Not only does January mark the New Year, it also marks the beginning of my second year at Cookerly Public Relations. With that in mind, I thought I would take the time to reveal my resolutions for the New Year – and for improving as a PR professional.
I resolve to keep track of new trends.
This is, perhaps, my easiest resolution. I am a data nerd, a blog geek and a knowledgephile. I spend part of my days reading PR and marketing blogs (and, usually, my evenings, too). But there is a ton of information out there, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. How can you read only the best news, disregard the dead ends and still make the most efficient use of your time?
While there are over a hundred blogs on my reading list, there is no way I can read every single article and blog post. Instead, I use a feed reader, such as feedDemon and Google Reader, to browse the headlines and summaries (this is why a good headline is crucial), and I follow websites like Reddit to track down the most popular articles in specific topic areas. I save the most interesting articles for later, and I often share them with my colleagues as well. Likewise, I make sure to read the pieces my friends and colleagues send to me.
I resolve to be a concise writer.
Last year, Twitter took flight as an incredibly powerful tool for brands and communicators. According to recent stats, eleven new accounts are created on Twitter every second, and one in three social media users prefer social care over customer care via telephone. Brands must be able to connect with their target audiences through Twitter and other social media channels, and that means an intimate understanding of how to write for these platforms is vital.
Twitter epitomizes the need for clear, concise language that grabs attention and engages readers. While press releases, pitches and bylines may not be constrained by 140 characters, it is important to ensure that the language is succinct, relevant and comprehensible.
I resolve to make connections.
As the social media manager, much of my work takes place digitally, and it is easy to get use to the fast pace of the Web. It takes just a moment to send out an email, so why make a phone call when I can just as easily send a direct message?
But while people are spending 21% more time on social networks this year, it is still important to maintain real-life relationships. A brief phone call or a lunch meeting can help communicators maintain relationships with journalists, peers or constituents. Like my colleague Chris says, real, human relationships cannot be forced, and it’s important to maintain these connections.
I resolve to keep learning.
One of the coolest aspects of the PR industry is that there is always something new to learn. New technology is shaping how we communicate, from augmented reality to location-based marketing. As I mentioned above, the number of technological advances is enormous, and it can be difficult to learn everything.
Fortunately, I work with some pretty smart people. I’d like to think I am constantly evolving and growing as a professional on my own, but I cannot do that without learning from my colleagues. Conferences, brainstorming and shared articles help me discover new tactics or ideas on the job, but it is perhaps most important to keep an open mind as you work alongside others. An unexpected lesson can be key to the next great PR campaign.
What professional resolutions have you made this year, and how do you plan on keeping them?
Image Credit: “Fireworks” by Justin Valas