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The Importance of Staying Flexible in PR

Published: June 16, 2016       Updated: June 15, 2024

3 min read

Recently I took some time off to visit Big Bend National Park for a couple of days. I was excited to hike and camp, and while I didn’t know exactly what to expect, I wasn’t prepared for all the plans I had to fall apart. To make a long story short, my stay in Big Bend was much shorter than expected and I had to change plans quickly.

You can plan and be as prepared as possible, but in reality there is no guarantee things will go smoothly. I realized that learning this lesson in real life translates seamlessly to my career in public relations. This industry is a solid example of having to change plans at the drop of a hat. Whether it’s re-prioritizing your workload or changing targets on a major pitch, you never know when you’ll be thrown for a loop.

Overcoming obstacles, big or small, can be difficult. Not to use another cliché, but it’s true that with a “never give up” attitude and a willingness to adjust, you can achieve your goal. I’ve worked my way through a few of these situations recently–maybe my experience can provide the inspiration you need to power through a tough situation.

Always Have a Back Up Plan, Or Two…

So you’ve drafted the perfect pitch, researched the publications and reporters you want to target, and now you’re ready to spread the word. But what happens if you pitch all your prospective reporters and get no response? This can get discouraging, but don’t let it get you down! The right reporter is out there. Follow up with a phone call–many times you can get great information by just picking up the phone. If you’re still without a response of any kind, head back to the drawing board, research additional reporters and gauge their interest.

Recently, I had a briefing scheduled between a client and a reporter in order to discuss a new product announcement. When it came time for the call, the reporter never dialed in and I had no luck getting in touch with him the rest of the day. These types of situations can easily make you frazzled; instead, calmly explain to your client that you will reschedule the call once the reporter responds. Just remember to always keep moving forward, especially if you are working on a time-sensitive project.

Be Ready to Shift Tasks as Needed

In PR, you’ve probably learned by now that a well-made to-do list can go straight out the window at any given minute. But don’t throw it out just yet. When assignments or requests from clients demand attention sooner, take care of them without forgetting about your original to-do list! Adjust your day and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If a request from a client or team member comes through, ask for a deadline–maybe it’s not as urgent as it seems. Looping back to your original priorities, and making sure ad hoc requests are organized according to importance will help you identify tasks as urgent or important in order to give them the proper amount of attention at the right time.

In the thick of things, don’t forget to ask for help. Planning is important but so is the ability to be flexible in times that call for it. Rarely does a day go the way you plan, in life or in business. So be ready to adjust quickly and be willing to explore new strategies when nothing goes as planned!

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