With 2020 in full swing, companies across industries have already finalized budgets and set their goals for the year ahead. Even if your organization hasn’t yet considered its public relations and marketing plans for 2020, it’s never too late to understand where your strategy lies and how to sharpen it in the year ahead.
While PR and marketing objectives vary across organizations, let’s take a look at some of the elements any organization needs to evaluate in order to be set up for success when it comes to creating a plan for the year ahead.
What Are Your Goals?
The most crucial step in creating a plan for the year ahead is to set your goals. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish during the next year before creating a strategy that outlines how you aim to achieve those objectives.
Whether you want to build awareness, establish thought leadership, generate leads or boost your bottom line, establishing measurable goals is the key to success. If you aren’t able to measure the performance of your PR and marketing efforts, how can you track progress? Set key performance indicators (KPIs) that make evaluating success simple. Tracking how each campaign or piece of content contributed to reaching your goal empowers you with the data to prove the efficacy of your efforts and improve your strategy over time.
Once you’ve established your goals, create a strategy to meet those goals and identify the tactics to achieve them.
When it comes to planning awards, speaking opportunities and editorial calendars, organization is the key.
While developing submissions for awards and speaking opportunities pertinent to your organization and scouring the websites of hundreds of media publications for relevant and worthwhile opportunities can be quite time-consuming, the benefits of winning an award, securing a speaking opportunity or scoring a quick content marketing win significantly outweigh reasons not to spend the time to do so.
Most organizations make their awards, conferences and editorial content calendars available in the fourth quarter of the prior year, so it’s important to look at the year ahead and make note of the upcoming opportunities you want to participate in. If a publication is writing about anything applicable to your business or that you could thoughtfully speak to, make sure to pitch them a contributed article. Note that most publications work a few months ahead, so pay close attention to deadlines.
Getting organized and knowing about upcoming award shows, speaking engagements at conferences, trade shows and webinars and editorial calendar opportunities will enable you to identify the most favorable time to offer your organization as an expert source, contribute an article or even suggest a feature story on your company.
Plan to Be Flexible
In today’s fast-paced world of business, things can change in the blink of an eye. Like most areas of business, PR and marketing require flexibility and the ability to recognize changes over time. Consequently, when planning your PR and marketing activities for the year, you have to consider the notion that your plan will likely shift and need revising.
While your initial plan will likely need revision as you move through the year, it will provide the foundational structure to stick to and help you stay focused on meeting your goals. Even though such plans are always subject to change, planning ahead empowers organizations with the ability to stick to your overall goals and maintain your focus.
Planning your PR and marketing strategies now not only helps generate new ideas and creates additional opportunities for your business to excel in the year ahead, it also provides assurance that you’re doing what it takes on a daily basis to connect with your audience and ultimately make money.
When executed properly, PR and marketing combine to construct a trustworthy, knowledgable and favorable reputation for your organization. To optimally leverage the advantages of this relationship, you need to be strategic in how you communicate your brand’s key messages.
If your organization isn’t establishing the goals it aims to accomplish, developing a budget for PR and marketing efforts, identifying and organizing upcoming opportunities or planning to be flexible, you will struggle to create a successful PR and marketing plan for the year ahead.
At MAPR, we’ve created hundreds of successful plans that have helped clients multiply their media coverage and tell their stories to the people who matter. If you’re behind on your planning for 2020 or want to get a head start on planning for the months ahead, give us a shout!