Public relations (PR) is the simple art of leveraging third-party endorsements (like media coverage) to get people (publics) to care about what you’re doing and hopefully take an action after being influenced by it. Yet, PR remains one of the most misunderstood, almost mystical and mysterious components of business marketing. We often hear from creative entrepreneurs who just don’t know where to even start.

And how can you set PR goals for your business before you fully understand what it means. We get it. So instead of writing to you today about how to set PR goals, we just came up with them for you. From here, you can choose your own PR adventure by way of a 2017 PR goal that makes sense for your business. Here are a few of our favorites (steal them and make them your own for 2017 ):

1—I resolve to become an *award-winning* business owner this year. Being honored with an award can enhance your reputation and completely change the game for your business because it builds credibility. With all of the “experts” out there, an award or an honor under your belt can help you quickly stand out from the crowd and help you earn trust from your audience. The thing is, you’ll almost never win an award by just sitting around waiting for it. I’ve been honored by trade organizations, media outlets and industry leaders as one of the best PR practitioners in the nation, but I was nominated by my peers, former bosses, journalists and even clients before ever being considered. There is proactive legwork, planning and pursuit involved which can only be completed by you.

> PR PRO TIP: If this is your goal, include some smaller, supporting benchmarks as well like 1) learn how to write a compelling and winning awards and essay entry and 2) start prioritizing awards you think you might be a good candidate for. You might want to start a pretty extensive spreadsheet with application deadlines, qualifications and essay questions, etc. all organized so you can start to tackle them one opportunity at a time.

Since award programs typically happen annually, there will be some you have longer to prepare for than others. If an award you’re interested in has a looming deadline, don’t rush your entry. Awards can sometimes be an investment – there might be entry fees involved – and if you rush an entry, you risk losing your money if you haven’t taken the time to submit a meaningful and thoughtful application.

you’ll almost never win an award by just sitting around waiting for it Click To Tweet

2—I resolve to get increased media coverage for my brand in 2017. Whether through local, regional or national media outlets, your goal is to get more third-party (someone who isn’t you) coverage of what your company is up to by way of interviews, TV appearances, podcast broadcasts or, my personal fave, a big, badass print cover. Proactive media outreach can achieve this kind of coverage which highlights unbiased third-party expert endorsements (statements or recommendations), which builds instant credibility (hello, referrals). It also completely validates your product or service so your consumers have to do a lot less research to know you’re legit.

> PR PRO TIP: If this is your goal, you should also focus on growing and maintaining your network of contacts. You’ll need to coordinate a PR strategy for the full year leveraging things like special events (whether online or off, events can be great topic fodder to pitch to other blogs, podcasts, newspapers, radio shows, TV segments and more), thought leadership (what are you a subject matter expert for? What area of expertise can you offer an interview on?), and a healthy dose of strategic and thoughtful newsjacking (when you leverage a big trending moment or holiday to inject your own business story or idea to generate media coverage or engagement online), as well as leveraging micro-moments (those times when consumers can be fulfilled by taking an action online). You’ll also need to figure in your peak sales seasons and kick up your outreach efforts during those times.

3—I resolve to kick online reputation ass this year. Delivering and promoting your key messages and brand image using social media vehicles, while also getting your website consumer-ready, are paramount to boosting your reputation and establishing your place in the market. Think like a client in order to put yourself in their shoes and really determine if your messaging is accurately highlighting how you’re different and what you do.

> PR PRO TIP: If this is your goal, I always tell my clients: don’t ignore social (even if Instagram is driving you bananas). Social media is happening with or without you. So don’t miss out on the conversation. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer a unique opportunity for business owners to directly foster and develop relationships to grow killer networks. Make this about building relationships and growing your list, but also staying relevant and top of mind. Grab our 2017 PR Posting and Pitching Calendar here to stay ahead.

4—I resolve to take advantage of seasonal promotional opportunities. Did Black Friday sales rock your world? Did it leave you wanting to buy all of the things on discount with limited time offer?? That was (mostly) good seasonal PR and marketing at work. Leveraging seasonal promotional opportunities like Black Friday can be a smart way to gain visibility for your brand and make additional sales, if done strategically. Seasonal sales and holidays also offer an opportunity to pitch what you’re doing to outsiders and try to generate coverage in the form of blog post roundups, podcast interviews or other collaborations.

> PR PRO TIP: If this is your goal, you already know about the Black Friday hype within the online business ecosystem. Consider other peak sales seasons like January for all things fitness, health and wellness, as well as business system and goal planning. Think also about the “dead” times like May-August when everyone is typically on vacation and the internets are a little bit quieter. Things start to ramp back up around back-to-school season in September and you roll through the rest of the year with a fall- and Halloween-themed October, a Thanksgiving and Black Friday-induced November and your crazy holiday season throughout December.

5—I resolve to be more prepared for a crisis. Whether a consumer left your product a negative review which completely derailed your entire operation (and ego), or someone left a less-than-kind Facebook comment calling your biz into question in a public forum, being prepared for these little hits can be the difference between crying yourself to sleep at night and just handling your shit like a boss. Sometimes lawsuits happen, wardrobes malfunction, tweets misfire, Facebook Live goes wrong and CEO’s step out of line. That’s why there are people in the world who help businesses through life’s inevitable crises.

PR PRO TIP: If this is your goal, the first step is preparation. During a crisis, judgment is informed by experience, which sometimes only a credible PR partner can provide, however before a crisis, there is actually a lot of planning you can do in advance. If you’re an online business owner, you should have a crisis communications plan that outlines your personal protocol for how you’ll respond (or not) in forums, Facebook Groups, your Facebook business page, etc. Will you respond to negative reviews and how? Will you engage when receiving negative feedback or rumors about your brand? Having a plan in place to fall back on when (not if) this happens, you won’t feel completely caught off guard.

being prepared for a crisis can be the difference between crying yourself to sleep and just handling your shit like a boss Click To Tweet

If you’re new to this PR thing, try to stick to just one goal – one adventure – at a time until you either get the hang of it or partner with a PR pro of your very own. In the meantime, don’t delay measuring all of your efforts and giving your goals more tangible numbers to monitor for success. How many interviews or features should feature your company in 2017? As with any business goal, state a numeral benchmark and a deadline to keep you on track.

These were a few of our favorite PR goals, but to see the rest of our list, head over to thepressmarket.com/blog where we’re also sharing our 2017 PR trends forecast to get you more than ready for the next 12 months of PR for your business. And drop us a line on Instagram @ThePressMarket, where we’ll be posting about this and you can share your adventure with us.

BY: BRIDGET FORNEY

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PR Strategy | Creative Business Owner | Creative Entrepreneur | Business Tips | Marketing Strategy

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