A Change of Seasons, A Season of Change…

This week we mark a once-in-four-years milestone – leap day:  that extra calendar day on Wednesday, Feb. 29th.  As winter fades and spring takes off, this welcome change of seasons also provides a time to ponder positive changes for your business and organization.

Take a few moments this week to leap ahead in your public relations mindset.  Do you have a formalized PR approach? If so, how effectively is your current program serving you?  If you don’t have one, why not; should you?

I’d like to challenge you to do an informal audit and evaluation of your PR effort.  Do this by listing the outcomes you want your PR program to accomplish and honestly evaluating the results you’ve achieved.

To get you started, here are 11 suggestions for what a good PR program can accomplish.  Choose your top three things – you may well have additional goals not on this list.

I want my PR program to…

  1. Inspire our employees and attract top recruits
  2. Build wealth by some objective measure, e.g., revenue, profit, etc.
  3. Stimulate inquiries and new business
  4. Enhance and protect our reputation
  5. Promote brand recognition and visibility
  6. Increase awareness of our competitive differentiators
  7. Cultivate meaningful dialog with the media who cover our industry
  8. Implement an effective issue management plan to help avoid crises
  9. Activate a smart crisis plan when a “disaster” hits and minimize damage
  10. Stay on top of social media developments/tools and implement the “best tactics” for our business
  11. Attract investors

OK, what grades would you give your current PR plan for achieving your top three desired outcomes?

Can you measure positive results?  If you’re underwhelmed, think about what changes could transform your business this year.

As Albert Einstein noted:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.

If redoing a whole plan seems overwhelming, get some professional help.  Or, if you’re game to jump in, take one positive step.  Start with lucky number seven on the list above.

Think about what you’re doing that’s smart and innovative.  What is a new trend (or trends) affecting your business or industry?  Do your homework. Then, pick up the phone and call one reporter who covers your industry or an area your industry impacts.  Extend a sincere and informed request to discuss your ideas.  Invite him or her to lunch and make a personal connection.  Don’t expect immediate coverage.  If they don’t accept your offer, I’ll buy you lunch…  because invariably, I’ve found over the years that reporters are eager to hear legitimate news and ideas and participate in ongoing dialog.  This can become one of your most valuable relationships.  Give it a try!

So, reflect this week and please share your findings and thoughts with us:  What can you do differently this year to enhance your PR program and leap ahead to the next level in your organization?

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