For many PR professionals, the end of the year is oftentimes the most stressful time of the year. There’s a lot going on—clients are all over the place, and you’re trying to fit in just one or two more hits before you can close the books. But don’t forget the most important thing: preparing for the year ahead.
Here are some tips to make sure you start next year off on the right foot:
1. Get Organized
Are all your files where they’re supposed to be? Are your media lists filled with old or irrelevant information? The easiest way to hit the ground running after the new year is to make sure you’re not behind on anything, and that everything is where it needs to be. You don’t want to get tripped up because you couldn’t find someone’s updated contact information, or you can’t find a document you need.
2. Look Back at the Year
Remember that profile from back in March, the one that made your client really happy? Or a pitch you wrote that might still get some bites, with just a little rewording? Or maybe you wrote a press release that got picked up by several top-tier media outlets, but you dropped the ball and didn’t leverage it properly. It’s important to look back on the year and review what you did that worked, and what you could have done better. Make a list of the wins and losses to get a clearer picture on where you’re already killing it, and where there’s probably room for improvement.
3. Reach Out to Old Friends and Contacts
Maybe you had several back and forth emails with a reporter back in September, but haven’t spoken since. Remind yourself about contacts who have moved to different outlets. Make it a point to start the year off on the right foot and reach out to them again. Everyone is busy, but by keeping in touch with contacts you’re potentially opening up more media placements. You’re showing your contacts that you value their work, and want to continue your relationships with them. As an added bonus, you’re putting your name at the top of their mind for the coming year.
4. Strategize Effectively
Ahead of the new year it’s important to evaluate where you want to go, and what you want to achieve over the coming year. By effectively reviewing the past year, and seeing where there were some gaps, you can strategize on how to close them. Did you miss some opportunities that now seem like obvious moves? Is there potential to expand your reach to new markets? Whatever the case, put a plan in place to reach your goals, so you’re not scrambling at the beginning of the year with a million other things on your plate.
Sometimes, this one is the hardest for PR pros to do, but make sure to take some time to unwind before the frenzy starts up again. Treat yourself to some unplugged, “alone time,” perhaps with seasonably appropriate hot chocolate, and use this time to just think. Make time to connect with friends and family. Whatever you do, give yourself a break so you can head into 2017 refreshed, recharged and ready to succeed.
By Sara Guenoun, Associate Account Executive