If you work in PR, you know that time-management skills are vital to success. You usually work on multiple campaigns for a variety of clients at once, have many different types of meetings for each client, complete tons of outreach to high traffic media outlets, run social media campaigns, keep up with industry trends, and answer a multitude of emails every day – and that’s just part of your regular to-do list. But there’s a host of free online efficiency and organization tools to help PR professionals complete their tasks in a timely way.
Creating your to-do lists
There’s a variety of organization tools that can help you create and organize your to-do list for the entire day: Todoist, Astrid, Workflowy, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist, and more. My personal favorite, Workflowy is a minimalist productivity and time management app that stores information in an organized and non-overwhelming way. You can get creative and do whatever you want with it: create lists, take notes, and use it for brainstorming, projects, and outlines. This tutorial suggests that you start by splitting your lists into “Work” and “Personal.” Another favorite feature of Workflowy is the ability to organize lists in chronological order they need to be completed by simply dragging the items.
Toggl is a comprehensive time-tracking organization tool. Simply input your task, hit “start” and Toggl will begin tracking your time. If you download the desktop app and record your daily activity from this app, Toggl will show you what you actually accomplished, as well as every website you were on that day. This is a great way to show how and where you spent your time, especially if you bill your clients based on time spent on projects and campaigns.
Sure, you can use Word or Notepad to take notes, but what if you need to add something to your notes on the go? Or do you need to pull up a current version of an infographic during a client meeting? Evernote enables you to save and collect information, photos, notes, files or images that can then be brought up on any device or computer you use.
Trello can be used for daily tasks and individual and group projects. It organizes projects into boards and within each board, you can create cards. Once you click on a card, you can add multiple items like checklists, attachments, notes, and comments. You can add other individuals to projects, assign certain tasks to members and create due dates for each card.
Email Organization tools
Digital PR professionals live in their inboxes. Yesware is an extension that can track the success rate of your emails. Originally created for sales professionals, it can give PR pros insight into their email efforts. You can create templates for easy outreach automation. You can also see the open and click rates of each template – this way you know which template is the most successful and which ones you can omit. Yesware allows you to track 100 emails a month for free.
Studies have shown Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send emails because of a higher open rate. Have a lot of emails to send out Monday morning? Never fear, you can still write your emails and schedule them to deliver at a later date and time using Boomerang, a Gmail extension.
Keeping up with PR trends
Feedly is a magazine-style RSS feed organizer that allows you to put all of your favorite blogs into searchable categories. You can view all categories at once, go through each category individually and save articles to read later.
The possibilities are endless with IFTTT, a tool that “puts the Internet to work for you”. Here’s how to use IFTTT in your PR tactics:
- Create a Twitter list of people who use a certain hashtag
- Do you follow a favorite PR pro? Get an email when they write a new post. Or receive an email when they write a new post about a particular topic
- Create an Evernote note every time you save an article for later in Feedly
These tools can help you stay efficient and organized with all your PR tasks. How have the tools you use for PR helped you? Please let us know in the comments below!