I often get blank stares when I tell people I am a public relations professional because many have no idea what public relations means, let alone what I actually do.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines it this way:
"Public relations is a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organization and their publics."
In my experience, public relations (PR) activities are typically done in-house through your marketing or communications team, or are outsourced to an agency.
See "11 Useful Project Management Tools for Marketing Teams" for a list of solutions to help make your team more effective.
Whether done in-house or through an agency, a PR professional's core responsibility is to build relationships with a target audience—typically media, analysts, customers, and top influencers within a specific industry.
So now that we have established what PR is, let's explore what work management really means. (Note: The terms work management and project management are often used interchangeably.)
"Work management is a set of software products and services that apply workflow structure to the movement of information as well as to the interaction of business processes and human worker processes that generate the information."
So you might be asking, "How do public relations and project management go hand-in-hand?"
When you think of job roles that typically use work management or traditional project management solutions, project managers and IT professionals are the ones that come to mind.
However, public relations professionals should be the ones asking to use a project management solution to manage their campaigns, press release processes, and day-to-day work because of the structure, visibility, and organization it provides to the way work is done.
Here are three things PR pros should look for when purchasing a project management solution:
1. Proofing Capabilities
All PR pros know a piece of collateral will go through many… many… rounds of proofing before it ever sees the light of day.
By having a solution that allows proofing to be done within the project management tool itself, all comments and changes made by stakeholders are automatically collected in a single place.
Also, version control becomes a piece of cake, because everyone is proofing the most current version of the document.
2. Real-Time Collaboration
PR pros are busy, and I think we can all agree that we do not have time to sit in unproductive meetings. Project management solutions, like Workfront, are great for eliminating unnecessary status meetings.
Instead, status updates can be done in real time, in line with the project, and in one place—and they're accessible to everyone involved in the project. Another bonus, there is no longer the need to fish through a sea of emails to find an update on a project.
3. Approval Processes
How many of us dread sending out the wrong version of a press release? Never wonder again if your stakeholders approved a document because, voilà—like magic—a good project management tool will have a setting where you can request the stakeholder to mark the asset as approved.
I often say that I don't know how I could ever work anywhere that doesn't have a work management solution in place, because it really has helped me stay on top of the many balls that are constantly in the air.
I also wonder how I was able to get my work done for the years I didn't have access to a solution. The thought of going back to sticky notes, emails, status meetings, and spreadsheets to keep track of my work frightens me to the core. Luckily, advances in technology mean I'll never have to.
To get more tips on how to manage your public relations work, subscribe to our newsletter using the box in the upper-right corner of this blog post.
Our post "What Is The Best Project Management Software For You?" has even more tips for choosing the right software for your business.
Get Blog updates straight to your inbox