Monday, December 27, 2010

Ms. New Year, New Plan

Ms. Joy,

2010 has been yuck. It really, really stunk up the place. I didn't get much work and I definitely didn't get noticed. I've thought about this a lot and I think where I went wrong was not having a real plan in place. I want to publicize myself and get out there more but it's not coming together because I'm not sure what to do with what I've got.

I put up an exceptionally boring website. It took a lot of work to make my site so boring. I broke down and got a Twitter page but I still don't understand twittering or tweeting, I haven't been doing that. I put a mailing list together but I don't know how to use it and what kind of news to send out since there wasn't really any news on my end.

I think by now you can understand what's going on and not going on with me. Do you have any PR tips or advice on how to prepare myself and my efforts for 2011?

― Ms. New Year, New Plan

Ms. New Year,

I don't just have some tips, I have a DO list. Here are ten way to strengthen your 2011 PR plan.

10. Strategy. Your first New Year's resolution has to be making a plan that will simplify your life. Map out solid directions. Running in a zigzag serpentine pattern is the right plan when you're being chased by car but it sucks as a PR strategy.

First, evaluate your materials, contacts, and outreach. Your materials are everything that you can use for publicity purposes and include your website, press kit, social media, photos, business cards, etc. Your contacts are ALL of your contacts including your mama, Aunt Gina, and that business contact that you never followed up with.

Your outreach is how you determine how you're using materials and interacting with your contacts.  Make a "Strong" column and a "Weak" column. Start placing each of your materials and each of your contacts in the appropriate column. Keep the strong things strong. If weak point can be strengthened, give it the reinforcement it needs.

9. Out With the Old. I bet you have a ton of old email that you haven't even looked at sideways. Go through it. See what you've been missing. If you accidentally left correspondence unanswered, respond please. Open those old newsletters that you've gotten from friends and acquaintances. Read them! You may be surprised what you find: chances to collaborate, a new magazine that you would love to pitch, even a company you should get contact.

8. In With the New. Get more inter-connected to your new contacts. Find them on the social media that you use and make sure they know how to find you. This is also a great time to check out new technologies that can make communicating easier. If you're overwhelmed by Twitter and Facebook being separate on your cellphone, try Tweetdeck. If you need more from your Twitter lists, try Formulists. See if you can use Gist can help you streamline your contacts social media and news.

7. Jazz It Up. If your materials look old and busted, give them new hotness. Take new photos and update your press kit. Add sizzle to your bio. Change your Twitter background. Redo your blog design. Try a new newsletter format.

6. Reconnect. Should old acquaintances be forgot? Hell no! You better get back in touch with folk! The holidays and New Year are great beards for reconnection when you went MIA (or they did). Reach out with well wishes through greeting cards, personalized emails, phone calls, texts or, even a handwritten letter. We don't see too much of that lately and it adds a special touch to rekindling a valued relationship. Please don't blab incessantly about yourself. Find out what their news, too.

5. Make Your List & Check It Twice. Create your media lists and go all out. Generate databases for magazine, TV, online, and radio contacts. Include bloggers that suit your story needs. Now you can start building the relationships.

4. Categorize. Outreach goes in more than one direction. It’s not just about how you're reaching out to them people. To dig deeper, look at what they do with the information you give them and how much information they give you. What is valuable varies from person to person, so use your own measurements and figure out your MVP's and VIP's. Notice who always retweets you or comments on your Facebook status, reads your newsletter, and gives you referrals. These are the people that like you.

3. Give Gifts. 'Tis the giving season. Embrace it. Don’t be silent because you don’t have self-centric news to thrust at people. Stop worrying about what you're going to broadcast and start thinking about how you can benefit people. Do something special and unexpected for your MVP's. If you don't have news but you have $10, ask your valued people to send you their Amazon wishlists so that you can surprise one of them. Your gift doesn't have to cost money, though. Blast out interesting info that you stumble upon that will benefit your mailing list.

2. Make Some Consistent Noise. Vow to be consistent with your outreach for 2011. If you blog every two weeks, keep it up and avoid those four month stretches of silence. Consistency births trust. 

1. Check Your Calendar. Since we're thinking ahead, really think ahead. Put key dates into your PR plan. For example, there's a month for almost everything. If you’re passionate about heart disease, a Google search will reveal that February is Heart Awareness Month. The American Heart Association is all over it. Seek events that you can participate in for the month, connect to the right companies and individuals, and incorporate this date into your PR plan. 

Remember, the PR plan can’t implement itself. It means nothing unless you do it.

Keep rising!


Can't remember all of this? Download this Do! list for free via Scribd here!


Anonymous said...

This list just saved my life! I was stuck and couldn't figure out how to move forward for the new year. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Katherine Willis said...

Joy, as always, you give PERFECT, detailed, proactive advise. I think there's a reluctance to get in touch with a contact that's gone MIA (on either end). New Year, new resolve!


I love your attitude and outlook, Katherine! New Year, new resolve indeed.