Know where PR is going

It seems like not that long ago that I finally got used to writing the date as 2011 rather than 2010, so I’m finding it a little hard to believe that it’s now June 1st. Really… it’s June already? Time sure flies when you work in PR. Although it’s tough for me to realize, I know that with 2011 whizzing by so quickly this is the perfect time to start thinking about PR plans for 2012. That’s because keeping future PR goals in mind provides perspective on what you need to be doing in the present.

There is a famous saying that goes something like this: If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else. I like this because I think it serves as a good reminder to let our goals guide our current activities.

Say, for example, you want to add social media to your program in the coming year, or you’d like to see your PR budget increase in 2012 – there are things you need to be doing now to make achieving those goals a reality. You want to make sure your program is performing as expected and that you are on track to reach current PR and business goals. Doing so will set your program up to accomplish more in the future

I’ve worked in PR long enough to know that in order to receive continued support and resources year after year, PR has to demonstrate that it is producing results. Regular program evaluation helps PR teams understand PR’s progress, and determine whether or not PR is on track to deliver the results clients and executives expect. That’s why I recommend taking time now to examine your PR program. If you find that something isn’t working, your team can make adjustments to get back on track.

Now, when I say “examine your PR program” I’m talking about taking a look at measurement data so you can learn about your PR results. See what kind of coverage you’re getting and if it is reaching the right people. Find out how your PR results compare to those of your competitors. Determine if PR truly is having a positive impact on business. Look for opportunities and areas that need improvement. Then, when it eventually comes time to discuss the budget increase you’re hoping to receive next year, or your ideas for introducing social media into the PR mix, you can point to a successful PR program and improve the odds that you and your program will be taken seriously.

According to the Measurement Perspectives and Practices Report, 83 percent (83%) of PR pros believe PR should absolutely measure the results of its programs. So, don’t put off measurement and analysis. It will help get your PR program to where you want it to be.

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