Putting the PR in Planuary

Well, Thanksgiving is already over and you know what that means: Planuary is right around the corner.

For many business owners, having the opportunity to assess the previous year’s triumphs and challenges and set new goals for the next 12 months makes this the most crucial month of the year.

In fact, the only thing more important than having a planning period is planning for your planning period. To help with that, here are three important steps to consider as you outline your goals for a successful year in PR and social media.

Set Your Objective

Chris Foster, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, recently spoke at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference in San Francisco where he affirmed that every business problem can be solved with communications.

The question is: what business problem can communications solve for you? Or, to word it more positively, what is your objective, and how can PR and social media help you achieve it?

Do you want to increase your visibility? Drive sales? Engage your customers? Build a reputation as an industry leader? Get a handle on crisis communications?

Answering this is a key first step in the strategic process – bearing in mind that wanting to build your reputation as an industry leader is one objective. Wanting to build your reputation as an industry leader in order to drive sales is two. If the answer is all of the above, you should identify that and approach your strategy accordingly.

Put Your Objective to the Test

Once you have your objective nailed down, take some time to review it.

  • Is your objective measurable? While it’s tempting to measure the success of a PR program on quantity (number of hits, number of eyeballs, number of click-throughs, etc.), the more relevant standard of measurement is quality. As summed up in the Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles (essentially, the Seven Commandments of PR measurement): “not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.”  How will you measure success?
  • Is your objective an end, not a means? It’s all very well to want to score a great feature story or stellar SEO results, but how will that help you achieve your objective?
  • Is your objective realistic? For example, if you are a franchise owner who wants to increase your organic SEO, does your parent company’s web platform allow you to maintain a dynamic local site?
  • Is your time frame realistic? Keep your sights trained only on goals that can be achieved in the course of a year. Anything beyond that is dreaming, not planning.

Make Your Objective Pass the Test

If you’re feeling iffy about the answers to any or all of these questions, tweak your objective until you come up with the answers you need. In the example of the franchise owner looking to increase their organic SEO, it could be helpful to determine other methods of bolstering their online presence, such as blogging or Facebook.

Once you’ve got your plan down and begin to implement it, it is important to revisit it throughout the year to ensure your objective is still on course and continues to pass the test. Just like a New Year’s Resolution, a PR and social media strategy is only a success if it has the same momentum the following December as it did
in Planuary.

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