As yet another year comes to an end, it’s not only a time for company holiday parties, but it’s also a time to start preparing for 2013. As a PR professional, there’s a lot of planning that’s required to achieve the greatest success. There’s a lot to be covered and some items tend to get overlooked or some companies don’t get started early enough.
I encourage PR agencies and departments to get a jumpstart on this process if you haven’t done so already. Here are five items to review as we enter the new year.
- Research editorial calendars. While this might be one of the most time consuming tasks, it’s also one of the most important. Companies want to make sure that their experts are front and center on topics that apply to their business. Make a list of all the publications that are of interest to your company, review their editorial calendars for 2013 and create a master calendar for all the publications well in advance so you don’t miss any important dates or topics. Remember, you may need to pitch reporters on those topics at least two months in advance.
- Make outreach efforts. This is the time of the year when I’m getting ready to reach out to reporters that I worked with in 2012 and remind them about experts we have available to contribute to any breaking news stories. For example, lets say Facebook just made a big announcement about a new change that will affect businesses. Not only are PR professionals responsible for reaching out immediately on those stories to offer their experts, but we want those reporters to have a list of contacts in their back pocket that they can turn to on the fly. Depending on the publication, reporters are pitched by numerous PR professionals so it doesn’t hurt to send a quick note re-introducing yourself and let them know what you can bring to the table.
- Investigate associations. Perhaps your company is looking to land a client in a specific industry in 2013. I encourage organizations to review their target list of potential clients and look at the various associations they participate in. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and also learn more about that industry.
- Review your contacts. While researching editorial calendars is very time consuming, updating contacts takes just as much effort. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that reporters change quite often—whether they move to a new publication or cover a new beat. At the end of each year, I visit the websites for the top publications that we work with and review their staff list and ensure the information we have is correct before I pitch a reporter or send them a press release.
- Research awards and conferences. It’s always a good idea for PR pros to keep a running list of the awards they apply for each year so they can update the deadlines to ensure they don’t miss anything. The beginning of the year is also a good time to research any new awards. In addition, examine the trade shows and conferences that clients are considering attending and might be interested in speaking at. For major events, they typically request speaker submissions months in advance so getting a jump start on this is imperative.
While there are certainly other important items on your checklist to go over such as reviewing your social media and email marketing strategy, these five items are a must and PR professionals should revisit them each year to help achieve the greatest success before entering the new year. Best of luck to everyone in 2013!