We all have those deliverables that need execution in a timely manner. We make an effort to note down what needs to be done or set in motion those activities necessary for achieving intended goals.
Simply put, we plan before hand and take the required steps needed for successful outcomes. To do this, we make a list of items or write down points to be considered.
Some refer to it as a checklist and others as a ‘to do’ list.
In the PR profession, if you want to execute your work meticulously, you certainly can’t avoid the checklist. This is because we sometimes get too busy while working simultaneously on other projects and find ourselves forgetting to execute certain activities.
I have had experience where forgetting to plan for what would seem trivial can easily lead to failure and disruption of the messaging one is trying to put across. I also wrote an article earlier on what entails a good PR plan. For one to be complete it has got to be accompanied with a checklist of activities to be executed.
At WMC Africa, we always ensure the use of a checklist which has worked for us successfully in serving our clients. We always ensure the following elements are included;
Executing an activity is a process; you simply don’t just jump from point A to D without going through point B. To make sure every step is catered for, we divide activities into different phases including;
The Preparation and Planning – This includes everything you do to organize for an activity. At this step you are putting things in motion such as booking a venue, drafting a guest list and so on, to ensure the event is locked down and happens.
Control – At this stage, we are simply taking into account all the preparations and planning. You use this stage to cement the previous process. Look at activities such as following up on invitations, if you had pitched for a media interview in the prep & plan stage, at this point you follow up with the editors for confirmations.
Execution – This in most cases is the actual day of the activity. Remember, you had a plan for what would happen on the D-day. Ensure your checklist has all the planned activities down on paper. This way you avoid missing nothing.
Post Event Activities– See our job does not end on the D-day of activities. This is when Post PR activities kick in. Elements such as distributing the press and photo releases further to online media or even media that failed to show up, following up with the stakeholders to ensure the intended objective was successful, an overview session meeting, Media monitoring etc. All these need to be included
While you are executing all these activities, how are you communicating to all the stakeholders including the client, service providers and other relevant parties? You need to identify what channel works best for each.
Is it via email, phone calls, a meeting or a mixture of all three? When you are looking at invitations, is it a card or and e-card. All these factors need to be clearly understood to guide you.
Who is responsible for the different activities you have included in the plan and checklist. Is it the client, is it the public relations team and if you have other partners on board, where do they fall on the checklist? All this has to be included to ensure everybody knows their roles and accountability is ensured.
This really depends on how much time you have between the day of briefing and the actual date of execution. Time lines really matter if your intent is to actually execute the activities in your plan. You have got to think of deadlines, because this will guide you on achieving most of your deliverables. Remember in PR the time factor counts big time!
Look at this stage as the ticking box stage. It may seem trivial, but it will help you gauge how much you have achieved over a certain period of time. If your status indicates ‘Not Yet started’ and yet you are past the deadline, you are certainly running behind schedule in achieving your goals and objectives.
You don’t want to start panicking and yet you have got a number of other things running alongside this very activity.
Remember, every stakeholder has the checklist and is very aware on who is accountable for what and to whom. So keep up with the game by always checking your list.