Hit the ground running in the New Year by devoting time now to creating your 2020 PR plan.
With the new year comes the excitement of fresh new projects and plans, personal resolutions and business goals. While you’re considering the year ahead and fine-tuning your business plan, it’s the perfect time to develop your PR plan for 2020. According to CoSchedule, marketers who executed their projects and campaigns against their strategy were 356% more likely to report success. We don’t want you to miss out on potential wins like this, so to boost your strategy even further, we’ve created a How To for planning your year to come.
Review the year that was
How was 2019 for your business overall? Were you happy with the level of media coverage you received? What would you consider to be your PR successes and your failures? The answers to these questions will inform your planning for the year to come.
Where did you have the most success? Consider the types of angles you used, the publications that were most receptive and consider why, and whether this approach will work for you again in the new year. Have your needs changed? Do you need to consider some new avenues? What about the failures? Were there pitches that fell flat and received no media interest at all? Can you pinpoint the aspects of your story that writers weren’t interested in? Identifying potential reasons for failed pitches can help streamline your approach over the next year.
Review your company plans
Now that you’ve reviewed the past year’s successes and failures, it’s time to look to the future. What do you have planned for 2020? Are there plans for growth or expansion? Will you have new product launches or improvements to your services during the course of the year? Do your customers have sales or special events to look forward to? What do you have planned for mid-year, and the end of the year?
And while we all prefer to focus on the positives, if you do have some potentially negative or damaging news that will be released during the year, it’s important to get ahead of that as early as possible. Consider the issue: will it affect staff or workers, productivity or ability to deliver on pre-orders or promises? How might it affect your customers or audience? Staying ahead of the story allows you to control the narrative; acting rather than reacting.
Stay up to date
Given the changing nature of our interaction with information, the media is ever-changing. Reporters’ and writers’ roles change depending on job availability, work-life balance and their own interest areas more than ever before, and there’s a constant ebb and flow of launches of new publications and closures of others.
It’s good business practice to have your media list updated at least once a year, and on an ongoing basis as you learn of moves and changes. Are there new publications in your product or service’s space? Are there new writers? Perhaps a new editor that could be open to considering new story angles. Are there new categories of media you should consider pursuing? According to Smart Insights, website development, email marketing and social media are the most effective channels for B2B engagement, with 79% of marketing specialist respondents citing social media as the most effective marketing channel. And don’t forget online publications – new bloggers or sites that are gaining traction should all be added to your list.
Do the contacts you’ve been pitching to in the past year still make sense for your business? Perhaps you’re moving in a new direction, or your pitches weren’t penetrating and resulting in coverage. Are your go-to publications or writers still developing the types of stories or ideas that are relevant to your business and your target audience?
A strong media list is up to date, contains publications encompassing both traditional and digital channels. Be sure to invest time in this – you won’t be sorry you did!
Build out your timeline
By early January, you’ll already have your business plan built out for the year. A great way to hit the ground running with media and PR initiatives is to align them closely with this plan.
Build a month-by-month framework of items you consider newsworthy and consider the marketing inventory that might go along with each: social media content, media pitch angles, press releases and other collateral. If you’re resource or time-poor, even mapping out what you need around each of these PR opportunities goes a long way towards being ready when the time comes.
For the ‘down-time’ between these newsworthy moments in the year, it’s important to keep up momentum and keep yourself front of mind with your audience. Media pitching is an excellent way to ensure a drip feed of coverage during the quieter periods when your focus may be on other parts of the business.
Prepare a number of general story angles about your business, product or service that may be of interest to specific publications on your target list. Putting thought into this list ahead of time will save a scramble for last-minute ideas when you’re under pressure in other areas.
Have fun with it!
Finally, enjoy yourself! Selling your business and yourself should be a fun process – after all, it’s your baby. Why not enjoy telling your story and sharing your ideas with the world? A 2015 Brand Storytelling Report found that 79% of people want to hear the story behind the company or brand. A well thought out PR plan will be the backbone of your business in 2020 and will allow you to put more of your time and energy back into doing what you love best.