Managing Q4: Tips on staying productive during the busiest three months of the year

September 19th 2016

Managing Q4: Tips on staying productive during the busiest three months of the year

Back to school. Fashion Week. Holiday season. Year-end wrap-up. New Year trends and predictions. The fourth quarter is the busiest time of the year, and also brings many opportunities to ramp up PR efforts and secure successful results all the way through December 31. Here are some tips to apply internally to ensure a productive and meaningful Q4:

  • Get organized (possibly, before the storm!):

In late Q3, develop a calendar that showcases priorities, projects and events. The calendar should be visible to all staff and get updated on a weekly basis. It will help the team visualize what’s ahead, keeping everyone focused, motivated and engaged.

  • Create a work back schedule:

After assessing priorities for the next three months, create a work back schedule to complete the various tasks, setting deadlines and outlining steps to achieve the intended goals for clients. Managers should set clear deadlines for the team and ensure that everyone stays on tracks to follows the timeline discussed.

  • Timeliness:

More than ever, Q4 is the time to share relevant and timely pitches. Just like PR folks, media are scrambling to close the last issues of the year or provide seasonal, entertaining and engaging content for their readers. By refining your contact list and tailoring outreach materials to make sure you provide the most useful information to media and influencers in a timely manner at a decisive time of year, you will garner meaningful opportunities for clients.

  • Teamwork:

If you’re a manager, Q4 is the perfect time to rally the troops and make sure that the collaborative spirit is alive and well. For team members, now is the time to effectively rely on your co-workers and work as a team to tackle the end of year priorities and deliver results for clients. Make a point to over-communicate with your team members to prevent any easily avoidable mistakes.

  • Predict:

With back to school commercials airing in July and pumpkin spice lattes on Starbucks’ menus in August, one can predict that 2017 trend stories will start hitting right before December starts. An example from the food world – before you start seeing headline after headline talking about 2017 Food Trends, take a quick look at the industry and identify/predict what will replace the Cronut and Rainbow Bagel in Instagram feeds come January. Connect with clients to get their perspective and ensure they are part of stories that take a holistic look at the future of the industry.

  • Stay Ahead of the Game:

Start planning for 2017. Yes, there is no better time to think about next year than in the midst of Q4 chaos. Work with clients on looking beyond Q4 and start projecting for the following year. Outline clear goals, define new audiences to reach and get to work on new strategies and program developments. This way, when you come back refreshed from the holidays, you already have a plan in place that sets the team up for success.

  • Make Time for Family and Friends:

Yes, you already know that you will be spending time with Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy over the holidays. But making sure you set aside some quality time with family and friends throughout the last few months of the year will provide you with balance and perspective. It will also allow for a much-needed mental break and healthy moments to stimulate your professional stamina and keep your head in the game.


Amelie is an Account Supervisor on Mfa’s Travel & Hospitality division, leading a team that excels at reaching travelers and the food-obsessed community through integrated earned, owned, paid and shared media campaigns. A native of France, she developed a passion for food and travel at an early age and loves that her job allows her to explore the world and eat her way through the United States of America. 


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