Systems & Software Every Solo PR Pro Needs

Written by Michelby Whitehead I graduated from college in mass communication with a concentration in public relations in 2008. Many of my on-campus jobs were PR-related, so I didn’t necessarily seek an internship at an agency for that sole reason. In addition to that, I enjoy working alone and making my own hours. Once I started working for myself, I felt the only thing I could ever miss about an agency were the company retreats and award ceremonies. I later ate those words… Interning or working for an agency would have enlightened me on so many things, especially the systems and tools that were imperative to making my workload easier as a one-woman show! If you are a solopreneur who finds yourself overwhelmed and unorganized in public relations I highly recommend the following:

1. Invest in a scheduling system

Ten years ago, much of my clientele were people that I met on Twitter. Because I did a lot of social media marketing, it was only natural that potential customers would start a conversation about services in the DM. The problem is scheduling a consultation became more complicated than it needed to be.  When I would send a message with the day and time that worked for me, the person wouldn’t read the message until days later or the date I selected didn’t fit their schedule, and we never found one that did! Today, I use an online scheduling system faithfully. The potential client can see what my availability is weeks in advance and choose what’s best for him or her. Acuity and Calendly are two great platforms to try that won’t break the bank.

2. Get a planner (you’ll actually use)

I heavily relied on my phone to set reminders for important meetings and events. Sooner than later I realized that wasn’t working for my short attention span. I’d pick up the phone with intentions to scroll to my calendar and input stuff… then I’d be on YouTube looking at videos. Needless to say, this resulted in me missing deadlines for submitting proposals, attending mixers, etc. If you’re a productive yet slightly haute mess such as myself, you need a planner you can hold. I recently discovered the Jay Planner and I love it! This planner has been a life saver for me because it has the capability to charge my iPhone and my laptop in addition to practical pages to write down all the big idea sand happenings of my PR life. Moral of the story? Find a planner that works for you and use it diligently; your business can’t flourish if it’s unorganized.
I’d pick up the phone with intentions to scroll to my calendar and input stuff… then I’d be on YouTube looking at videos.

3. Make Client on-boarding easy

Once you get the client to agree to your proposal for services… What in the heck do you do with them? When I began this journey, I was letting people email me a bio here, a headshot there and if I was lucky, they’d send it within the first 30 days of us working together.  This method of collecting data and sending invoices had me scavenger hunting  through emails trying to retrieve files and recent conversation with the client. Can you say headache?    If you are able to invest in a sophisticated system like Basecamp or Dubsado, go for it. Both allow you to do a trial run of the software before you make a commitment. If these are not in your budget, you can always create a Google Doc to capture client information and store assets such as video footage, pictures, and other important documents. What systems or tools can you not live without? Help another PR sister out! About Michelby Michelby Coco Whitehead is a bayou belle who specializes in getting entrepreneurs seen in media like A-list celebrities! Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @cococurator for branding, business tips, and black girl magic. You may also like: BILLS BILLS BILLS: WHAT PR TOOLS ARE WORTH PAYING FOR? BEHIND THE OPERATIONS OF PR COUTURE: 12+ TOOLS WE USE TO RUN THE BUSINESS  

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If you’re looking for a quick, but effective way to map out a PR strategy for the next few months this PR Action Planner will prove to be a huge help. It’s a combination of a Plan of Action (POA) and an Accountability Tracker (AT), tools used by top agencies to organize campaign strategy, timely outreach and results tracking.

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    Here are three tools and systems to put into place to thrive as a solo publicist.