities lie and determine the areas that may no longer be necessary. If something no longer works to propel your business forward, why keep chasing it down?
As you cull through the necessary and unnecessary, you will find more space to reflect on the next question: What do you need to do right now to make an impact? Will real wedding submissions help you to meet your goal of increasing your booking rate by 25%? Can a guest spot on a podcast introduce your brand to a new corner of the market that you want to enter? Will guest articles grow your SEO with additional backlinks? Get clear on where you’d like to see your business grow and focus your energy there.
This isn’t to say you have to get rid of everything else forever. But, for now, as you go through what’s possibly your business season on record, you owe it to yourself to put a few things on pause and avoid stretching yourself too thin. That’s when PR starts to become an afterthought.
Implement block scheduling.
Once you’ve got your ducks in a row, it’s time to make a plan so your big ideas aren’t just….ideas. You need to take action and the single best way to guarantee that you do is with block scheduling. Multitasking has a way of preventing us from getting anything done, so it’s best to give every task your full focus — even if it’s just for 30 minutes or an hour per day.
Remember those repeatable tasks? Now, you want to take each of them and figure out a way to fit them into your block scheduling strategy. For example, Wednesday in our office is podcast pitching day. Every week, we have a set block of time committed to writing podcast pitches. Maybe you need to revisit your media list every quarter, so you make a recurring appointment with yourself to do that on the first Monday of every quarter.
This doesn’t mean you have to fit in a whole project into one sitting. For example, if you want to apply for an upcoming award, it may take you four hours to put your submission together. Instead of carving out a half-day to get it done, set aside one hour every week to piecemeal your application and you’ll be done in a month. Just be mindful of deadlines so you can start early enough to give yourself enough time to finish everything.
Adopt new tech solutions.
We live in the digital era and, if you aren’t using tech to streamline your business, you will fall further and further behind. When people ask us how we do “so much,” it’s as if they believe we have some magical method to the madness. In reality, it’s just a great selection of digital tools!
It’s time to retire those worn notebooks and filing cabinets. (Just kidding, you can keep them — but please don’t rely on them to form the foundation of your modern-age business.) Our office uses Basecamp for project management, Airtable for organizing press leads, podcasts, speaking submissions and more, Talkwalker Alerts to quickly find new features, and Dropbox for easy file-sharing. Google Suites also has a lot of features to help you streamline your operations. For real wedding submissions, try out Two Bright Lights or Matchology.
Simply put, there is a solution for everything nowadays. Remain open-minded and willing to try new apps and programs that will grow your business in new ways.
Get in the habit of housekeeping days.
Now, this is the real secret sauce. If you take nothing else from this post, commit this one to memory. Housekeeping days allow you to get out of the everyday weeds and clean shop. You know the feeling when your house feels fresh, clean, and organized? Imagine that in your business.
Set aside a day every quarter to focus on getting the administrative side of your business squared away. Take those big picture ideas and create a plan to execute them. Wish your website gallery was updated? Do it! Need to knock out an email sequence you’ve been putting off? Get it done.
Pick the quietest day of the week and make a recurring appointment on the calendar. Ours are usually Fridays at the end of the month since things are quieter and it allows us to plan for the month ahead. If you can’t do a full day, a half-day is better than nothing. It’s time to stop dancing around the PR strategy you know you need to execute. When you make it simple and streamlined, it will just become another part of your regular operations and you’ll see your business (and brand reputation) flourish without feeling like you’re sacrificing all of your valuable time.