It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing about the Great Resignation and the impact it has had on dozens of industries. It’s not just the grocery stories and Starbucks taking the hit—professionals from all walks of life are leaving their jobs in droves in search of a better work-life balance. Here is how the great resignation is impacting freelance PR Pros.
In 2020 and 2021, employees got a taste of the simpler life and the benefits it brought, including working from home, avoiding long commutes, and calling into meetings in their shorts and pajama pants. For some, it became a necessity—they had children at home and there was no other form of childcare. Now that the world is getting “back to normal,” many of these employees found that this life suited them much better than the course they had previously pursued.
As remote public relations professionals, we already know about all the perks that working from home brings. Now that more individuals are choosing to work as solo PR practitioners, however, there are a few trends emerging:
Turnover with your clients
Your direct contact may be one of the people who wants to explore their next career move. It’s important to keep the relationship with both the client and the departing employee. Sometimes clients from three or four years ago will call from their new role and want to hire you because they liked both the work and the relationship. But you need to pay even more attention to the current client. They need to realize the exceptional work you’ve done to help raise awareness for their company.
One thing to prepare for: anyone new coming into the role might ask you to defend your work. You can do that by showing metrics of your successes on behalf of the client. Tools like Meltwater or MuckRack, while somewhat expensive, can be great at mapping out your coverage and the impact it has had. But regularly run Google reports can do much of the same, albeit without the fancy charts. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a smooth handoff from the departing employee either.
Dealing with WFH clients
While many companies are reinstating in-person workplaces, others have decided that not all employees need to be in the office full-time. You may have gotten a taste of your clients’ habits during the pandemic, but now is the time to reinforce some guidelines about expectations on both ends. Is it business as usual? What time of day (and what day of the week) is proper to have calls? Will you be on-screen or off-screen for meetings? What type of dress is appropriate? (Cue pajama pants!) Deciding this in advance will avoid any conflict down the road.
Just about every employee has thought one time or another about dropping their current role and becoming a freelance PR pro. Many, however, don’t realize the work that goes into the job. Remote PR pros not only have to deliver solid results on behalf of their clients, but they also need to be strong at business development so that new clients are always in the pipeline. Oh, and did we mention you need stellar bookkeeping skills, so you accurately bill for all your time? What about those 11 p.m. calls with your client’s customer that is halfway around the world? It can easily go from looking like a sexy, fun job to one that requires a lot of work. Not everyone is suited for the lifestyle. Remind your customers and prospects that you have deep experience working remotely and show them with the results you deliver.
Sharpening your skills
You may have taken advantage of the pandemic to hone your Zoom, Slack, WebEx or Teams skills, but what did you do on the PR front? If the answer is not much, it’s time to play catch up during any downtime you have. For example, if you know your client may soon be entering a vertical market, start to pay attention to that market by carving out time daily to get to know the publications and reporters, and what topics they cover. Not only will you be able to talk the talk with your clients, but you’ll also have better luck pitching that vertical because you know what they cover and what types of stories likely will resonate.
Employers are still scrambling to hire qualified people to fill open roles. It’s a great opportunity for remote PR pros to reach out and see where they can help fill those gaps. By staying nimble and being able to highlight your successes, you’ll be well on your way to setting yourself up for success in 2022 and beyond.