A New Year always brings new resolutions. Here are ten PR and marketing resolutions to get 2015 off to a successful start.
1) Ensure your website is up to date
What's the first thing you do when you want to know about a product or company? You go straight to the website. How do you feel when it's poorly designed and the copy's out of date? I generally go elsewhere. Enough said.
2) Get to grips with SEO
As seen in my last post, SEO is a key activity for anyone with an online presence. Don't neglect it. If you can’t do it yourself, get a specialist to help and always seek a personal recommendation because contrary to expectations, it needn’t cost the earth and the right people will help you upskill too.
3) Develop your blog and post regularly
This is linked to the point about SEO. If you want your website to appear higher in search results, regular blog posts are key and give you fresh content to share on social media platforms. The companies achieving the greatest cut through with their messaging are generally those who have realised they don’t need to rely on traditional media because they can be publishers and broadcasters too. They also use their blog to answer questions that their customers are searching for – always keep your audience in mind so content is relevant.
4) Check your security settings and do social media housekeeping
Ok so I'm appalling at this but there is nothing worse than losing precious earning / selling time because of a security threat or virus wreaking havoc. Here are some handy tips from Stephen Waddington, the European digital and social media director for Ketchum and outgoing President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
5) Refine your stakeholder databases
Along with your website, your customer database is arguably your most powerful sales tool. Sadly it's also one of the ones most frequently neglected. Set time aside at least quarterly to update and de-dupe and consider new ways of leveraging it. Stop making excuses!
6) Audit all your marketing literature
One of the first things we do when working with a new client is audit their marketing materials to see whether it's all needed, works efficiently and needs updating. Could you benefit from doing this? You might find budget can be reallocated elsewhere and / or it's time to refresh your corporate tone and look.
7) Set measurable goals and evaluate activity properly
There is absolutely no point doing any PR and marketing activity if you're not measuring it because you can't tell what's working and what's not. Effectively you're throwing money away. Even if you're not able to measure behaviour change and brand awareness, there are some quick and dirty metrics that can keep you on the straight and narrow. And remember that much of the time quality is better than quantity.
8) Build in time for networking
I wish I had a pound for every time I've heard the sentence 'I don't like networking'. Well neither do most people because it requires guts and effort to meet new people and actually build relationships (as opposed to just shoving a business card in someone's face). The successful people I know choose the events they attend carefully, regularly set up one to ones and then they stay in touch. Don't forget there are lots of ways to network online too, for example through #northeasthour and others based on location / sector.
9) Join an industry body
One of the most rewarding work-related things I’ve ever done is to join the CIPR and serve on its Board and Council to play my part in taking the industry forward. In return I’ve met some of PR’s leading lights, extended my network, and have access to all the latest skills guides, which aids my CPD. It’s certainly challenged and developed me for the better as a consultant – think about how you could benefit from joining an industry body and make signing up a priority.
10) Commit to give back
Life is short and at times we all need a helping hand along the way. I’m grateful to those who give their time when I need support or advice and always try to help when people approach me. Equally I’m a Trustee for the Chronicle Sunshine Fund using my skills and networks to help it raise awareness as well as much needed funds. This type of give back is only right and proper. What could you and your business be doing to help make our society better?