Check on Your Initiatives with an Annual PR Checklist

By: Heidi Gammuac, Senior Content Manager at The Agency

We are just about at the end of the first month of the year. You have most likely shaken off the post-holiday blues and have settled into your routine. However, the start of the new calendar year is also a great time to check in on your PR initiatives and strategies from the past year and to assess what worked, what you can improve on, and what new things you can add to your program.

Here are some of the items we have on our annual PR checklist:

Look back at your communications strategies

When we begin work with a new client, we usually create a communications strategy for them. These strategies normally address their needs at the time. We outline their goals, objectives, key messages, audiences, and tactics in these plans. While many aspects of these plans are evergreen, some may have changed and need to be updated.

Does your client/organization have similar plans? The new year is a good time to revisit them and see if any goals or objectives have been met, and if there are any new ones that you can set for the new year.

Review relevant analytics and statistics from the last year

Checking relevant data from the previous year such as website analytics, social media statistics, and media coverage is a good place to start your PR checkup. It helps to track trends in your PR efforts and to identify when and where you got your best results during the year.

Seeing where you started at the beginning of the year, where you ended up at the end of the year, and your highs and lows throughout the year, are effective references for any plans you make for the new year.

Catch up with your clients

Even though you and your clients may have a good system for keeping each other updated on plans and initiatives, it is also beneficial to meet with them and discuss their goals for the coming year.

Are they happy with how the last year went? Have they set any new business goals for the upcoming year? The answers to these questions may affect any PR in plans for the foreseeable future. These meetings can help get everyone on the same page and aid in refreshing and updating PR plans.

Update your editorial calendars

An important aspect of proactive media relations is knowing what publications that are relevant to your clients are planning to focus on. Although the practice is not as common as it once was, many media outlets still publish editorial calendars that outline topics that they are featuring throughout the year. Searching for these calendars, flagging topics that clients would be good sources for, and creating a matrix of opportunities is a task that should be mandatory for every PR agency/person.

At The Agency, we also have a second editorial calendar matrix for our clients: one for planning their own content for the year (a blog editorial calendar). We plan their content for the year, mapping out when this content would be created, polished, and published. However, it is important that this calendar is flexible in case there are other opportunities come up.

Refresh your blog and social media images

While this might seem like a minor move, it makes a big difference. Over the course of the year, re-using the same images can make your blog and your social media profiles stale. Even though you might be producing and sharing new and exciting content, having the same images appear over and over again can be detrimental to grabbing your audience’s interest.

Take the time to update these images and other visual content that you may have and give your brand’s blog and social profiles a refreshed look.

What other items would you add to an annual PR checklist? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet them to us @PRTheAgency!