As we prepare to ring in the new year, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on what’s most important as a marketer or PR practitioner, particularly as the media landscape continues to evolve.
Below are some reminders and/or resolutions related to our practice. These are simple rules. And the best part: they’re fairly easy to incorporate into working life, yet as guiding principals can make a big difference.
Resolve to be a better writer—in 140 characters or less. In an age of tweeting, being succinct is key and helps in making your content viral.
Resolve to think outside the confines of “traditional” PR. Instead of relying on an age-old press release, ask if a topic is better suited to a blog or social media post.
Resolve to know your audience. “Beats” are fluid in these days of the continuous news cycle. Know your audience and their of-the-moment interests. Resolve to check your contacts’ latest posts and tweets before reaching out with an idea or topic.
Resolve to be a storyteller. Some media deal in straight facts and figures; others paint with a different brush. Don’t bore with market potential for a new widget if that’s not their bag; instead tell them what they want to hear, which typically boils down to how it will impact their reader’s life.
Resolve to speak measurement upfront, not when asked by the client. What does the program, strategy or tactic you’re suggesting really do to impact the bottom line? If you can’t answer that question, both qualitatively and quantitatively, then perhaps it’s not the great idea you thought it was.
Resolve to be SEO friendly. Why make it hard to find the product or messages you’re trying to convey? Think of keywords that matter and use them in your blog, release and outreach so they can get crawled and drive traffic.
Resolve to be more visual. If a picture is worth 1,000 words then why not? Multimedia is the new text; incorporating photos and video makes a story more impactful.
Resolve to stay ahead of the game. This is one of the hardest challenges in PR. As fires, last-minute deadlines and “urgent” requests fly into the inbox hour by hour, it’s important to dedicate a portion of the day to ensure you’re staying ahead—or at a minimum on track—of your regularly scheduled program.
Resolve to slow it down and clean up your act. In this age of short, snippy emails and social media postings, it’s easy to post quantity over quality. Before you hit “send” take a second (or even third) look. It pays not to be sloppy.
Resolve to clear your head. When the going gets tough, the tough can get stressed. And what good does a foggy, frenetic brain do when push comes to shove? Little. There’s something to be said about the five-minute break. Try it. You’ll be better at your job because of it.
Resolve to give good counsel. Tell your boss or client(s) what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. This can sometimes be intimidating, but it’s important, and only right. We’ve all been there—there’s an expectation that PR will simply take orders—but you know in your gut the effort at hand will net nothing but peeved media and bloggers and worse, backlash that could damage several reputations, both the company and yours.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year to you all.
Carm Lyman is co-owner and president of Lyman PR, a consumer lifestyle communications agency. Based in Northern California, Lyman PR specializes in PR and marketing for consumer tech, mobile tech, music, b2b, hospitality and sports. She can be reached at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter @carmlyman or @lymanpr.