With the holidays, awkward family moments and turkey and stuffing nearly behind us (or in us), we head into 2016 with hope and a new set of challenges and goals, some of which may apply to your PR Strategy.
If this is an area where you don’t have much experience, creating and executing an effective PR strategy can be daunting. Here are few tips to help you stick to a News Year’s Resolution for your company’s PR efforts in 2016.
Make it something you can measure. It’s a lot easier to say that you’re going to ‘lose weight’ in 2016 than to say you’re going to lose 10 pounds and two inches in January. As for making your PR goals more measurable, consider these factors:
- Coverage Quantity: Coverage can range from being mentioned in a newspaper story to receiving a full article on an industry blog. If you want to become a top brand in your community or industry by getting mentions on a monthly basis, then set the goal and be sure to allocate the resources needed to accomplish it.
- Coverage Quality: Another thing to consider is setting a goal for a) publications/media in which you’d like to receive coverage and b) what should be included in a story that mentions your company. In other words, it helps to go after the publications, TV news shows or blogs that your customers pay attention to.
- Time: It’s important to include a timeframe because it allows you to highlight PR successes alongside other key company reports. Tracking media mentions over time helps you identify seasonal spikes to optimize and dead-times you can figure a better solution for in hopes of getting year-round publicity.
Example 1. A local bakery’s measureable goal could be: January 1 to March 31, XYZ Bakery hopes to obtain two pieces of coverage in local media that highlight its menu variety and ability to accommodate people with severe food allergies.
Example 2. A software startup measurable goal could be: January 1 to June 30, ABC Software hopes to get into the local business journal and TechCrunch for a seed funding event it plans to close in March; it then plans to follow that with mentions in at least three trades that cover the industry the startup serves.
Reality check. While your dream may be to wake up and look like Channing Tatum or to do a guest appearance on the Today Show, you have to be realistic. It takes time and hard work to reach your goals, and there are usually external factors or obstacles that you can’t control.
In the case of our bakery example above, the PR goal is both measureable and realistic. It would be unrealistic, however, to assume a small bakery could receive two pieces of business press coverage in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal and CNN in the next three months.
Hold yourself (or your PR firm) accountable. For today, that might just mean writing down your goals and posting it where you can see it. When you’re ready, share your PR strategy with other stakeholders in your company.
To reach your PR goals, you will need information and support from others. So, ask for help regularly and share your successes. When you involve others in your plans, you’re much more likely to hold yourself accountable. If, however, you are too busy to pursue a PR strategy by yourself (and there is enough room in the 2016 marketing budget), then be sure to share your goals with the PR firm you retain and hold the firm accountable the same way you would hold yourself accountable.
Don’t be afraid make changes. As you begin reaching out to media, you may realize that certain tactics aren’t working or that your goal isn’t as a realistic as you thought. That’s OK. Your PR strategy is not set in stone rather it should evolve as you test your story ideas with the media and intended audiences.
Understand that not meeting a goal doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. The fact is there is only so much room for media outlets to talk about businesses like yours, making the competition for the limited space especially intense. The key is to keep at it and build relationships with the reporters and bloggers who cover your community or industry. To mitigate the “failures” it also makes sense to blend your in-house content published on your blog or through platforms like Medium or LinkedIn in order to fill in the gaps when you don’t expect any traditional media hits. Your work will pay huge dividends to your PR strategy over time.
We hope that these tips inspire you to commit to a New Year’s Resolution for your company’s 2016 PR strategy.