Roundtable: Professional Communicators' Resolutions for 2015
Aaron Steinfeld, Amanda Lake, Megan Ingersoll, Molly Ahearn, Jessica McGinn
So, how did your 2014 resolutions go? Did they live past the month of January? Or did you carry them over to 2015? Regardless of your intended personal remodeling or lack thereof, you aren't alone when you set year goals for yourself (regardless of the resolutions' completion). Some of my favorite people were brave enough to journey down the rabbit hole of specificity to answer this roundtable's question below:
2015 is here! Looking back to the previous year, what resolutions would you recommend to your fellow professional communicators to make this year better than the last?
Let's get started!
With zero agenda, reach out to a reporter to tell them you liked their story. It's that simple. You know how good it feels when someone recognizes your great work? Why not pay it forward? A great resolution—particularly for folks earlier in their PR careers—is to simply read the news and send a "thank you" to reporters who are writing articles you find interesting. Make it a goal to send a few emails a month—it should be easy. There are enough reporters writing great stories that you shouldn't have trouble identifying someone every day.
It could be the story is about something that relates to your client's industry or it could be completely irrelevant to client work. The point is simply to say "Thanks for writing something that broke through the clutter for me" and share what resonated with you. You never know what it could inspire—a longer-term media relationship, a great pitch idea for that "unrelated client" or simply the opportunity to make someone's day.
~Amanda Lake (Follow Amanda on LinkedIn)
Live in the moment. It may sound cliché, and it takes practice, but I think it's one of the most worthwhile resolutions to make in 2015 and beyond. Work life balance can begin to feel like a myth in the hyper-connected, futuristic world we now live in. Instead of becoming frustrated by our inability to perfect the work/life ratio, let's focus instead on making each moment count so that none are wasted.
"While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea. But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes." - Thich Nhat Hanh
~Megan Ingersoll (Follow Megan on LinkedIn)
As we embark on a new year, we make resolutions that help us strive for success. While I have many professional resolutions including stepping out of my comfort zone and setting smart goals, I want to share a resolution that can benefit all PR professionals.
In 2015, I urge the industry to learn from my alma mater, Penn State, and update media lists. As if we haven't learned enough from the Penn State football program in the past, it was reported last month that the department sent a letter to the convicted ex-coach, Jerry Sandusky. The letter asked him to renew his football tickets for the 2015 season. The school admitted that the mailing list was not up-to-date. Big mistake? Yes. We all make mistakes, and while we shouldn't have to worry about making an error of this magnitude, it serves as a great lesson for PR professionals.
Taking the time to update media and mailing lists is important for outreach. It is a tedious task, but serves as a fundamental aspect of media relations. I think it's important that everyone takes the time in 2015 to scrub old lists for an even more successful year.
~Molly Ahearn (Follow Molly on LinkedIn)
When's the last time you read an article or book through to the end? As PR practitioners, the more you read, the more educated you are on culture, industries, trends and news impacting our business. We do, however, work at a fast pace and similar to the design of news and social media in today's world, so we tend to have a short attention span. A good resolution for 2015 is to make time to read! And I mean really read, dissect the book or article, take it all in, and when you get done, think about what you learned from it. Whether it's aiming to read five books this year or to spend an hour a day reading a national newspaper, these are two goals that can help excel your knowledge. Remember, like Dr. Seuss said "The more that you read the more things you will know. The more you learn the more places you'll go!"
~Jessica McGinn (Follow Jessica on LinkedIn)
So, do you have any professional resolutions for 2015?