How to Stay Productive While Traveling for a Client

At Dittoe PR, we have the privilege of working with an abundance of national clients located across the United States. Keeping in touch with these clients regularly is easy (shout-out to technology), but on the occasion we need to connect with them for a strategic meeting, conference, event or face-to-face check-in, we find ourselves packing our bags and hitting the road.

 

As enjoyable as it is to take a break from the day-to-day office tasks and strategize with our clients over a cup of coffee or assist in putting on a major event, it can also be stressful at times. Back home in Indianapolis, the workdays carry on. Our email inbox doesn’t magically halt and each client’s account teams are still expected to execute efforts and drive results. So how do we, as professionals with multiple clients or projects, stay productive during travel? Well, with practice, planning and discipline, of course!

 

Plan Ahead.

Working with account teams has its perks, but don’t leave them hanging! Be sure to prepare your teams before you leave to ensure they are aware of travel plans, availability for communication and client work, and the best way to reach you.

 

A good rule of thumb is to schedule a quick meeting to hammer out any last-minute projects that need finished up before you leave or hand off any unfinished business that will need attention while you are traveling. At Dittoe PR we often collaborate on shared “planners” to track projects and priorities, so everyone is on the same page regardless of schedules. That way both parties feel prepared and confident to handle anything that comes their way.

 

Wi-Fi Works Wonders.

Whether you find yourself on a long flight or road tripping, the uninterrupted time to yourself may produce hours of productivity otherwise lost. If you are on a plane for an extended period, it may be a good idea to invest in Wi-Fi to research, write or answer emails.

 

On the other hand, if you are passenger on a road trip and able to work in a moving car, bring a hotspot to get some work done! If Wi-Fi access isn’t an option, preparing notes for an upcoming meeting, creating content or scheduling priorities will keep you cool, calm and collected while on the road.

 

Inbox Insecurities?

The dreaded inbox. Everyone hates to think about their inbox when they are away. It may be scary to think about, but there are ways to take control. If you have the ability to respond in real-time, take a few minutes to respond from your phone. If it’s going to take more of your time, flag the email and wait until you get to a quiet space where you can respond from a computer.

 

If you are on a work trip where you won’t be able to check your email as often as you would like, set up an email schedule to help balance the workload. Check and respond to emails a few times a day, for example, at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Setting an out of office message, directing urgent emails to a colleague, will also help to lighten the load.

 

All the Apps.

On the road your phone is always with you. That’s why it is so important to make use of apps on your phone that will help assist with work tasks. Get things checked off your to-do list in quick 10-20-minute periods while waiting for a client meeting to start, standing in line at the airport or waiting for a keynote speaker.

 

Some of the best apps to download are Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Drive and Slack (Dittoe PR’s personal lifeline).

 

Time To… Relax?

Traveling for a client can be extremely exhausting, so don’t forget to take some time for yourself! Make it a point to try out a new local restaurant, see the sights or visit a museum. You’ll never regret making time to explore. Even if you aren’t much of an adventurer or you don’t have time to see the sights, take a break at the end of each night and give yourself some quiet time. This will keep you energized and ready to take on the next day!

 

Work travel can disrupt day-to-day life, especially to anyone with a type A personality. Luckily, armed with the right tools to help us get through chaotic moments of traveling, we are able to navigate our workload with confidence.

 

Ready for us to come visit you? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.

Five Life Skills Gained Through Public Relations

There’s no denying that my skillset has grown vastly since I began my career at Dittoe PR back in 2015. From starting as an intern to now leading our intern program, I have my all-star team of coworkers to thank for teaching me the ins and outs of public relations. I’ve learned how to be proactive, how to think like a journalist, how to navigate a PR crisis and several other areas of expertise that you can’t really learn in a classroom setting.

 

While there are several things that can be taught, other life skills that come naturally by trade. Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain (and grow) the following life skills through my time working in public relations:

 

Adaptability.

One of the first things I learned when I first started in the PR world is how to be f-l-e-x-i-b-l-e. Being able to adapt to other’s schedules or navigate a change of plans it imperative in our industry. I can recall on several occasions where I’ve sent something to a client for approval, only to be told that the core details have since changed. Being able to adapt quickly will not only help you grow in the fast-paced world of PR, but with our ever-changing lives.

 

Awareness.

I’ve learned how important it is to be aware of what’s going on in the world and around me. This stems back to my high school and college journalism classes, where we were required to take current events quizzes. While they were slightly annoying at the time (sorry Professor Bridge), I’ve realized how vital it is to know what’s going in our world. In our industry, I’m constantly following trends and reading up on current events, which can help with newsjacking efforts for clients.

 

Being up-to-date of current events is a life skill that you can carry throughout your life. It can expand your general knowledge and can help you make more informed decisions. Plus, knowing what’s going on in the world can help your general communication skills when it comes to networking events or chatting with your peers.

 

Confidence.

I had to grow pretty quickly in a small office setting. With a team of less than 20, I’ve been assigned tasks in the past that were new to me. I had to build my confidence and sometimes put on a “fake-it-‘til-you-make-it” face. My first in-studio segment? I obviously had never been to one, let alone attended one by myself, but I had to muster up the courage and confidence and act like it was my twentieth time going in-studio with a client. I’ve been faced with several similar instances since and will likely continue to for the rest of my life, but being thrown into these situations has helped me gain the confidence I’d probably never have if I worked in a different office setting.

 

Persistence.

In the world of PR, you have to be persistent. Emails get buried in inboxes and often go unseen by the media. Don’t give up if you haven’t heard back, and don’t be shy following up or tweaking your pitch! Sometimes it can take several follow ups before a reporter agrees to do a story. While this is a more obvious skill for our industry, this is something that has translated into other areas of my life (planning a wedding, hearing back from a consultant, etc.). If you don’t hear from someone right away, don’t give up!

 

Time management.

Deadlines. We all love them. After joining the Dittoe PR team full time, it took me some time to figure out a good time management system. There are several tasks we must complete during the day, but it’s ultimately up to us on how we divvy that time up. Giving yourself and your team internal deadlines and setting expectations on how long a project should take will help when trying to figure out how to manage your 40-hour work week. This goes outside of the office, too – setting goals for yourself, like finishing a book once a month or working out three times a week, will help give you a better understanding of how to manage your time wisely.

 

While I can go on and on about all the life skills I’ve learned while working public relations, I feel like these skills have not only helped me grow professionally, but personally, too. If you’re a student interested in an internship at Dittoe PR (and gaining some of these skills), please send your resume with references, cover letter and three diverse writing samples to vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

Three tips for telling great brand stories through public relations

Everyone has said to someone, “I have a story to tell you.” Our brains are hardwired to tell and listen to interesting stories, not just facts or data.

 

Public relations professionals discuss storytelling all the time and do it every day, yet the term seems to have evolved into a buzzword in our industry. So, how do you define brand storytelling in PR?

 

At Dittoe PR, we are strong believers that every brand, company and founder have a compelling story to share. From advice on bolstering employee engagement to the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste, every company can and should be an expert within their industry through brand storytelling. With diligent research and an eye for tying in relevant news angles (i.e. newsjacking), we specialize in developing compelling story angles to regularly generate prominent media coverage for our clients.

 

The tips below demonstrate the power of storytelling in PR and what it really means to tell stories on behalf of a brand.

 

The best brand stories are, in fact, stories.

At Dittoe PR, we pitch stories – not companies, products or services. We don’t tell stories that blatantly sell. For example, we recently successfully pitched a story about an Indianapolis father raising awareness and funds to help people, including his daughter, who are suffering from an incurable disease.

 

Storytelling was the most important part of this project. Our goal wasn’t just to land media hits, but to tell an extensive story – written by the perfect reporter – with the goal of reaching readers who will act. While collecting donations was one of the primary goals of the media relations campaign, building awareness about the disease was also a priority the client wouldn’t have been able to achieve without a customized pitch to tell this story. The story landed the front page of The Indianapolis Star, a top 100 newspaper.

 

The best brand stories initiate social change.

Another extraordinary example of successful brand storytelling was Lonely Whale’s Strawless in Seattle campaign.

 

Although the month-long campaign generated nearly 250 stories in the media and an advertising equivalency of close to $3 million, on a social impact level, Strawless in Seattle was ultimately more successful than the team ever imagined. As a result of the campaign, the city of Seattle announced they were banning plastic straws effective July 1, 2018. This summer, we’ve obviously seen a huge domino effect of companies and other cities doing the same.

 

The best brand stories bring real results for clients.

Through media hits, giveaways and influencer stories, PR and social media, storytelling positions Ironworks Hotel Indy as a trendy Indianapolis travel destination. This strategy has significantly boosted the hotel’s social interactions and followers across all platforms. When a local Indianapolis social influencer hosted a giveaway on her Instagram page for an Ironworks giveaway, the hotel gained nearly 400 followers in one day.

 

The metrics gained as a result of PR efforts are the best way to know where our stories are being told well. When PR pros tell compelling client stories to the right reporters at the right publication, their clients reach the right audience. That, in turn, engages with the brand and increases positive brand awareness and/or action.

 

Ready for us to tell your brand’s story? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.