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.

Interview Prep Sheets: Turn a good interview into a great one

While Dittoe PR offers an array of different services for clients, our bread and butter is media relations. We’re constantly working with reporters to secure media opportunities for our clients. Since we believe no two clients are alike, that also means every client interview is as important as the next. Whether it’s a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, we have found that the value of an interview prep sheet can help turn a good interview into a great one.

 

So, you’re ready to draft an interview prep sheet – now what?

 

The following items are must-haves when developing a prep sheet:

 

  • Date/time: Arguably the most important thing to include. Place this at the very top of your prep sheet, and possibly two or three more times throughout the prep sheet.

 

  • Address/call info: If the interview is taking place offsite, include the address of the location. Hyperlink the address to Google Maps, that way all the interviewee has to do to is click the link and pull up directions. If the interview is taking place over the phone, include the conference line or direct line information.

 

  • Background/opportunity: Include background information about how this opportunity was secured. Reiterate the name of the outlet, the reporter’s name and what he/she is interested in talking about.

 

  • Interview topics: List out topics the interviewee should be prepared to talk about. This information can be pretty generalized, but it gives your client a better idea on what he or she will be talking about during the interview.

 

Depending on the type of client and/or interview, you can add additional information to your prep sheet. Say the interview is with the CEO of the company and not your day-to-day contact – the CEO may want or need more information to help prepare for the interview, especially if it’s with a top-tier, national outlet. If you’re going the extra mile, these items are good to include in your prep sheet:

 

  • Type of interview: Is this a phone or in-person interview? A live or taped TV segment? Including this simple information can help your client mentally prepare for the type of interview.

 

  • Length of interview: Including the estimated length of the interview can help the interviewee plan out the rest of his or her day. It can also help interviewees map out what they are going to say and make sure they have enough content to talk about.

 

  • Reporter’s name: It’s good for the interviewee to have some background info on the interviewer. Along with including the reporter’s name, include a link to his or her bio page or Twitter. Take it a step further by including recent stories written by that reporter, too.

 

  • Potential questions/key messages: This section can be extremely beneficial. While reporters rarely share their interview questions, it’s good to include what you think could be potential questions the reporter could ask. Including key messaging can help craft answers for the potential questions, too.

 

  • Media training tips: We typically include this section for clients that may not have extensive media experience. For example, we use district sales managers at retailers across the country for local TV segments. This may be the only time a district sales manager participates in a media interview, so they may need more guidance than our day-to-day contacts. By including this section in a prep sheet, we provide a quick rundown of what to expect during the interview. We provide tips on how to dress, how to get messaging across, and how to be mindful of body language. This helps in-person interviews be more fluid and natural.

 

  • What to bring: This portion is only needed if a client is bringing something to an in-person interview. If it’s a TV segment, it’s important to have visuals for the interview. List out the items that the client needs to bring, or list out suggested options.

 

Preparing your client with the right tools and information in an interview prep sheet can make a world of difference when it comes to an interview with the media. Think your business could benefit from media relations? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.

Tips for Responding to Customer Feedback on Social Media

Maintaining a presence on social media allows brands to connect with consumers on a more personal level and participate in online discussions related to their products, industry and more. With 81 percent of Americans actively using social media and more than 58 percent of users engaging with brands one to three times per day, it’s clear that consumers prefer to communicate with brands online.

 

Regardless of the engagements sentiment, when customers engage with your brand online, it is important to make them feel heard. There are a number of ways to respond to customer feedback on social media, so we’ve outlined a few tips to help:

 

Respond in real time.

Consistently monitoring your brands social media accounts will allow for quick action. Some platforms, like Facebook, even show users what your brands average response time is to encourage brands to monitor in real time.

 

If a customer reaches out with feedback via social media, a response should be posted – whether it be liking the comment, responding in kind, or assisting to escalate a customer service issue – within 24 hours at the most.

 

Personalize.

The last thing a customer wants is to just feel like their voice is not being heard. When responding to engagements online, personalize your response as much as possible to show your appreciation for their feedback.

 

If you’re using a bot to respond to customer service messages, be sure to follow up with a personal note to make sure the issue has been resolved.

 

Maintain a brand presence.

Does your brand have a team of social media responders? If so, it’s necessary to outline approved responses and provide employees with a brand guide. This will help to present a uniform face to customers, while still allowing your brand to engage naturally online.

 

If you don’t have brand guidelines established, revisit your social media strategy and reference any key messages outlined.

 

Take it offline.

When responding to negative comments online, brand should remember not to dwell on the negative, but to treat the feedback as an opportunity to grow. Ask the customer to send a direct message through the platform by which they originally engaged your brand. This will allow you to troubleshoot, ask for personal information, and more without leaving the platform.

 

Offer a solution.

There will always be people you just can’t please. And that’s okay as long as your brand is actively working toward a solution with its customers! Ensure that your team is offering uniform solutions and staying on brand when resolving customer service issues.

 

Need help building a strategy that works for your brand? Contact Lauryn Gray, lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today!