Three 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for PR Professionals

02 Jan Three 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for PR Professionals

New Year’s resolutions are the worst, but they’re also kind of the best. For many of us, the changing of the year represents a wonderful chance to get rid of bad habits, start fresh, and become better people. Of course, the inevitable failure that follows can lead to a sense of guilt as we abandon our goals and accept the new year as just another version of all the years past.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! People who make a plan that supports their resolutions, and ensure that those resolutions are truly achievable, are often more successful at reaching  their goals. Let’s go with that mindset and take a look at some resolutions you, as a PR and marketing professional, can make and successfully execute upon this year.

Be more connected, but not necessarily in the ways you think

One of my personal resolutions for 2018 is to become more in the moment, with a commitment to one-on-one communications and direct conversations rather than texting, for example. I think marketing professionals can make a pledge to take a similar tack. I’m not saying to forgo the digital methods of communication — social media, email, etc. But nothing can take the place of good, old fashioned, in-person interactions.

In 2018, make a commitment to facilitate those types of interactions. That can be done through regularly scheduled, short meetings with customers to gauge how they are doing; attendance at industry or networking events; after hours social meetings; or some other form of meet and greet. For better internal communications, try initiating a daily 15-minute “scrum” amongst team members. Use this time to find out what everyone’s working on, brainstorm ideas, or simply catch up.  

Be more judicious and focused in your PR strategy and tactics

When a client comes to us looking for help, they are often looking for something very specific, whether that is raising capital, attracting new talent, becoming a thought leader, driving leads, or something similar. Every company has different needs and goals, and we’ve long moved past the stage where a “one size fits all” approach to PR is the way to go.

That is why we employ a strategic mapping strategy for many of our clients. You give us your ultimate destination (goal) and we’ll map out an effective plan to help you reach that destination. The maps take into consideration strategies and tactics that should be executed at certain points in time (i.e., 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.). Though each map features a proven set of core strategies and tactics, each is also very different depending on the client’s destination.

This is a more judicious and focused approach to PR strategy and tactical execution. It respects the fact that the pathway to success for a company focusing on thought leadership will likely be different from the road that should be taken by an organization seeking to recruit new hires. Thus, in 2018, I suggest really looking at what you want to achieve, and being very selective about the programs you use to reach those achievements so that a) you do not waste your time and money and b) you get the most bang for your buck.

Be more concise and use less jargon

As the head of our editorial services division, I spend a lot of time looking at the writer’s guidelines of various publications as we prepare to submit our client’s content. Inevitably, two of the requests that continually appears are “write concisely” and “do not use jargon.”

The first one is often the harder of the two. After all, usually when we write an article or blog post, we have a lot to say! That makes us inclined to try and cram in anything and everything. Opening paragraphs become dissertations on the history of a particular type of challenge or solution. Much time is spent trying to explain why something is important, rather than showing how it can be important. And once we get rolling, it’s hard to stop, let alone go back and cut things out.

But “killing your darlings” is a good exercise that can help your stories be more to the point and readable. Taking a dispassionate look at your content and trimming the fat before submitting it to the publication will no doubt endear you to the editor and your readers. Of course, if we’re editing your content, we will be happy to do that for you (please don’t take offense!).

As for the jargon, it’s good to remember that many publications cater to different types of readers. Whereas one person may understand exactly what you mean by casually referencing the USGCB, another may be completely confounded. Try to keep your writing as broadly accessible as possible, especially if you’re submitting content to a general news publication or even a more mainstream government or technology website. You never know who may be reading or sharing your stories.

Do you have any other ideas for 2018 resolutions? If so, feel free to share them in the comments below. And have a happy and successful new year!

Pete Larmey
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