As the holiday dust settles, many of us are charging into the new year with resolutions to improve ourselves like sleeping more, eating healthier and getting to the gym more often.
But what about professional resolutions? Have you given much thought to how you’ll improve your work life in 2018?
For those of us in PR, the focus could be on one or more of these important areas.
Learn all you can about measurement: While it may be painful for some, measurement is now a crucial element in a PR campaign. Gone are the days of using AVEs (advertising value equivalents) or the number of clips or impressions as ways to gauge success. Now, public relations practitioners are expected to deliver real ROI. Measuring your efforts helps you show your client or boss that what you’re doing impacts the bottom line.
How do you improve your measurement skills? Use a tool like Critical Mention to monitor media and measure your media coverage. Follow experts like Christopher Penn of Shift Communications (@cspenn), Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich (@ginidietrich), or Katie Delahaye Paine or Paine Publishing (@queenofmetrics). Take an online class or attend a webinar to learn more about this critical skill.
Improve your writing: While writing never goes out of style for a PR pro, it’s a skill that’s more vital than ever in all that we do. Why do many PR majors graduate with a degree in Journalism? They need to understand how journalists think and work–but they also need to be strong writers.
If your writing could use some work, don’t wait. Read a book (“Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley is a great one) or take a class (Udemy offers some) but most importantly, WRITE. If you don’t get enough chances to write at work, start a blog. Write in your spare time. Offer to guest blog. Take on a project that allows you to do more writing. The point is – find a way to write more. You can never get enough practice.
See the bigger picture: PR isn’t off in its own little world. It plays into many other marketing disciplines. To get better at what we do, we need to understand how areas like content marketing and social media fit into PR. It also means taking another look at how paid and earned media can work together to achieve a brand’s PR goals.
To learn more, attend a conference like Content Marketing World or Social Media Marketing World or check out the Content Marketing Institute’s blog or free webinars. Follow Shonali Burke (@shonali) and Deirdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge) for inspiration.
Don’t overlook the visuals: Knowing how to tell a story visually is only increasing in importance. More than 8 billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video are viewed every day on Facebook. Those with a firm handle here will have a leg up on the rest.
To up your game in this area, find more opportunities to work with the visual experts on your team. Learn what makes a compelling visual, be it a photo, video or infographic, so you can contribute to this part of the campaign as well. Another tip: Try a program like Pablo by Buffer to create your own images to accompany social media and blog posts.
Embrace influencer marketing: Public relations pros understand how influencer marketing works because journalists and analysts are influencers. They know how to conduct outreach and create content, skills that translate to influencer relations programs. As influencer marketing blows up—it was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel—the related skillset will only become more relevant to being a well-rounded PR pro.
Here’s to a 2018 filled with tackling the challenges, growing professionally and being the best we can be as PR pros. Cheers to a successful year!
By Michelle Garrett, Garrett Public Relations
You’ll find Michelle Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations consultant, content writer, blogger and speaker, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in publications including Entrepreneur, Forbes, Ragan’s PR Daily and Spin Sucks. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica and sits on the advisory council of the National Organization of American Women in Public Relations (Women in PR USA™).