1. Focus on a few things and set objectives
One of the biggest missteps is that people don’t know how to set goals. The trick is to decide on the really important things for your organisation and then set measurable objectives that deliver success. Your public relations and communications objectives should help to deliver your business objectives.
Be motivated by the maxim “What is the one PR thing we could do this week that would improve our results.” Have a weekly activity list and measure your success, assess what worked and what didn’t. Never forget that PR, marketing and communications should be solving the problems that are keeping the senior management awake at night. One practical example is that you want to increase sales of your product and service in 2023. Ask yourself what activity will increase interest and generate leads?
2. Find your ‘Magic Slice’ of attention and refocus
When your potential customers want to hear what you have to say – then you’re in your magic slice of attention. But how do you get there, and how do you know you’re there? Great brands like Field Notes, Burt’s Bees, Paddy Power and Apple always communicate stories from the heart of their brand. Every piece of communication reflects their mission and is relevant to their audience.
I’m so passionate about it that I wrote a book about it called ‘The Magic Slice.’ Spend time this year answering the most important questions: Why does your organisation exist? Who are your audiences? And what should your stories be about?
3. Up your PR productivity
One of the big problems with PR is that people don’t do enough of it. Despite the notion that there are too many press releases issued, most organisations only send a handful of press releases each year. Every year I meet far too many communications managers who get bogged down in things that don’t matter, and they stop communicating.
To develop a professional public relations approach you need to be sharing a new message with a different audience at least once a week.
At MediaHQ our job is to help you to be more productive – we do this in two ways. The first is by eliminating the grunt work from your PR. No more data entry and fixing bounced emails on your media lists.
The second is by giving you access to over 60,000 journalists’ contacts across Ireland and the UK. There are so many opportunities that oversaturation is almost impossible. The key is to share a new message with a different audience. It doesn’t always have to be a national press release, you could issue it to your local media or to your trade press. Just get busy and start issuing.
4. Build one new audience
You shouldn’t be overly reliant on one audience. Use 2023 to build a new channel of communication for yourself. In the digital age, it is essential that you have nurtured many audiences for your message. Resources are always an issue so it is important that you pick your new tools wisely. The rule here is to invest in tools where your audience is spending their time. If you’re selling to businesses, Twitter and LinkedIn are great. If you’re involved in a consumer business, then Facebook is essential. TikTok and Snapchat are good for younger audiences and Pinterest is very useful for creative businesses. At MediaHQ we use blogging, podcasting, Twitter, LinkedIn and email to engage with our audiences.
5. Measure, measure and measure again
If you can’t measure it, there’s no point in doing it. How are your communications efforts helping you to achieve your goals and how are you measuring it? There are a myriad of ways to track your success from website traffic to measuring sales to inbound sales referrals. The crucial thing is to have a measurement process and to continually adapt it to fit your needs. When you measure your results they should be producing constant questions and new opportunities.
6. Learn a new communications skill
What new skill would improve you and your communications team in 2023? This year our team is learning improve comedy skills to improve our pitching and presentation skills.
Maybe you’d like to learn how to write a better press release, pitch to a journalist or perform better in media interviews? We regularly do bespoke courses for PR and marketing teams. Drop me an email to email@example.com
7. Start a brand newsroom for your organisation
Right now where do you collect all the stories for your organisation? If you’re like most organisations, they’re probably in many different places, but not in the one place they should be – your own website. Use this year to start a brand newsroom – an inspiring place to share your stories from and a launchpad into social channels. It has the benefit of delivering coherence to your brand and adding an extra level of energy to your efforts. It also brings your audience back to the most important place – your website. Brands that do this well include Patagonia, Hiut Denim and Innocent Drinks.
8. Personalise your pitches
Instead of always sending a press release, why not build a bespoke media list and write a personalised pitch to one, or a group of journalists. MediaHQ has great tools to help you to do this.
You can build any bespoke pitch list in seconds using our search tools, filters, and topic index with over 300 individual categories. You can also personalise every pitch by inserting a field that recognises the first name of the journalist.
Once you have followed those two steps, you then need to write a great pitch email. Remember, you need an attention grabbing headline. And always write to convince just one person – not a group. You can slip into the wrong type of language when you forget you are talking to one person.
9. Start a great newsletter
In the last two years, email newsletters (yeah I know) have come back in vogue. The key here is to share authentic and interesting stories, reviews and experiences – not blasting people with advertorial copy. The reason for the re-emergence of the newsletter is simple – context. Great newsletters act as a way to help you to curate your experience of the world. They don’t tell you why a face cream is amazing – they show you how to use it as part of a beauty routine. They don’t tell you about 20% off in your local restaurant – they introduce you to the local bakery responsible for their amazing sourdough bread. Newsletters also do that curious thing of providing a selection of stories at one time to a group of people. It’s a moment, a hit, an event. It works, but remember it’ll only work if you’re telling a story, not boring the arse off people.
10. Relearn how to tell a story
We all know how to tell a story – right? It’s probably more accurate to say that we all used to know how to tell a story and the world has a habit of scaring it out of us. Our CEO and founder, Jack Murray, runs a ‘Business Storyteller’ course where we unlock the lost storyteller in attendees.
One thing that we do is get attendees to send us a personal picture that means something to them that they are willing to talk about. You’d be amazed at the results. Senior, and often sombre, communications professionals take to their feet and leave everyone in tears. There was one woman who showed a black and white picture set in the 1950s of her grandmother and grandfather. He worked in a coal mine in the Netherlands to provide for his family and set them on a better path. Another man opened up about the diagnoses of his son’s dyslexia at 16 and many, many, more.
The point is that they were able to engage us and move us emotionally with their natural talent as storytellers. They weren’t straight-jacketed by corporate convention or powerpoint. Your challenge this year is to rediscover your inner storyteller.
We’re here to help kick off your PR the right way for 2023. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results. For more information on how we work please click here or reach Gaye at firstname.lastname@example.org.