New Year’s Resolutions For PR Teams

Ah, 2022! Many of us who work in PR woke up on January 1 and thought about New Year’s resolutions. Yet according to a recent study, people are most likely to ditch their annual commitment to themselves by January 19. How can we stick to our resolutions a bit longer than that? One answer is to make them actionable. Another is to start small. 

For work, the new year provides an opportunity for professionals to reevaluate their goals and motivation for the next 12 months. Here are some of the most useful ones for working in public relations. 

Keep up-to-date media lists – Any good PR person knows a media list is essential for strong media relations. A useful goal is to keep ‘master’ lists as up-to-date as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than emailing a contact and getting a bounceback or a change of email address for a journalist whom you think would be perfect for a piece of news. We vow to stay on top of real-time updates to ensure even better media coverage this year. 

Stay on top of industry news – We know the importance of absorbing news for PR but sometimes we get too wrapped up in other projects and forget to scan as often as we should. Check out my recent post Unique Ways PR Pros Can (and Should) Consume News to spark ideas for staying on top of industry news in 2022.  

Use audio for learning – I think podcasts are great for auditory learning and for people who are constantly on the go. If you’re like me, you’ll want to pick up a new podcast about a specific industry vertical or topic. Maybe you need a cybersecurity tutorial or an update on adtech trends. Just play that podcast or audio stream while getting ready for your day or in the background while working. 

Sharpen your writing – There’s a reason why most companies ask for a writing sample or require a writing test for PR positions. We write a great deal in PR. If your company offers a professional training stipend, look into a writing course with a specific objective, like content for SEO, speechwriting, or translating research into language for laypeople. Or offer to take a stab at first drafts of bylines, press releases, or pitches. The more you do it, the better. 

Improve client comms – Throughout a PR agency career, no two clients will be the same. Some are subject-matter experts who are very knowledgeable about marketing and PR, while others may need more background on rationales for specific strategies and tactics. It’s also helpful to be mindful about email and digital comms. Before you hit send, reread that note two or three times with an eye toward information gaps or obvious questions that are not answered. Taking the time to put thought behind client communications will save time and productivity in the long run. 

Go for it in brainstorms – Creative sessions can be challenging. Often people hang back because they’re unsure about their ideas, or they know others will take the lead in the conversation. Even if you think an idea isn’t 100% on target, toss it out anyway. Often a casual comment or association will spark a thought from someone else and it can be fleshed out into a fuller component or tactic. Brainstorms are by definition collaborative, so a resolution to participate is a good one. 

Branch out on social media – For PR team members who might not be as social media savvy as their colleagues, or who have a favorite platform that they’re most comfortable with, now’s the time to branch out. It may be a good time to ramp up your Twitter or LinkedIn activity or start sharing media coverage or company news. Tweet at a journalist that you liked their recent story or tag a co-worker about an article you saw on LinkedIn. Social media is a great way to have conversations with friends, media and new connections. 

Manage up and down – Being a good teammate is holding yourself and others accountable on tasks. On the agency side, PR people juggle several accounts at once and sometimes things are pushed down on the priority list. Now’s the moment to stay on top of managers on tasks that need their approval or direction through gentle reminders. If you direct other team members, consider being a mentor to them by offering more responsibility – this will help your management skills and help make them a stronger teammate.

Step out of your comfort zone – Trying something new can be intimidating but it’s often necessary. We can get too comfortable doing what we know. Consider setting a specific goal, like doing one thing a week that is slightly outside your wheelhouse. If you haven’t tackled a PR plan, maybe volunteer to write a section or do the research that supports it. Stretching skills will grow confidence and make you a better PR person. 

Take time for yourself – This is my personal goal for 2022. I don’t think WFH life is for me forever and have struggled to create a separation between work and home because in the last two years they have blended into one. It’s time to prioritize mental health and self care this year. If you feel better about yourself, it will be reflected in your work. 

What is your PR resolution for 2022? Make this year count and stick to those resolutions! 

10 New Year’s Resolutions For Better PR Campaigns

The beginning of a new year brings a turning-the-page feeling of renewal. While we had a wonderful 2018, now feels like the right time to refresh and refocus our efforts for an even better 2019. In PR, we’re getting ready to clear an ever-rising bar. Sometimes you just need to remember the fundamentals. Other times, it’s good to take things into fresh directions.

10 resolutions for better PR in 2019

Keep it real

When the PR team is deep in brainstorming mode, it’s easy to lose one’s grounding. When conceiving a new PR program, resolve to make sure it’s built on substance. Formulate the program in a way that is not only creative and original, but that can actually move the needle for the most relevant audiences. Build a program that does something real, and the publicity around it will be generated more easily.

Get experiential

A study by event success software provider Bizzabo indicates that 62% of senior marketers plan on investing more in live events in 2019. We also know that Millennials (and all consumers) prioritize experiences over things. But, as noted, an exciting and enlightening business event that’s highly customized to your target audience may work better than a stunt that’s forgotten within a day.

Phone a friend

In 2019, we resolve to leverage our friends in mutually beneficial ways in our PR programs. Flexible, evenly weighted partnerships expand the bounds of so many elements of PR campaigns, and these collaborations tend to have exponential returns on investment. Partner up with a distribution company, key customer or a not-for-profit partner. Be bold in coming up with creative extensions to make the joint effort as big and successful as you can. Make the ideas irresistible and reap the rewards, jointly.

Reuse, recycle, re-tool

When brainstorming that shiny new program, don’t be afraid to look into the nostalgia file for winning tactics from the past. There’s no shame in adapting a proven idea for another purpose.

Do some real good

We resolve to incorporate activities that are designed to better society in 2019. A little thoughtful, sincere socially responsible PR can round out a successful program. But make sure the idea doesn’t come out of left field; it can and should come from a place of authenticity and be relevant to the mission and ethos of the company.

Dig into your data bank

Agencies that do a lot of tech PR have executed plenty of research, so they generally have a lot of data lying around ready to be collated or reinterpreted. When gearing up to craft a new PR program, why not scour your market research data for newsworthy nuggets for the tech press always hungry for data-driven stories?

Bring in fresh perspectives

We resolve to inject fresh voices into our campaigns. It pays to have quarterly brainstorm sessions that involve people unfamiliar with the project. Agencies should call in team members from other clients or other departments to brainstorm ideas. A fresh pair of eyes can offer a unique viewpoint that enlivens a brainstorm session and freshens up a plan.

Amp up the newsjacking

Reactive news opportunities come and go in blinks of an eye, so eyes must remain peeled to catch them. Most PR teams have their heads on swivels for the ever-important newsjacking chances, but may not have any formal processes set up. Perhaps 2019 is the time to set up a rapid-response protocol to avoid losing out on any chances to join a relevant conversation. See this earlier post for tips on reactive media pitching.

Start an executive blog

If your insightful, eloquent founder isn’t blogging on a regular basis, there may be a great PR new year’s resolution worth taking. Executive thought leadership exposure through original content requires some time and thought, but it can return dividends in the form of visibility, credibility, and brand voice. But be sure to blog regularly and consistently, adding real value for audiences. See this earlier post for tips on making a great PR-friendly blog.

Use targeted video

It’s no secret that video is king when it comes to targeted content. We resolve to use the well-documented power of video to drive engagement and provoke emotions. Video enhances SEO, keeps consumers engaged longer, and is more shareable than many other content forms. See this earlier post for 7 best PR uses for video content.

Our PR New Year’s Resolutions: 5 Things We Promise To Do

Every good PR agency knows how to turn a holiday into an opportunity for good work. For the New Year, we’d like to seize the occasion to make a fresh start and set new goals. Goals are a way to challenge oneself and stay on course (or redirect when needed), and they help take stock of what really counts.

Here’s what we promise to do more of in 2016.

Get ahead of the newest media developments. The media world today moves at lightning pace. That could mean new publications, job changes, or changes in ownership. New sites like Little Things, which launched in September 2014, grew at an exponential rate in 2015 while other sites, like Gigaom, closed their “doors,” only to be acquired and started up again in a new form. It can be challenging to keep up, but staying on top of developments like these can mean a competitive advantage.

Increase face time. Whether syncing our own teams internally through quality time together, getting face time with partners and clients, or meeting ‘F2F’ with key journalists, we realize the importance of human interaction to foster strong relationships. In the strictest professional sense, ours is still a human business, and decisions are no doubt influenced by how we feel about the people we work with. In-person time takes more effort and is easy to overlook, but it can often make the difference between someone taking your call or not, or saying yes to a pitch or request.

Sharpen writing skills. Solid writing skills never go out of fashion when it comes to media and public relations. Even the best writers need a good editor, an infusion of inspiration, and a refresher on usage and style. When you care about good writing this is always on the radar, but a resolution can help make it more of a reality.

Give substantive counsel, and receive criticism well. In the heat of the moment it’s possible to forget that PR professionals are in the business of providing counsel. That sometimes means giving — and hearing — advice and feedback that’s uncomfortable or unexpected. Telling business partners or colleagues something they don’t like is challenging, but if you believe it’s wise and will improve outcomes, it’s an obligation. Ultimately this makes you a more valuable adviser or partner. On the flip side, it takes strength of mind to hear difficult feedback, too, and to consider it with discernment.

Be a mentor. Chances are, if you’ve experienced a degree of success in any field, you learned from people along the way. Some are blessed with a formal mentor while others glean what they can from peers and bosses they respect. Either way, taking the opportunity to nurture a promising young professional is not only good karma, it’s a way to invest in the future of a profession you care deeply about.

What are your professional New Year’s resolutions?
Read more: Download our free tipsheet, 8 Ways To Hit Your Company’s PR Goals.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Better PR Agency-Client Collaboration

Typically, a consumer or B2B PR firm will put forth some resolutions to improve agency performance and delivery on key strategic communications plans. As we approach the beginning of 2014, we offer up a few recommendations for the agency-client team to make for a truly fruitful relationship in the New Year and beyond.

Be fearless in critiquing work. In a positive, constructive way. Quantify your critique with some hard facts and never bring up a problem without offering potential solutions to course-correct. Most importantly, don’t let your ego get in the way of valuable feedback.

Work smarter and faster. As a team, anticipate critical dates and what your competition may do. Create tight, yet workable deadlines that always keep your client’s work ahead of the pack. Dynamism is often the key to re-energizing and improving agency-client outcomes.

Shake up the tools in the toolbox. Tools can mean agency team members (is it time to rotate in a new player with a valuable skill set?) or tactical PR “weaponry.” Consider this, is a competitor doing something attention-worthy that must be countered? Is it time to re-assess how the company announces news? Consider tossing the typical press release in exchange for something more social-media minded, if appropriate.

Remember Ed Koch. New York PR pros know that the famous mayor strode down the streets of Manhattan asking locals “How am I doing?” This is an excellent question that PR agencies and clients should ask of each other on a regular basis. Both parties will benefit from the honest exchange.

Own the data. Significant and often, edgy, research can be the key to which story is reported on, or which spokesperson is chosen for an interview. PR agencies and clients should strive to own stats of interest to media and target audiences. Collaborating on research projects can also strengthen the bond as you both become even more well-informed about a client’s industry and business.

Here’s to a year full of successful PR agency-client collaborations. Get started, the clock is ticking!

5 Productivity Tricks to Employ Now!

With the first month of 2012 almost at a close, everyone is reevaluating their New Year’s Resolutions. Are you still taking advantage of your new gym membership? Did you find a way to keep fried foods off of your dinner menu? Are you still volunteering at a local organization? But most importantly to those in the PR trade, have you been able to increase your productivity at work?

It may be okay to skip the gym once in a while, but let’s look at a few ways to keep productivity up at work and ongoing for this year, and the next, and the next…

Eat the right food. Food coma is like an undiagnosed sickness. It happens to everyone and at the most crucial times – right after lunch, while you still have half a day left of work. Eat the right proportions and the right food that’ll boost up your productivity, not slow it down. Good examples are avocados, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, or even splurge and get some fish!

Hold some paper. Yes, everything is online now but that doesn’t mean everything needs to stay on the computer screen. If you’re doing research or editing a report, print it out and manually review it in front of you. It’ll be less straining on your eyes and allow you to focus more. Use a highlighter (they’re not obsolete yet!) and make notes on the side.

The silent treatment. When confronted by a demanding assignment and if its allowed at your work place, move your office space for awhile. Choose somewhere without distractions (the library, the nearby park, coffee house or even at home). The trick is to not have any communication gadgets and if you need your laptop, don’t connect it to Wi-Fi and get to work!

Peak hours. You know if you’re a morning or a night person. Take advantage of when you feel and work the best and pinpoint hours. Use these hours to get the most important projects done.

Similarities attract. Batch similar tasks throughout the day so you’re the most efficient, e.g. if you have phone calls to make or errands to run – do it all at the same time so you’re not constantly going back and forth to it.

With 11 more months of the year, what are your best tricks for staying productive at work (or in life)?