PR spring clean: KonMari your comms

PR spring clean: KonMari your comms

Like many people, I’ve become a bit obsessed of late with Marie Kondo and her brilliant new Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. As someone who has always been meticulously organised professionally and hopelessly disorganised personally, her approach has really helped simplify my life outside of work!

Spring is a great time to give your PR programme a review, so I wondered if the KonMari method could be a useful framework for tackling the challenge head on. Turns out, it’s a handy way to focus the mind for that all-important PR spring clean!

First things first, what is the KonMari technique?

For the uninitiated, the KonMari method is a system of six rules for simplifying your possessions and organising your home, by getting rid of physical items that do not bring joy into your life.

So, let’s see how they can spruce up your PR and comms!

Rule 1: “Commit yourself to tidying up.”

Like any spring clean, you need commitment and time away from the day-to-day when reviewing your PR - otherwise it’ll just become another item on the ‘never-never’ list! So set appropriate time aside and treat it as a task in its own right. The easiest way to do this might be giving someone on your team the responsibility for making it happen or bringing in someone externally who can offer a fresh pair of eyes.

Rule 2: “Imagine your ideal lifestyle.”

OK so we’d all love that Jonathan Adler-esque, stylish yet functional home life. But what’s your PR equivalent? Defining what your ideal PR programme looks like from the get-go is crucial.

Where do you want your PR to take you in the next quarter? What gaps do you have in your assets, messaging or skills that might prevent you from getting there? Are there any commitments in your programme that are holding you back from achieving this? What boring-but-necessary processes do you need to put in place?

Rule 3: “Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, thank each item for serving its purpose.”

Nearly every PR closet has a story or message in it that really doesn’t spark the requisite joy in your comms team! Maybe it’s a story that’s been pitched to death, a spokesperson that unfortunately isn’t all that inspiring or simply a message that’s not getting cut through.

Try removing this from your PR repository and see if that helps focus energies on the assets your team and external audiences can get excited and enthused about. Taking the time to review what you liked about it before you bin it can help inform what you do next.

Rule 4: “Tidy by category, not location."

Too many PR teams think about what they want to push out there, rather than what the media need and want from them. So instead, try thinking about the different routes into the media at your disposal - such as features, news stories, news hijacking, events, social - then review and tidy up your current content and ideas to match.

For example, what is topical and in the news that you have a view on? Is your position clearly defined? Do you have a process in place for spotting opportunities? If not, prioritise fixing this.

Rule 5: “Follow the right order.”

This stage is all about avoiding distractions. The KonMari method says leave sentimental items until last - if you start by looking through old family photos, you’ll quickly run out of time for the more practical things like clothes.

Similarly with PR, start by getting the basics right - set up better processes, review messages or organise your case studies, before you move onto the more exciting passion projects.

Rule 6: “Ask yourself if it sparks joy.”

This last point is an opportunity to take stock of your entire PR programme and ask if it now excites you. If not, what’s missing? Do you need an injection of creativity? Some new ideas?

For everyone’s sake, you need ideas and processes that people across your business or agency can get behind, champion and support.

By creating a PR programme which sparks joy across your organisation, hopefully you’ll soon start to spark joy in external audiences as well!

A clear business case for a new way of working

A clear business case for a new way of working

My top 3 PR campaigns of 2018

My top 3 PR campaigns of 2018