I just realized that it’s been nearly two months since staff were told about my new role as publicity manager. It’s been a long transitional period. My awesome colleague Alex left us two weeks before the website launch which shifted the workload around a bit. My other teammate took most of it, but the little incidentals and knowledge base Alex managed soon showed up. So over the summer after the site launched, my time was spent catching up with all the publicity requests and answering questions. One-on-one requests popped up like flowers after a rainstorm. It was a busy time.
New Job Catch Up
Once I was placed into my new role, my first task was to interview department heads and key people about their publicity workflows. I also stuck questions in there about their hopes and pain points. This took place over the three weeks till I went on vacation. I was gone for two weeks. When I returned, it took four days to get through emails and to a point where I could breathe again. Within half an hour, I broke out in a sweat and came down with a stomach bug for two days. It wasn’t fun. However, dawn broke through while I was on vacation when we hired our new Senior Tech — the much needed fourth in our department.
Press Release Contacts Spreadsheet
So now here I am seven weeks into the new job and I created my first two spreadsheets. One to get the list of all PR contacts. My sheet has more columns than necessary, so I hid ones which I won’t use much (fax, home number). This is all kept in a folder on Google Drive.
The PR Contact sheet has these fields: Venue, Contact (how often/when), Website URL, Type (blog, newspaper), Name (of Contact), Email, Cell Number, Home Number, Fax, Twitter, Send them…? (meaning what their interest is), and Notes (best for fundraising). I created the multiple phone numbers and fax columns since one of the people have that as part of their contact info.
Press Release Template
Then I tried my hand at a Press Release template. I used the one my colleague Mallory uses and changed it to have my name on it as the contact person then wrote a draft of a new boilerplate info about the Library. When I sent it back to her, we discussed how to handle this tricky area and decided to keep her name on them. She would know more about the specific programs. My job here is to just send the emails outwards.
Publicity Knowledge Spreadsheet
Next I created a spreadsheet titled Publicity Knowledge. This is a place to track publicity duties and who is responsible for what and why. The above discussion about whose name goes on the PR is a good example of something to document. Right now I have six items on the list. As I go back over my meeting notes, I’ll likely fill in more spaces and figure out how to put that into my schedule.
I’ll take my first official step this week by sending out the PR pieces on Thursday morning. Next week I’ll take over our weekly events email. I’m excited about that since I was in charge of it before. Since I’m obsessed with email stats, I’m looking forward to all the little experiments I can try to improve what we’re doing. Mallory and my other colleagues have been so gracious in letting me set up A/B tests in the past. It’s just going to be great to control that from an end-to-end perspective. However, our individual event emails are still going to go through Mallory and the Children’s Library’s person. I’ll just be getting a schedule together to make sure we’re not bombarding patrons with emails.
Tomorrow I’m going on a field trip to meet a fellow publicity person at another library. I hope she likes Dunkin Donuts!