The start of a new year often brings a surge of optimism and a list of aspirational resolutions, but let's be honest - keeping those resolutions past January is no small feat. In the fast-paced world of PR and communications where every word matters, staying ahead requires more than just good intentions.
So, as the calendar flips to 2024, let's make a few New Year's resolutions that aren't destined for abandonment. These are the commitments that will not only endure, but also elevate your initiatives throughout the year. From fostering collaboration to embracing technology, these resolutions are not just promises - they're a roadmap to lasting success.
Resolution #1: Invest More Time in Cultivating Journalist Relationships
Earning more media coverage sits high on every PR pro’s wish list. One of the best ways to get more coverage for your brand is by cultivating lasting relationships with journalists. But how do we build these meaningful relationships? Thankfully, journalists told us exactly what they want from communicators in our 14th annual State of the Media Report. If you don’t have time to delve into the full report, here are some of the highlights:
First and foremost, journalists want personalised and targeted outreach. Instead of mass emailed pitches and press releases, journalists yearn for tailored communication. Invest time in researching and understanding which journalists cover your topics and industry. Determine which outlets would be most impactful to reach your audience, knowing it may be smaller, more regional or niche media. Build relationships with the journalists and get to know their audiences so you can provide information that is both relevant and useful.
Additionally, journalists want access to your resources – quotes and interviews with your experts, and data. Sixty-eight percent expressed strong interest in data, especially in the form of original research like trends and market statistics. This type of information goes a long way toward building credibility (for them and your brand).
Pro Tip: Dedicate a time slot weekly to nurture your media relationships. Consider such tactics as: Acknowledging brand mentions in an article; expressing gratitude for a follow up; and offering your assistance for future collaborations with data, spokespeople, and the like.
Resolution #2: Reach Across the Aisle to Collaborate With Your Marketing Colleagues
In most organisations where PR and marketing teams are separated, it’s all too easy to get caught up working in silos. This year, however, consider breaking that habit. Beyond being a smart move, forging a seamless partnership between PR and marketing creates a strategic powerhouse. Joint campaigns that blend PR’s storytelling finesse with marketing’s precision allow for a more synchronised approach and help amplify your messaging.
These collaborations should extend across a diverse range of initiatives – from events promotion and executive communications to crisis management and community engagement. The synergy between marketing and PR is evident in building brand trust, maintaining a positive reputation and contributing to the bottom line.
Pro Tip: Are you connecting regularly with your SEO/web team? They can help you optimise press releases and other messaging for greater online visibility.
Resolution #3: Experiment with Emerging Technology
If you’ve been avoiding artificial intelligence (AI) because it seems overwhelming, you don’t trust the technology or you’re just tired of those two letters….we hear you. You’re also not alone: According to Cision and PRWeek’s 2024 Global Comms Report (launching in January), only 32 percent of communications teams are using generative artificial intelligence regularly. But there are many benefits that are worth exploring in the new year.
AI can take care of menial tasks that allows you more time for the important things on your list like strategic content development, message refinement, and campaign evaluation. Advanced algorithms can analyse audiences, summarise media mentions and industry news, and monitor brand reputation. And as witnessed since ChatGPT launched, generative AI can even draft a diverse range of content and tailor messages for specific segments (which you’ll find particularly useful if you’re among the 70 percent of comms professionals who struggle to create effective content, according to the same report).
Pro Tip: Start by testing AI in your content development process. Just tell the tool what type of content to write, the key information to include, and provide a sample to match your writing style and format. Our AI to Z: A Starter Guide to Using Generative AI in PR & Comms has more information on the technology and where to begin.
Cheers to the New Year
By cultivating valuable journalist relationships, collaborating seamlessly with your marketing counterparts, and fearlessly experimenting with emerging technologies, you're not just keeping up; you're setting the pace for a successful year ahead.
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