It’s the time of the year when we return home to meet with our friends and family members, share gifts with one another, and rejoice at the thought of less strenuous work hours and workloads (at least for a few weeks).
For PR professionals, this is the time to reflect on the past year, refresh, and prepare to hit the ground running in the New Year. Whether you are going home, hitting the slopes or enjoying a tropical getaway, here is RH’s list of friendly reminders for every PR professional to follow during the end of the year.
Take a Look Back
Whether you are working in an agency setting or in-house, the end of the year provides a good opportunity to look back at the last year’s peaks and valleys with a fresh perspective. Remember the major campaign that landed you the coverage you wanted and the kudos from the client? Try identifying the top 3 elements from the campaign that made it such a big win. On the other hand, you’ll probably remember at least one initiative that didn’t work out for whatever reason. In each instance, there are important lessons to be learned from the strategies and tactics that were used. A mistake is not always obvious at the time it takes place, but hindsight is 20/20, and the end of the year offers an opportunity to look back at these moments with a clear head. In the same way, something that may have seemed like a ‘dud’ at the time may have actually sown the seeds for long-term success – something that can only become clear over time. Learn from mistakes and successes, and see where that knowledge can be applied in the future.
Strategic Planning and Housekeeping
The end of the year is also sometimes a relatively slow time in terms of day-to-day assignments, as many of your colleagues and clients may be out for the holiday. But during normal working hours, don’t keep a Christmas Story on endless repeat and leave work every day at 2:00 p.m. This is valuable time to take care of administrative tasks that you’ve been putting off, like cleaning your desk, filing old papers or emails, or even renewing or cancelling subscriptions.
Housekeeping issues aside, it is also a time to start thinking strategically about the next year. Did you have a big idea in 2014 that you weren’t able to get to? Revisit it now, and see where it fits into your scope of work and initiatives next year. Think about a new way to approach projects with your client, and a new way to manage tasks internally. Did a coworker on another account land an amazing result by taking a unique approach? Think about how you can replicate that success. Again, the holidays provide a priceless opportunity to think about how to do things over the next year.
Content is King
My experience is that many media outlets are becoming increasingly hungry for content to fill their pages and boost their SEO. Much of this content comes from reliable third party sources like the clients we represent, and we have an opportunity to insert our client’s messages through content like byline articles or contributed blogs. Around the end of the year, news outlets that want to fill their final editions and plan for next year are especially in need of the kind of smart content you can provide. So during December, make sure you’re checking editorial calendars and contacting editors – it can be a fruitful exercise for you AND the news outlets you want to get in.
The concept of a 9-5 job is almost completely foreign for the PR professional. The news cycle goes on around us 24/7, and we’re always on call to exceed the expectations of our clients, whenever they pop up. But the holidays provide us an opportunity to put down our phones and disconnect from our computer for a few hours. Make the most of the time off and try to rest and recharge. The more time you spend doing the things you love with the ones you care for, the more productive you’ll be when January 2 hits. You won’t regret it!
If you have the opportunity this holiday season, take advantage of the down time and follow these end of year PR best practices. You’ll come back ready and re-charged for a great 2015!
How do you kickstart the new year? Leave a comment below, or tweet us at @RHStrategic with the hashtag #RHetoricBlog.
RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.