Top 10 PR Resolutions for 2011

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The 2010 calendar is running out of daylight and the liquor stores are stacking up the bubbly. So that can only mean a few things are going to come into high fashion and range in levels of greatness.

Some of which will even be trending topics on Twitter including the funny glasses, hangovers, kissing at midnight and the ball dropping in Times Square, but those won’t make their way onto the page. Instead we’re going to take a look at some resolutions that will help us professionally as PR folks. So break out the Pepto because these resolutions may be a tough pill to swallow.

Keep it Clean – I am not sure about you, but I cannot keep my desk clean for the life of me.  I had a conversation about this with fellow PRBC staffer Christina Khoury the other day.  Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that we don’t ever stop to think about ourselves or our area during the day and are hyper-focused on the task at hand.  Set some time on your schedule to tidy your area at least once a week. It will show folks you take pride in how you present yourself and can go a long way with your bosses. Being messy can lead to questions about your work ethic and we all know what they say about cleanliness…

Make a Connection – We work in a cold industry.  It’s often filled with cold calls, fake networking events and blind emails.  Relationships with journalists are often frosty at best for PR folks, let’s try to change that.  In 2010, I made great connections with a slew of journalists and was better for it. I plan on meeting more during 2011 and challenge you to do the same.

Canned Meat – How long does it take you to write an email?  Five, 10, 20 minutes?  Since the time is minimal, why not spend some time customizing your pitches?  Keith Trivitt wrote a great post on PR automation the other day and it also was part impetus for this post.  We need to cut the <name> crap and get back to having a meaningful relationship with journalists.

Meet your Network – Show of hands, how many of you have met at least 1/10 of your social network in real life?  While it may be tough to do, IRL meetings important.  This year, I am looking forward to meeting Rebecca Denison, Danny Brown, Chris Barger, Arik Hanson and Michael Dolan.  Who are you going to meet?

Screw Your Brand – Now I am not sure if this is legal in the 50 states, but I will defer to the lawyers on the legality of it.  In all seriousness 2010 was the year of the personal brand.  Maybe I am just naïve or worked in sports for too long, but I firmly believe in the saying that you play for the name on the crest not the name on the back.  Unless you are the head of your firm, your job as a PR pro is to make your company or client look good.  Everyone knows that your job today will likely not be your last, but you shouldn’t use your current role to gain yourself notoriety.  If you want to build something up that is Brand U, do it 5-9 not on the company dime.  I predict that we’ll see more companies cracking down on this kind of self-promotional behavior.

You may be asking yourself where the other five resolutions are.  I am asking you the same thing.  You see, resolution lists  often feel empty to me and would be better  if they were created together. Please note this caveat is the reason for the asterisk in the title.

At the end of the day we’ve all got things that we need to be better at, but may not be ready to admit them, so let’s think of the comments below as a group therapy session where we can make the best resolution list for 2011 that we’ll create together as a definitive list.

There are no bad answers and we’ll give you credit in the final post :)

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  • Jasmollica

    Stress Crisis Management/Communications- I think we saw this year how badly some companies/people did in managing their crisis PR. Make it a point to tell your C-suite just how integral it is to have a crisis plan in place. On top of that, invest in media training and make sure your boss isn’t the next Tony Hayward.

    • Anonymous

      Great point Jason. Education is key, especially when bad things come down the pike.

  • Worob

    I was going to post something similar on my blog. Back to the drawing board.. :)

    PR at Sunrise

    • Anonymous

      Well you can post away here too if you’d like :) What would your resolution be?

  • Michel Ozzello

    I can only see a list of 5 resolutions… so I guess you need 5 more to have the list ready for 2011!

    Here’s one:
    Write a list of buzwords you CAN’T use;
    Print the list in font-size 100 and
    Stick it on the wall right in front of you, so you can always see it there.

    The list should contain the obvious overused and vapor-warish words like “leading supplier”, “innovative”, “ground-breaking” and the likes…


    • Anonymous

      Michel that was the point of the post as I wanted to see what everyone else had in mind before pontificating and saying what should be done.

    • Cozetta Jones

      Don’t forget “world-class.” That one drives me crazy. I see it a lot in the health industry.

  • Amanda Oleson

    If one of your goals is to meet Arik Hanson in 2011, does that mean you’re coming to Minnesota? Because I want in on the beer drinking….

    • Anonymous

      I may. Just need to find an excuse that the wife would accept on that one :)

  • Katrina Florence

    Love this list! And definitely agree that it’s time to get back to basics and build real relationships with media as well as our online networks.

    • Anonymous

      Glad to hear and thanks for stopping by. Would you add anything to the list?

  • Chris Ehrlich

    Hi Jeff,

    Agree that IRL meetings with your online network are a great idea and should be a goal, if not priority, when you’re in another city for work/a good bit.

    Would add “Make Social Media Social.” As brands commit more resources to social media/digital PR, think that a goal should be to use them to, in fact, engage their audiences and demystify the brand for end users — neither of which are the norm.

    -Chris Ehrlich

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Chris the IRL and social becoming social are great points. From a person who works on behalf of a brand its a constant uphill battle to really put a “face” to the company while also protecting the integrity of the brand, community and also answering to both masters.

      • Chris Ehrlich

        Very true, Jeff. Just so long as that uphill battle is waged at all!

  • prdude

    great post espo. haven’t really thought of resolutions yet, but one would probably be to stop using my colleagues email addresses when forced to pitch crap. somehow, they don’t like it, but they can’t figure out who’s doing it. :-)

    • Anonymous

      I am going to say that stopping spamming from your colleagues emails would probably be something to stop, unless there is personal gain out of it, it might be good to cut that out :)

      BTW can we talk offline on how to do that?

  • Cozetta Jones

    You stepped on my toes with the first one. Every time I clean my desk more stuff appears. Random notes, business cards, phone messages, proofs from the graphic designer and my laptom…really a mess. I stopped having meetings in my office and moved to the conference room.

    • Cozetta Jones

      Opps and my “laptop.” Another resolution…please edit before hitting post!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Cozetta, I clean once a week and by the middle of the next it is a train wreck. One of these days I’ll get it

  • Chris Syme

    Do something everyday for you–whether it’s exercise, meditate, try a new food, whatever. Make your life about more than just work. When you get good at taking care of your own well-being, taking care of your clients will be second nature.

  • Teresa Magnus

    Become an expert at something you don’t know how to do or aren’t good at. For me, that probably means a lot more practice with the flip cam.

    • Anonymous

      Ahh the flip is an awesome tool. Have you looked into using an Xtender? A good book for tips on shooting video is Steve Garfield’s Get Seen

  • Cklenotic

    Great post! Keeping my desk clean is always on my list. Maybe it will actually happen next year!

  • Kristine

    Sigh … Can #5 be required teaching for all recent grads? (PS … I am a huge sports fan!)

    • Anonymous

      Kristine – I think its up to folks at the PRSA and teachers to drill that into folks heads. If you are starting out, you shouldn’t be thinking about blowing up and being all about Brand U.

  • Steve Koenigsberg

    Mantra for 2011 and every year after: Do good work, be easy to work with, and you’ll build a reputation of attraction with all you meet. And that will be your “personal brand” as well as speak well for your team.

    • Anonymous

      I like that

  • Ira

    Keep your promises and build relationships with clients beyond the social network, email. etc.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t come through on promises, your rep takes a hit as a professional.

  • Krowland88

    Another resolution: Never stop learning. Doing some deep research into your company, clients and clients’ industries will make you into an expert in their subject matter. Don’t just memorize the key messages provided to you when you get a new client or start a new job. Learn everything you can about everything you can.

    • Anonymous

      Learning is important. When you stop doing it, you should hang em up as you’re probably ready to retire.

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  • Gina Kazimir

    Always remember that doing is one thing, being effective is often quite another. Vow to be effective rather than to do things.

  • Byron

    How are you meeting the journalists? If a journalist is not responding to an email, phone call, or twitter, how are you meeting them? I’d really like to know, please!

    • Anonymous

      Byron – it’s called stalking.

      And by that I don’t mean in the Fatal Attraction reference (did I date myself here?), but rather finding ways to connect with the journalist. If the traditional routes are not working to get in touch with the reporter, start going to events that they are at and make the connection.

      You also need to step back and consider if you have been pitching this person the right way. I hate to say it, but if you’re coming to the reporter with things they aren’t interested in, you’ll probably never make the connection.

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  • Anonymous

    As an entry-level person, speak up! Have an opinion and ask questions.

    • Anonymous

      Only way to get better is to ask questions when you don’t know something you’ll never get better.

  • Christina

    Give back.

  • PaigeHolden

    I have a couple to add. First, know what you don’t know. PR gets so competitive I think we pretend that we know more than we do and then we spin wheels trying to figure it out in short time. This year I want to make a list of things I don’t quite understand yet and then go learn them one by one. :-)

  • PaigeHolden

    Whoops. To eager to post. My second resolution is to be brave. Im way too much of a perfectionist, which can hold up projects from time to time.

    • Anonymous

      Paige, two great points. Now how do being brave and a perfectionist bang heads with one another?

      I love that you want to chalk off things to learn for a list. Let us know if we can help along the way :)

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