Laura Petrolino

The PR Pro’s Guide to a Digital Declutter

By: Laura Petrolino | January 14, 2019 | 

The PR Pro's Guide to a 2019 Fresh Start Digital DeclutterNew year, new plan, new goals. Whether working in-house or living the agency life, as a PR pro each new year brings new communications plans to tackle, new goals to reach, and new opportunities to explore.  

It’s exciting and overwhelming and part of what makes our jobs so challenging AND so fulfilling.

Hopefully, you already have a solid start on the awesomeness of your 2019 and that fresh start motivation of Jan 1st still burns strong after a week back to reality.

No matter what your goals this year, in order to make room for the new you need to move out the old. So let’s start fresh and declutter our professional lives.

This week we are going to do a digital declutter. Over the next several weeks we will also look at your clients and partners and your habits and out of date processes.

These posts will be your checklists to make that happen.

And now let’s start with some digital minimalism! Ready?

Digital Declutter Must: Your Email

If you haven’t started using Sanebox, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

It’s not like we don’t talk about it enough on this blog.

So that’s the first place to start our digital declutter. Set-up Sanebox. Now. Immediately.

Gini discusses more about how amazing Sanebox is here.

(If you use any of the Sanebox links above to sign up, I’ll get $5 towards my yearly subscription. Or you could not and I’d still receive the “reoccurring revenue” of knowing I greatly benefited your life. Priceless.)

Sanebox will help you like whoa…but you need to clean-up the email you already have as well.

This is where it gets a tad trickier.

You are going to want to handle this in different ways depending on your individual situation, but here is how I do it.

  • Start with the junk mail folder. If you haven’t already cleaned that baby out, do it. Now. Easy. “Select All,” “Delete.” Hmmmmm….relish in how great that feels.
  • Now let’s look at any other folders you have. Do you still need them? Are they useful? Or do they need to be deleted or archived? Go through and take a nice trim off your folders and the emails in them. Start fresh with only email folders you need for 2019.
  • Next think about old clients. Like really old. Client’s you stopped working with over a year ago. Search for emails to them and from them. If you feel you need to keep these somewhere for legal or protection reasons, archive them. But if not, delete, delete, delete.

Take special joy in deleting the emails from clients who caused you a lot of grief.

Most likely as you start doing all of these things you’ll see other places you can cut.

For example, I now regularly delete my entire SaneLater folder on a biweekly basis. If I haven’t gotten to it and the person hasn’t emailed back, then it’s probably not important. Gone.

Start to make a process for yourself that you can do monthly in an hour or so and take back your control of your email.

Social Media Clean-up For The PR Pro

The first of the year is a good time to re-evaluate everything about your social media profiles: both personal and professional.

Here’s what you should look at for your social media digital declutter:

  • Profile bios: Do you need to update, edit, remove, add anything?
  • Current public posts: Good idea to scroll through and see if you need to archive or delete any older posts. Do they no longer jive with your brand or direction? You don’t need to go too far back, but definitely take a look and make sure things make sense. This also will help you see what’s being posted and what changes need to be made (if you don’t manage your social media yourself).
  • Evaluate how and why: How are you using your channels? What are the goals of each? What needs to change. Maybe you don’t even need some channels anymore? Focus on your goals and how your social media efforts move you closer (or farther away).
  • Habits: This mostly speaks to your personal use. What are your social media habits? How do they contribute to or take away from your 2019 goals?

Here is a nice hit list with some social media clean-up tips to help.

A PR Pro’s Hard Drive Always Needs a Good Clean

Your hard drive is slowing you down man.

Videos, documents, ebooks, images….your hard drive works hard for you. It deserves a digital declutter to keep it clean and keep your computer functioning at it’s best.

If you are a Mac user, CleanMyMac is the If you aren’t a Mac user, let your hard drive die and get a Mac (ok, ok, sorry…I know some of you have to use PCs).

While I don’t have personal experience with tools to clean-up non-Mac computers, this article and this article look to be helpful (if you have a tool you love please post in the comments and I’ll add it here).

A Keyword Strategy Refresh

If you are taking our 30 Day Communications Challenge, we’ve got you covered here (it’s not too late to jump in). Otherwise, I’d start with this blog post on how to research your content plan in Gini’s awesome content creation series.

Every PR pro should be concerned about your organization or client’s keyword strategy, no matter what area of communications you focus on.


Because in today’s digital word, the keywords you wish to rank for should be part of your efforts across ALL media types: paid, earned, shared, and owned.

No exceptions.

(Check out our PESO model series if you are confused why)

Clean-up Your Google Analytics and Data

Just like keywords, every pr pro should include data in their digital declutter.

I went to my favorite data and Google analytics gurus to help me with this one, The Trust Insights power team of Chris Penn and Katie Robbert.

Here is what they said:

  • Data digital declutter tip #1: Audit the metrics you’re reporting.
    • Can you take action on it?
    • Is it helping you reach your goal?

Katie provided this example to help you think through these questions: if your goal is revenue and you’re looking at bounce rate – can you draw a clear line to how bounce rate effects revenue? Can you fix bounce rate? If not, stop tracking it.

  • Data digital declutter tip #2: Streamline Data with Dashboards
    • You’ve likely accumulated a lot of random and junk data from people asking one-off questions, or questions specifically to accommodate and inform their particular needs. If you use Google Analytics Data Studio, take your cluttered catch-all of questions and make versions of the dashboard for different stakeholders.

For example: you know the CEO only cares about the bottom line, have that on a dashboard they can see daily. If your manager cares about something different, have those metrics on a dashboard just for them.

Clear Out Unused Subscriptions

Chris added one more.

Pull out your corporate credit card and look at the services you’re subscribed to and paying for. if you haven’t logged into them in the last 90 days (or no one on your team has), pull the plug. It’s less data, less mess, and will even save you a bit of coin.

This is a good one to do for yourself personally too. Don’t use it? Pull it! Put that money toward something you will use.

Ready, Set, Shred!

And with that, let’s start our digital clean-out. Make it a goal to declutter all of your digital assets this week. We will be back next week to work on our next decluttering step.

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.