There’s something satisfyingly symbolic about a new year: a fresh start; a blank page on which to inscribe a long list of self-improving rules and resolutions. Whether giving up chocolate or alcohol, or swapping lie-ins for 6am workouts, it seems no one is free from the ‘new year, new you’ mantra that takes hold each January 1st.
But how often are such punishing promises kept– or even remembered? If January is supposed to be the most depressing month of the year, why are we going out of our way to make it even worse?
That’s why this year, Firefly isn’t advocating the throwing out of the biscuit tin, nor the ditching of post-work drinks on a Friday. Instead, we’ve come up with a list of positive, proactive habits which we think all communications professionals should commit to in 2012. Here they are:
- Social media – In 2012, there will be little-to-no-excuse for sitting on the sidelines of social media. Like that first, post-Christmas abdominal crunch, the key is to engage conversational muscles you never even knew you had. With public relations moving further and further into the digital space, we predict an exciting year for developments in online communication and campaigns. So sign up for that Google+ account, perfect the 140-character pitch and get clued up on Facebook for business. It could – and should – begin to play a significant role in this year’s campaign plans.
- Networking – there’s no doubt that building a network is central to the role of an effective communicator, and for many Fireflies, networking is the buzz-word for 2012. We’re already looking at a packed calendar of training courses, journalist briefings and professional networking events for the year ahead (and fighting it out amongst ourselves over hotly contested places!). Note: simply attending doesn’t qualify as ‘networking’ – so have your little black book at the ready.
- Results – Outcomes should be at the forefront of the PR professional’s mind over the coming months, with a focus on using communications as a means to that all-important end: influence. Anything less than this is a distraction.
- Measurement – accountability forms an integral part of the PR-client relationship. Committing to a PR measurement system facilitates effective benchmarking and forward planning. But don’t allow yourself to waste time measuring the things that aren’t important. Develop KPIs and review them regularly, to remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve. Then use the available metrics to find out which tactics succeeded, which were less successful and –most importantly – what you can learn for next time.
- Forward planning – when taking on a new client brief, we sometimes marvel at the absence of a (prior) PR plan. But it’s so important to be future-driven, hard as it might be to visualise what you’ll be doing nine months from now, as it will help inform what you’re doing right now, and how you should be doing it right now.
- Positivity –finally, we’ll all be beating the January blues with a positive outlook. This means approaching each task with renewed enthusiasm, high energy levels and an appetite for meaningful results. We’ll be celebrating each victory, however small, be it for ourselves or for our clients. Because after all, if we don’t get excited about what we do, then how can anyone else?
Is it time to shape your reputation?
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