Taking Pause to Ensure Your Tools are Sharpened

My last couple of posts has focused on marketing trends that we’re likely to see in 2017. See email marketing trends here and SEO trends here. These trends aid us, PR professionals, as we develop new plans for our clients in the coming years. It’s really important to stay on top of the latest and greatest so that our clients are at the cutting edge. It’s also important for us to make sure our own house is in order.

It’s a good practice to go through all the tools you use throughout the year and spend time updating them.

Goal Matching

This practice works internally and with your clients. Internally, make sure you understand your agency’s goals for the year and how you contribute to them. Is your company working towards more upsells or retaining a specific type of client? Understand how you can impact the overall goal.

Over the last month or so, you and your account teams have probably spent time planning and setting up new initiatives for clients in 2017. The main objective of planning is to map to your client’s overall goals. It’s important to understand what the client’s overall company goals are and how that drills down to the marketing or communication team that you work with. This will really drive the tactics you do to meet those goals. At the end of the year, you’ll have a much more cohesive story to share with your client. This also helps your client easily show your value when it comes time for budget reviews for the following year.

Competitive Research and Updates

Again, this tactic could work internally and with your clients. Internally, it’s important to know what the other agencies in your space are doing. What does their client roster look like? Have they recently announced strategic hires? Have they added services to their capabilities? Have they won awards or attended events or engaged in speaking opportunities that are new to you? Also, check out what their clients are doing – is there anything you can learn from their initiatives?

For clients, one of our continued best practices is to stay on top of industry news. This is a good way to research the competitors in your client’s space. What news are they releasing, what publications are they getting coverage in, what events are they going to, what speaking opportunities and awards are they receiving? Did they add a blog to their website? If so, what are they writing about? Your clients will appreciate the intelligence and it might change course for your marketing and PR goals.

List Clean Up

The new year is a good time to review lists and make sure you have the most up-to-date information. Trade publications should have their editorial calendars for the year out by now. It’s a good practice to review these content calendars and match opportunities for your clients ahead of time. Most reporters begin working on the topics weeks to months in advance. If you feel your client would be a good fit you’ll need to pitch the reporters early. They can also make good follow up pitches, just be sure to read the article first to know how best to follow up.

A media list is another important tool that you should constantly be updating, but the new year gives extra attention to the practice. These days, reporters are constantly moving from one publication to another and they don’t always get the notification out to everyone. Reporters also switch beats often, which makes knowing who you’re pitching all that more important. It can cause strained relationships down the road if you repeatedly pitch a reporter with content that is not relevant to them.

The new year gives a fresh start to align goals, brush up on the competition, and update the tools we use throughout the year. Keeping these best practices will help create effective plans for your clients and help you reach your new goals more efficiently.

Let’s talk.