A New Year Means A New PR Plan: Think Big & Stay Focused with These 5 Tips

I’m a long-distance runner. I used to think I could never run more than a few miles – but then, I started training with the finish line in sight. With a tenacious goal in mind, I formulated a well-thought through plan. My daily three-mile run then became a became a six, a six became a ten, and before I knew it, I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon.

To run even a 5k requires weeks if not months of preparation. It would be paralyzingly frustrating to lace up running shoes only to get out the front door and not know how to pace, which direction to go, or how to get there. So why would we treat our business goals any differently?  

The start of the year is a wonderful time for reflection and evaluation. If one of your business goals for 2024 is to move the needle with public relations, grab a pen and let’s get to work on moving your business forward.  

First: start with an assessment of where you are and where you need to go. Knowing your baseline is essential to creating the necessary steps to achievement; this is the aforementioned training roadmap that will guide you throughout the year. Set SMART goals and be courageous with where you’d like to end up come the end of the year – this is no time for thinking small or selling yourself short. For example, what is a dream headline you would like to read for your organization and in which publication(s) will it appear? Who will interview you this year or write a story about your product? Write it down and make it tangible.

Next: know the current media landscape. Layoffs across outlets are abounding – shrinking newsrooms mean fewer folks able to tell our clients’ stories. So how does one get in front of the media in this day and age? The unspoken secret sauce of public relations is relationships! Getting to know journalists is essential– especially their interests (have you seen our “Meet the Media” page?”). But building relationships does not happen overnight nor is it easy. This is one of the principal reasons folks outsource PR needs as it is our job and responsibility to know the media market and the journalists within like the back of our hands. If you have no relationships yet built, who can you talk to and begin making connections?

Then: consider thinking outside the box. How recently have you examined market analytics and data? Re-examine your audiences, key messaging, preferred channels, and budget. What can you creatively do to stand out while staying true to your brand?  

Additionally, adopting a multicultural approach might be a new opportunity to consider if you haven’t already. Who are the audiences that make most sense for your organization? What do they care about? Might they require translation work to understand your message? Is your PR work culturally and socially sensitive?  

Lastly, be strategic with layering communications verticals. PR is all about communicating with a voice, and it can be done through various channels such as online media, print, social, broadcast, word-of-mouth and often simultaneously. How and where you roll out messaging matters as much as the messaging itself, so consider how your story is received.

PR is a powerful tool to accelerate your brand, and now is the time to think forward to what you want to accomplish throughout the year. In a tight media market like our present, this thoughtfulness has never been more essential.