7 tips to survive and thrive during a crazy media day
As a PR pro, you know the day you get a call from a reporter before 9 a.m., it’s going to be one of those days. One where your phone is ringing off the hook; your inbox is flooded more than usual; and when reporters who never email you, actually reach out.
If you haven’t already experienced one of these PR milestones, you will.
Whether it’s a company crisis, a breaking news event or a significant world event, here are 7 tips to help you survive (and thrive!) through a crazy media day.
1. Get ahead of it as much as possible. With many major global events, there are hints leading up to them. With crises situations, there are proactive ways to ensure you’re in the know and seen as a trusted counselor. With media, there are ways to build relationships to be seen as a source. All of these actions help to get ahead of situations you’ll encounter. Have materials, contact information, and policies in your back pocket so you’re set up for success as soon as that first phone call comes in.
2. Be as helpful as possible. Follow-up is okay. If you don’t have certain details or information, getting back to a reporter after doing some investigating is acceptable. Be mindful of transparency and timeliness--the stories reporters are working on likely come with a very tight deadline.
3. Stay organized. When things get hectic, details tend to get pushed aside. Try not to let that happen. Stay organized with media schedules, confirmed and pending interviews, and which reporters you need to get back in touch with. This will avoid that panicky moment when you know you have to do something, but can’t remember what it is.
4. Leverage your team. No one can manage a day like this on his or her own! Bring in other people from your team to lend a hand where you need it most. Whether it’s a manager or an assistant, don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that crises and difficult situations rally teams together.
5. Make sure everyone is on the same page. In addition to details, the other major point that gets lost in the hustle is to make sure everyone is aligned on what’s happening. Especially in a communications role, where we are responsible for keeping stakeholders informed with the most updated information, it’s imperative that we keep everyone on the same page. This includes key media, your internal team, and key decision makers. Can’t stress this enough!
6. Breathe. Don’t forget to inhale, exhale, and as one of my coworkers recently said to me, “Don’t forget to eat lunch!” It will help to keep you energized, focused, and calm. Oh and remember to hydrate!
7. When it’s over, learn from the experience. One of the most unforgettable moments during a crazy media day is when you can finally lean back in your chair and breathe out deeply. You stare at the wall for about 30 seconds, maybe take a quick walk in the hallway, and then come back to your desk. After that crucial moment of relaxation, take the time to make sure you’re still up-to-date on your to-do’s. And don’t forget to learn from your experience. It’s undoubtedly a milestone as a PR professional and will only make you stronger. So take a few minutes to think about what worked, what didn’t, and what you and your team can do better next time.
Have other tips for surviving a crazy media day? Share with us!
Julia Sahin works in corporate communications for financial services at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She plans on doing big things.Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.
Photo: Tired businesswoman via Shutterstock