I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past five years at Red Shoes PR, and as we look to the new chapter we are about to begin (did we mention were moving in September?!?), I’m amazed at how much the communications industry has changed over the years.
Working in one of the fastest moving and ever-changing industries, we take pride in working with our clients to stay ahead of the changes to make sure their communications plans are always up-to-date and utilizing the most advanced communications tools and ideas.
As you work on planning for 2014, here are a few “then and now” scenarios to take into consideration:
Then: Develop an annual plan
Now: Try breaking your communications efforts into quarterly mini-plans. Now, we are not suggesting that you do away with a traditional three or five year business plan. What we do recommend because the industry is changing so fast is to focus on your task at hand for the upcoming quarter. Develop goals you want to accomplish, and then break those into monthly action items. What we continue to see is if you develop an annual communications plan, by month seven or eight it has changed so much that it is hard to stay on task.
Then: Create a social media presence
Now: When social media came on the scene, most businesses created a Facebook account because they were told it was important to be found online. Five years later, they are still struggling with what to post, how much to post and if anyone is even looking at the social media outlet. We suggest having a social media strategy in place. Focus on where your target audience is and what their pain points are. How do you plan to engage with your audience and turn them into leads? And once you have your strategy in place, don’t forget to periodically measure its effectiveness.
Then: Draft a press release or pitch a story to get your name in ink
Now: PR today needs to have a balance of traditional and new media content. In addition to writing news releases, pitching news stories and developing written content, make sure you have someone in your department who can shoot and edit videos, take photos to immediately place onto social media networks and create simple graphic elements for visual communications. You now have the opportunity to tell your own story. Consumers are looking for more multimedia content from their brands and this is where your PR department can deliver.
Then: Crisis existed only in print or broadcast media
Now: The days of having a crisis happen to your company and people not finding out until the next days are long over. Everyone can become a reporter with the use of a smart phone and a Twitter account. Once a crisis happens, it has the potential to spread like wildfire. Do you have a tool and process in place to monitor your company online? Are you prepared to respond or engage in the conversation once something happens?
So what’s something that hasn’t changed through the years? I believe it is still a “who you know” world, so get out there and meet with reporters and make connections with colleagues in your network. While the channels may have changed, relationships still matter more than ever. They just might lead you to your next story, new client or big idea to make your organization stand out among the rest.