I’m always looking for ways to make my job easier so I can be more productive. Working in a fast-paced industry like PR forces you to adjust your day on the fly, often leaving your schedule in shambles so you can jump on the breaking news that just popped in an effort to get your client some press. It’s fun, exciting, and why I love the industry – but it can also sap productivity and leave me wondering at times how I can be more efficient.
One way I’ve been able to improve my daily workflow is by taking advantage of some of the great technology that’s been created for just that purpose. If there’s a tool to automate process, improve my efficiency, or just flat out save me time, I’m always interested in giving it a look. I’m not adverse to help – especially if I know it’s going to make me better at what I do.
Below are a few of my favorite technology “helpers” that help boost my productivity.
I’m as guilty as anyone of living in my email (as most PR people do). I receive and send hundreds of emails a day, and at times my inbox is a disaster – sometimes I wish I could just turn it off to work for an hour in peace. With Boomerang’s Inbox Pause I can actually stop emails from coming into my inbox for any specific period of time, schedule emails to only be delivered in batches during hours I choose, and allow emails from only specific people (like that reporter I’m waiting to hear back from) while I’m heads down on an important new business proposal.
Boomerang has a ton of other great features for email too, which have helped me get as close to Inbox Zero (more like Inbox Seven) as possible, such as:
- Email scheduling, for sending at optimal times
- Follow-up reminders if someone doesn’t respond to your email
- “Boomeranging” messages out of your inbox to a later date
- Respondable: real-time analysis powered by AI to let you know if your email is likely to get a response (also an eye opener to learn how you write)
Speaking of email, one of the biggest drains of my day is dealing with all of the spam and junk that hits my inbox. As the PR contact for many clients, my email address often goes out on press releases, corporate websites, and other public-facing documents. As such, I get crushed with spam, and spending time vetting and deleting severely hinders my productivity.
Capsulink is a custom URL shortener that lets me convert my email address into a hyperlink, which helps to avoid being grabbed and stuffed into a spam campaign.
Even better, Capsulink also provides detailed click statistics, including which channels and geographical locations clicks are coming from. This is especially beneficial in social media campaigns and other digital marketing initiatives where we want to track activity driving traffic to certain landing pages. The metrics allow us to see our most successful channels and then adjust our campaign as needed.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a proponent of the hand-written to-do list. Anyone in my office will point to the scribbled and highlighted paper I keep next to my phone on my desk. It’s worked for more than a decade, but as I increasingly travel more and work remotely, I often find myself forgetting to bring the paper home. Enter Asana.
Asana is my electronic to-do list, but it really serves as a work management platform for PR and Marketing entire teams. I use Asana to track my tasks with due dates, what is prioritized, add long-term goals (like writing more of these blogs), and more. Some of our team members use Asana for similar purposes, helping them track and balance the daily tasks they juggle across multiple clients. It’s easy to use and super clean, and while I may never throw out my scribbled paper, it definitely has improved my productivity when I’m on the move.
What’s a tool that helps you get through the day? Comment below or track me down on Twitter @MattBretzius.