Secret #4 – Avoid distractions and set measureable goals to stay on task

Happy New Year. I hope you are experiencing the excitement that comes from all the possibilities offered by a brand new year. In my first post of 2011 I’ll share secret #4  for using measurement to create winning PR strategies, which is, “avoid distractions and set measureable goals to stay on task.”

As you move forward with your PR program there may be times when distractions threaten your progress. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll receive requests that draw your attention away from where it should be. It’s important that you know what you are trying to accomplish and to have a plan for getting there. That way you’ll recognize when others are encouraging you to take detours, and you can avoid getting stuck on tasks that lead you off path.

It isn’t uncommon for PR teams to stop and respond to every client request. But, often times some of the seemingly “urgent” requests that arise are tasks unrelated to business goals. You would be surprised how much time, money and effort is wasted on PR activity that doesn’t map to achieving results. Here’s a two-part approach for dealing with distracting requests:

  1. Set clear goals at the beginning of your program. Make sure everyone is in agreement from the start that priority is to be given to tasks directly linking to business goals.   
  2. When an urgent request is made encourage your team to stop and ask “will this task help us reach our goal?” Continue to focus on areas that will produce the desired results.

While we’re on the topic of goals, it is probably worth pointing out that when setting goals you need to consider whether or not they can be measured. In the PR world, setting goals like: Build a high level of national media coverage, or obtain a large number of quality new business leads does not constitute anything that can be adequately measured in quantifiable terms. These phrases are too open to subjective interpretation.

In order to create effective goals you need to make sure each one is centered around one specific data point or piece of information that can be measured. You don’t want to leave anything to chance and you don’t want ambiguous goals to cloud your focus. Your goals are what will guide you in creating a targeted PR plan.

Implementing a PR measurement program is the best way to track your progress. Measurement supports accountability and helps your team determine where you need to concentrate your efforts. It helps you understand how individual actions affect PR outcomes and it provides course markers that keep you on track.

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