This year I am resolving not to make resolutions about cutting back on fried food and spending more time in the gym. Those sorts of resolutions don’t have a very good track record. Instead, I am resolving to simplify by getting rid of literal and intellectual clutter. I can’t offer much guidance on your personal resolutions, but if you are a PR practitioner, I have some ideas for your professional ones. Here are a few things we could all do to maximize the results of our efforts in 2016.
Resolution #1: Don’t create any content asset without knowing: who, what, when, where and why
Make 2016 the year that you create content with purpose. This means asking the following questions before you begin:
Who is the intended audience for this content?
What would I like them to do as a result?
When in the sales cycle or pitching process will it be useful?
Where will my audience find it?
Why do I need a new asset vs. an existing one?
Resolution #2: Measure outcomes, not activities
Modern CEOs are no longer willing to invest in PR programs that are tied to subjective results, such as “awareness.” Today’s leaders want more specific evidence that PR investments are resulting in provable value to the organization. Outcome measurements reveal the actual results of your public relations efforts. What you measure should be aligned to your goals for PR. Are you trying to generate more leads, shorten sales cycles, increase revenue, or incite some other behavior like sharing content, writing positive reviews, or attending an event? Your goals will tell you exactly what outcomes to measure and set the benchmarks against which success will be judged.
Resolution #3: Pay attention to what is working for competitors
We are often so focused on our own constant need to create a significant amount of quality content (see #1) that we lose track of what is working well for our competitors. Effective monitoring of your competitor’s earned media mentions and successful social content will reveal ideas that you might want to duplicate, or give you insight into how you can present an entirely different message or approach to the market.
Resolution #4: Do PR for PR
PR pros are great at crafting a compelling message and communicating value for their brands and clients, but often fall short when it comes to promoting their own success and effort. Much of this problem is tied to the historical challenge of PR reporting, but it no longer needs to be difficult to produce reports that your boss or client will actually want to see.
Resolution #5: Read more
The best way to get new ideas and to improve your own PR and writing skills is to read more. There are many great blogs and other resources (some of which we’ve captured here). For bonus points, engage in the conversation, ask questions, share advice, and become more active in the PR community.
There’s lots to do in 2016, we think that sticking to these simple resolutions will help. We wish you all a safe, productive and gratifying New Year!