Calling all PR professionals, it’s time to start 2020 planning.
At 280blue, we’re in 2020 planning mode, so we have outlined five—of the many—steps we’re currently walking through as we prepare our PR clients for 2020!
1. Don’t just measure 2019 results, dig in!
There are never enough hours in the day. It’s true for everyone, PR and marketing professionals included. This means, in the rush of life, analyzing the past year often fails to get the attention it deserves.
This is your reminder to slow down.
For our PR clients, we look back at everything—campaigns, press releases, media outreach, social posts, even email pitches—to see what worked well, what didn’t work and what had a result we weren’t anticipating. It takes a while, but we always uncover something insightful that influences the next plan.
We also engage others in our 2019 review. If you are a PR person working in-house, reach out beyond your team and get other people’s take on the year. You will likely find that there is something the sales team wishes they had and it’s an easy fix. If you are at an agency, don’t be afraid to ask the client what can be improved upon. Your 2020 plan will be stronger and more cohesive if you have input and alignment from everyone.
2. Set your 2020 goals first
Set your goals first and build your PR plan around them. Start by defining what success looks like. Set your year-long (or six-month) goals and then break those down into quarters, months and weeks. Be realistic in the amount of work the team can take on and how far the needle can be moved in the short term. When making year-long goals, it’s easy to get caught up in results because it seems so far away, but make sure they are attainable. Nothing sets a team up for failure faster than setting unrealistic goals before the new year even kicks off. Not only will you not hit the goals, but morale will suffer when the team feels like they never get a win.
3. Know your data and qualify your claims
Companies often dig into their data to figure out their claims and then they don’t think about them again. Think boilerplate. “The industry’s first” or “we serve 30% of Fortune 500 companies” are two examples. However, these numbers and claims change. Use this time to make sure you are making the right claims and confirm the claims you have been using are still true. Chances are, you won’t be the industry’s first forever and if you haven’t checked in with sales in a while, there might be new customer claims that better articulates where you win.
It’s a good time to determine if the claims you are making are even something your potential customers or media care about. Ask yourself, “What is our story and how are our claims enhancing that story?” Good data will always enhance the story you’re telling, especially with the news media, so spend some time on your data to strengthen your story. The time you spend now will pay off later. You also don’t want to discredit yourself off the bat with a claim that is no longer true.
4. Incorporate all aspects of public relations
There are countless ways to leverage media and you should never just rely on press release, not even close. A solid PR strategy will include a well-rounded public relations plan that encompasses press releases, trend jacking, blogging, bylined articles, awards, speaking opportunities, and more. You should think of public relations as a train that takes a while to get going. You can’t just sporadically share press releases and expect robust coverage, rather you need to build a relationship with media, help them to understand your company and your area of expertise.
When you have major news, utilize a press release and media outreach, but your 2020 media plan should include all storytelling elements. Plan to participate in relevant conferences and award programs. There is also a daily media monitoring aspect to good public relations. You should be reading relevant publications daily and constantly thinking about the angles you can use to tell your story.
5. Figure out where your thought leadership lies
Build thought leadership into your plan. This includes writing articles and speaking at shows. If you are an industry expert, get out there and tell your story, early. Leverage social media to amplify what you are doing and to share your perspective. If you have several public speakers for your company, determine each person’s platform and build them out. This will enable you to act on opportunities faster and will enable each person to articulate a clear story. Once you have determined each person’s platform, research what publications and shows are covering the same topics. Figure out where your differentiated expertise lies and act.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of everything you should do as you plan your 2020 media strategy, but it does include elements that are often forgotten or skipped in the heat of a busy day.
A solid base takes time to build, but it will set you up for a more successful year.