A Year-End Public Relations Checklist

The end of the year is a good time for those in the public relations industry to take stock of their successes and failures over the previous 12 months. The following checklist is designed to help PR folks tout their successes, assess their weaknesses, and develop effective strategies for the forthcoming year.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Hopefully you, your company, or your firm had a good year. Be sure to thank those who have helped you throughout the year, whether through a note, card, email, bonus, or metaphorical pat on the back. As part of your own personal public relations strategy, this shows that you understand how the efforts of others impact your own success. It also helps build morale and improve the general work ethic of your employees and colleagues. You’d be surprised what saying “I appreciate your hard work” can do to someone’s morale.

Read Your Old Press Releases

Remember all those press releases you wrote and sent out during the year? Print them out and read each one with a red pen handy. Find the best and worst examples and hold onto them and use them for reference. If you find mistakes in old press releases, figure out how best to avoid them in the future.

Check Your Press Clips

Pull out all those great press clips you were responsible for and index them. Look for patterns. Maybe you got a lot of publicity locally, but not so much nationally. Maybe your press contacts on the East Coast were more receptive than those on the West Coast. Maybe one writer loved your story and another hated it. By gathering and organizing your press contacts and clips, you may be able to see patterns that will help you adjust next year.

Get That Pitch List Ready

I assume most public relations consultants keep a pitch list, compiling companies you’ve contacted as potential clients. If you have one, get it out and get ready to start making those calls again. After the new year, call all the potential clients you pitched during the first three months of the year just to “check in.” You never know what you may turn up. Asking how the year went PR-wise, especially just after the new year, may cause someone to rethink their public relations strategy.

Find New Clients

Now is also a good time to determine which potential new clients you want to go after in the new year. Brainstorm with your co-worker; if you handle public relations solo, talk to friends or industry contacts. Create a list of potential clients that you’d like to work with.

Update Your Press Contacts

Always a good thing to do when there’s some downtime. Make sure your list of press contacts has kept up with a year’s worth of important editorial changes.

Write a Press Release

Write a press release detailing everything you’ve accomplished on the job this year and save it for future reference. Again, this is a psychological tool. If you’re happy with the contents when you’re done writing the press release, congratulations. If you’re not, determine how to make next year’s Year-End Press Release better. And even if you are happy with it, figure out how to improve upon it.

Write Another Press Release

Whether you’re the public relations consultant for a police force, a university department, or a business, chronicle all the year’s accomplishments for your company or organization. If it makes a compelling story, actually send it out. With management’s approval, consider distributing it among your employees. It’s sometimes hard for people to remember all the little things and even some of the big things that go one throughout the year. Again, if you see negative trends, figure out how you can turn them around.

Brush Up On the Basics

People are still sending out press releases with attachments and they’re still pitching the wrong press contacts on the wrong stories. Brush up on some of the everyday basics that can make your the public relations process go that much smoother.

Spot The Trends

Brainstorm with co-workers or colleagues to determine both the big trends of the year that’ just passed and the trends on the horizon in the new year. You should also determine how you can help shape those trends.

Prepare for Success

More business psychobabble, but if you’re not prepared for success, it’s hard to hold onto it, let alone get there. Go into the new year with a positive attitude about the public relations industry. If you’re not happy with your position, perhaps it’s time to look for a change.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.

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