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New Years resolutions for your Public Relations

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It’s time to ring in the New Year with some resolutions that can improve your Public Relations efforts.

Resolve to be a better writer—in 140 characters or less. In this age of Twitter, being succinct is key and can help your content’s “share factor.” Resolve to think outside the confines of “traditional” PR. Instead of relying on an age-old press release, consider whether a topic would be better suited to a blog or social media post.

Resolve to know your audience. “Beats” are fluid in these days of the continuous news cycle. Know your audience and their “of-the-moment” interests. Resolve to check your contacts’ latest posts and tweets before reaching out with an idea or topic.

Resolve to be a storyteller. Some media outlets deal with straight facts and figures; others paint with a different brush. Don’t bore a journalist with stats for the market potential of a new widget if that’s not their beat. Instead, tell them what they want to hear, which typically boils down to how the widget will impact their readers’ lives or businesses.

Resolve to speak measurement upfront, not when asked by the client. What does the program, strategy or tactic you're suggesting really do to impact the bottom line? If you can't answer that question, both qualitatively and quantitatively, then perhaps it's not the great idea you thought it was.

Resolve to be SEO friendly. Why make it hard to find the product or messages you’re trying to convey? Think of keywords that matter and use them in your blog, release and outreach so they can be found and drive traffic.

Resolve to be more visual. If a picture is worth 1,000 words then why not use one? Multimedia is the new text; incorporating photos and video makes a story more impactful. Resolve to stay ahead of the game. This is one of the hardest challenges in PR. As fires, last-minute deadlines and “urgent” requests fly into your inbox hour by hour, it’s important to dedicate a portion of the day to ensure you’re staying ahead—or at a minimum on track—of your regularly scheduled program.

Resolve to slow it down and clean up your act. In this age of short, snippy emails and social media postings, it's easy to post quantity over quality. Before you hit "send" take a second (or even third) look. It pays not to be sloppy. Resolve to clear your head. When the going gets tough, the tough can get stressed. And what good does a foggy, frenetic brain do when push comes to shove? Little. There's something to be said about the five-minute break. Try it. You’ll be better at your job because of it.

Resolve to give good counsel. Tell your boss or client(s) what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. This can sometimes be intimidating, but it's important. We've all been there—there’s an expectation that PR pros will follow orders from their clients—but if you know in your gut that the boss or client's desired efforts are not likely to net a result, speak up and advise your client/boss that their idea is not newsworthy. Help him/her identify a better hook or angle for pitching their idea or consider holding the pitch for a later date when it might be more relevant.

Cheers, to a happy, healthy and newsworthy year!

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