Confessions of an Account Exec: A Vacation from PR
Bridget M. Forney | MediaBuzz
The average American takes only 14 days of vacation a year. The average public relations professional takes even less.
We’re knee deep into summertime and as a PR pro, you’re probably still sitting at work looking out your virtual window, a.k.a. Facebook and Twitter, watching your friends frolic and play on tropical vacations, cruises and beach getaways. In PR, work doesn’t take a break, so we rarely get to either.
Aside from the steady influx of work, another element of public relations you don’t want to neglect is constant and consistent client interaction. When you sacrifice face time with your clients, you run the risk of surrendering credibility and respect. If you’re as committed to your social networks, taking off could be fatal to your online reputation. Lack of activity online could equate to a drop in followers or fans, which would take twice as much effort and work to recover when you return.
Even though finding the time for a break is a challenge, it doesn’t mean you don’t need one, starting yesterday. You’re only human and without a mental holiday, you could burn out quickly. Just be smart about when you take your time. The last thing you want is to be under fire for your holiday protocol, much like BP CEO, Tony Hayward and his unpopular yachting vacation in the midst of the Gulf’s oil crisis. Here are three simple steps to making your vacation from PR a success:
1. Your team is your biggest ally: Make sure your coworkers can cover for you if need be. Prepare them with a list of all your current projects with their statuses and a list of contacts, should they need to handle a project for you or any small inquiries from your clients.
2. Don’t jump off the radar: Stay accessible in some way to your clients. Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean the world stops turning. Crises still happen, releases still need to be sent, phones still need to be answered and Facebook still needs updating. Making yourself inaccessible is putting yourself at risk for a rocky catch-up.
3. Check your email at least one time every day. No one wants to be that guy whose fingers are incessantly glued to blackberry buttons and relentlessly checking emails, but there is a happy medium. You can keep your lifelines on and manage them without getting out of control and still enjoy your vacation.
And, of course, have fun. We may not get to completely unplug like the rest of the world, but we certainly keep it going sometimes.