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Look to the past; plan for the future

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At least once a year, public relations professionals (and all professionals) should review their business activities over the past 12 months and take stock of their successes and failures.

I would like to expand on some ideas from a checklist provided by Mickie Kennedy of ereleases.com. The checklist is designed to help professionals celebrate their successes, assess their weaknesses, and develop effective strategies for the future.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Never underestimate the power of saying thank you to those individuals who have helped you over the past year. I send thank you cards, often with photos, or send a small thank you gift to show my appreciation, or give shout outs on my social media platforms. Everyone appreciates being acknowledged.

Read Your Old Press Releases

Review the press releases you sent out this past year. Take note of the ones that you like the most and the ones that generated the most interest and press coverage. Also look over the ones that may not have worked for you and find ways to make them more compelling for the future.

Check Your Press Clips

Be sure to organize your press contacts and clips so that you can analyze where your successes have been and where you may need to make changes or better connections in the coming year.

Get That Pitch List Ready

Touch base with prospects you reached out or pitched to last year. Check your earlier correspondence with these individuals and follow up with an email or call to ask how a particular program, event or campaign turned out, OR to inquire if they are planning a similar event this year and might need some help. I have found that sometimes prospects or past clients receive my newsletter and a lightbulb goes off about a project that I might be able to assist with.

Find New Clients

Think about what kind of new business you would like for the coming year. Create a list of
potential clients that you'd like to work with and go after them.

Update Your Press Contacts

Make time to update your press contacts in the various types of media outlets. Changes occur everyday. Be sure to keep yourself apprised of the new journalists, the retiring ones and those who change their beats or focus areas.

Write a Press Release about your own business

Take the time to share your own business accomplishments with relevant media outlets. PR professionals can be like the shoemaker whose children have no shoes. We are so busy promoting our clients activities and accomplishments, we forget to promote our own. Write a press release about a new client engagement or a philanthropic endeavor your firm participated in. You need to build your own “cred” too!

Brush Up On the Basics

PR professionals often make common mistakes such as sending out press releases with attachments
or pitching the wrong press contacts with the wrong stories. Brush up on some of the everyday basics that can make your the public relations process go smoother and help you be more successful with your efforts.

Spot The Trends

Stay on top of the current trends. Put yourself out there to journalists who write about the industries you work in and about subject matter you know best. You never know when you might be the right expert for an article or blog post on PR, media relations, crisis management, social media, blogging, etc.

Prepare for Success

The better the job you do at setting yourself up for success, the more successful you will be. Be positive, professional, respectful and helpful. These things matter to colleagues, co-workers, journalists and pretty much anyone in your personal and business life. When you exude a confidence and a positive attitude, it goes a long way toward helping you achieve your goals.

My client Elizabeth Barker shared this quote by Charles R. Swindoll: "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." Keep this in mind in your personal and professional life and go out and have a great year!

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