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!