Digital PR

Custom Wrike Space For Digital PR Success

Avatar for Catherine Hansen

Catherine Hansen
Digital PR Team Lead

Graphic representing Wrike (Digital PR space)
Graphic representing Wrike (Digital PR space)

I spent over 60 hours building my team’s custom project management space. Here are the key takeaways. 

Google Sheets vs. Wrike

Do you have that one organizational method that works but that you also can’t stand at the same time? That system has become routine and easy to implement in the short term but is not productive in the long term. It’s not user-friendly, and when you think about changing it or even having to come up with training material for your team, it becomes so overwhelming and stressful that you avoid it and go on to the next task to complete. 

Well, that was me exactly one year ago. Many project management and leadership question marks surrounded me. Can a better system help my team and me track our ongoing projects better? Do I even have the time to create a new system for my team? Will a new system contribute to better results? Will it be too hard to get the team used to new processes?

I transferred over 7+ years of data from various Excel sheets into a custom Wrike space for the Digital PR department. Here is what I learned and how my team and I continue to learn to improve our department and achieve world-class results.

Take time to wonder the possibilities of new processes

One thing I learned in the past year is to hone in on our skills and to take time to discover how these skills can be discovered and how they can be applied to your own department. In Patrick Lencioni’s The 6 Types of Working Genius Assessment, I learned one of my skills to the Genius of Wonder, “The natural gift of pondering the possibility of greater potential and opportunity in a given situation.” 

I turned my frustrating Excel sheet, Google Docs and note-pad tracking system into a game-changer project management system for my team. It was time to brainstorm. 

Turn? Into! 

I love being surrounded by question marks—the unknown, the undiscovered, the dawn of innovation. 

With more complex world-class clients, it was time our processes surpassed expectations. 

Rather than using yet another project management tool, I review our existing tools to see what we can make happen. 

seoplus+ uses Wrike, a project management software that streamlines all tasks and projects, customizes workflows, and allows cross-department collaboration to achieve results. 

In Digital PR, our department is highly fast-paced; things change in hours and even minutes; therefore, it is essential to have a tool that can allow for seamless communication and collaboration across projects, departments, and time zones. 

A custom space is a time for investment

Yes, I know you might be thinking, I don’t have 60 hours to build a space, and I hear you. The space was built after various iterations, updates, excellent feedback from my team, and many trials and errors. It’s important to remind yourself of the purpose behind your project. 

Transferring over 7+ years of data from various Excel sheets and manually inputting data and results from clients who have been clients for years was tiring at moments, but I found joy in reminding myself of the end goal. 

Enhanced communication & clarity 

Digital PR is fast-paced, but things often get lost in internal communications, especially if your process could be more clear and more scalable for complex projects. We are constantly communicating with media members, our clients, our team, and other departments, making it crucial that our collaboration system is working with us. This communication system needs to be seamless and as straightforward as possible. 

With our Excel sheet process, when we would coordinate projects within our team, we were adding all opportunities and inputting notes, but the format was not readable and not editable if multiple people were working on the sheet; it would often result in a project getting missed, or the team getting frustrated. 

Now, with the new space, it is much easier to coordinate various projects with multiple users. Whether through our Digital PR reactive strategy efforts on Qwoted and “Help A Reporter” (HARO, now Connectively), a proactive strategy such as guest blogs, interviews, or new updates to the space, simply by tagging your colleague, they will be alerted of the new changes. I could share updates with the team during our meetings by screen-sharing or recording a walkthrough video. 

We work as a unit in our department, but some members own different projects and lead various meetings. Our space can easily track updates, filter by status and deadlines, and help us save time.

Find automation & customizations 

Talking about saving time, how much time are you thinking about a specific blocker or “there must be a better way” question? I’ve been keen on the past couple of attitudes, “you never know until you try,” “what if this could work,” “why not,” “reframe your mindset,” and “short-term pain, long-term gain.” 

Suppose I spent time wondering about a specific blocker or challenge; I would spend time brainstorming with our operations team to see if these ideas could be turned into automation and if there was a customization that would make our lives easier. 

Be accountable for feedback & routine updates

As great as automation is to save time, it is essential that these spaces and projects are updated with new information and that related campaign tasks are appropriately delegated and flagged as a priority. 

As our team implements other process updates, the space will always rely on its people to operate effectively. The space has become another communication platform for our team, which holds the importance of Gmail and Slack. 

The PR team is utilizing the space in their daily efforts, and the benefits have been outstanding. Our results doubled this year. They are comfortable sharing feedback and expressing ways where the space could be improved and work better for them. 

Space fatigue and overwhelm are a thing

I do love the new space, but one takeaway is that fatigue is real with a new process. Again, once you get familiar with something, your short-term efforts might become sloppy, but you can’t lose sight of the long-term benefits for your team. 

The space started out with various folders in hopes of best categorizing, but it resulted in communication overload and information confusion, often with “Catherine, where is this again?” and I would often say, “Umm, let me check…oh wait, I actually just updated it.” 

I am learning that condensing information, using emojis, or finding ways to make processes more visually appealing with drop-down menus are scalable process improvements. 

Creating a custom project management space for my team was a game changer and one of the best decisions I made this year (along with visiting Iceland and Denmark). I am excited to continue refining the space, making customizations, training new team members, sharing the benefits of the space with other departments, and getting world-class results for our clients! 

Avatar for Catherine Hansen

Catherine Hansen

Catherine Hansen is the Digital PR Team Lead at seoplus+. She has worked at seoplus+ since 2019 in the Digital PR and Social Media departments. Catherine is very passionate about empowering her team and helping clients land PR placements and be recognized as trusted thought leaders. Catherine and her team have achieved notable placements in Forbes, Globe and Mail, Reader's Digest, New York Times, and Business Insider +!

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