What could you do with 30 more hours each week?
Ah, the life of a PR professional. Endless excitement and stimulation. Meetings with celebrity influencers and TV personalities. A social calendar packed with glamorous parties and Michelin-starred restaurants in exotic cities all over the world.
Er …. no.
While that’s the perception of some people outside the communications team, you know the real working day of a PR expert isn’t like that at all. Yes, it has its high points – but the average day in the department is more a whirlwind of paperwork than a social whirl.
That’s the reality of work. And with technology now the key driver of the global economy, work effort has shifted to using apps: to create materials, collaborate on strategies, distribute what you create and gather data worth analyzing.
Every PR professional is also an expert applications user. And that’s the whole problem. We’ve become so good at using apps … we forget how much time we spend making them work together effectively. Our industry is notorious for having multiple apps for different tasks – even multiple apps for the same task. Which means energy gets wasted connecting all the inputs and outputs.
(As an experiment, try listing all the apps you’ve used in the last month. Now ask everyone on your team to do the same. Then do one more experiment: compare those lists to each other, and see how many applications duplicate work. You may be horrified at the inefficiencies that pop up.)
In fact, anecdotal research suggests that every two hours of productive work typically “cost” another six hours in unproductive effort. If that happens every day, you’ve put in 30 hours of energy-sapping busywork … in the last week alone.
No wonder you get home ready to drain that bottle of Merlot in a single gulp.
In this blog, you’ll find some answers to this dilemma. We’ll start by defining the overall problem, known to academics as transaction costs.
The tyranny of transaction costs
Whenever you approach a task – from strategizing on a million-dollar account to refilling the printer with paper – there are “side costs” in getting to the finish line, like booking meeting rooms or making a visit to the stationery closet. Economist (and Nobel Laureate) Oliver Williamson popularized these as transaction costs1, building on work from other big names of the past like management theorist Peter Drucker.
In your daily work, transaction costs are all those little things that take time and energy. Picking tasks up and switching between them; finding the right data; getting it into the right sharing format; checking every document and data point goes where it should.
Nobody enjoys these things. You might even agree they’re your principal pain points. So let’s go through those costly tasks, and see where energy can be saved.
1. The business end: creating materials
The core of your job is to create information that’s splashy enough to attract readers. (Or viewers, or scrollers, or listeners – you know the drill.) And while this is perhaps the easiest task to find an application for, what matters isn’t the content itself – it’s how the app connects to the audience you need to influence.
Needless to say, Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a problem here. They’re designed as standalone writing tools: great for creating content, useless for putting it in context with everything else. If you’re using standalone apps to write your material, there’s probably an hour a day of wasted time right there.
How Presspage combats the costs of creation
That’s why the core of Presspage uses a newsroom metaphor. It lets you answer the basic task of creating information with a headline and content – but in a standard format and context (including things like Author attribution and Tags) alongside all your other releases. And because it’s specifically designed for PR professionals, it does useful things like inherit structure and content from previous things you’ve written, too.
"This morning it took me less than ten minutes to publish a release in both German and English! That’s a big improvement on our previous workflow."
2. In the office: collaborate with colleagues
Of course, no communication is created in a vacuum. From new product announcements to financial reports, you’ll have to gather information and make decisions about how to present it. Traditionally that meant meetings, room bookings, conference calls, and all the other detritus that eats into the working day. Made even more frustrating in recent years, obviously.)
A huge factor in organizing this collaboration is deciding who needs to do what, when. (Everyone knows meetings tend to lose utility in proportion to the number of people in them.) So: how can the first task (creation) connect to the second (collaboration)?
How Presspage copes with collaboration hassle
The magic ingredient is permissions. Everyone on your team has certain roles and responsibilities; Presspage lets team leaders assign those permissions within the application, so the right people review your work and get it out there. And “the right people” can be anywhere in the world: different offices, work-from-home staff, your agency partners. Presspage isn’t just the chat app – it’s the hub, putting the right tasks in front of the right people according to their roles. Could that be another hour or two of your day?
3. Materials distribution: up close and personal
Next, where the magic happens: getting your information to the broader audience needing to see it, from subeditors at media sources to independent trade publications and websites.
Decades ago, this meant smooth-talking journalists at newspapers; more recently, bad practices include blasting out the same release to thousands of media outlets. Both are suboptimal. The right way to distribute information is tailored, customized, aimed directly at the right audience with an understanding of what they want to see.
How Presspage gets the word out
That means personalization – as important when reaching out to a media outlet as an audience of consumers. Different pubs have different requirements and styles when considering what to publish; Presspage not only lets you customize each release for its audience, but distribute to that audience directly, in their language and with their preferences. It all adds up to more ink, more often. And of course, with Presspage a trusted source, your output stands less chance of being ignored.
4. Analyze results: insights into action
Once upon a time, PR was more art than science: make your best judgment of what happened, then close your eyes and cross your fingers. Those days are (long) gone. But without joined-up-thinking in your communications applications, it’s hard to gather the data that’s most useful in analysis, insight, and predictive ability.
This is the kicker: these days, data matters. But finding data isn’t enough; you’ve got to assess its viability, place it in context, turn it into formats your people can make use of. And if you try, it takes yet more of those hours.
How Presspage completes the circle
As an integrated application, Presspage makes it easy to gather insightful data. Because the data’s right there in the app from Day One! The details of each release; where it was sent; how widely it was seen. With, of course, the results visible, in simple charts and graphs anyone who’s ever seen a dashboard will understand.
CONCLUSION: more than the sum of the parts
That’s Presspage: all the parts you need, in one application available to everyone on your team – combining your diverse talent base into a smoothly functioning workflow. Banishing numerous transaction costs, and putting time back into your day.
Can it all put 30 hours back in your week? Maybe not. But why not see how close you could get? Talk to Presspage today.
1Oliver E. Williamson (1981). "The Economics of Organization: The Transaction Cost Approach" (PDF). The American Journal of Sociology. 87 (3): 548–577.