This is a guest post from The Media Foundry’s associate director Kat Jackson.
It is still January and we’ve all been inundated by the 2023 predictions; the good and the bad. We’re all braced for impact – but is it helping anyone to really prepare?
So, instead, let’s look at things practically, and with a promise of no overuse of the words ‘tough’ and ‘resilience’. Here is how PR and comms professionals should be approaching the year, avoiding all the hyperbole.
1. Make sure the foundations are solid
Check them regularly. There is a reason why the admin, the structure of PR accounts is (by and large) universal. They are tried and tested tools to keep clients updated on progress and regularly reminded on the value you are adding to their work. You make their lives easier. If you aren’t, check in and ask why, and if something needs to be switched up.
2. Do more, with less
It is a simple, uncomfortable fact. Most businesses will tend toward the frugal. Budgets will be stretched. But there are also instances where comms can be treated like a tick box – release done, coverage in, move on. Not always the best policy. Content concepts can keep coming back, certain themes will have a longer shelf life which can be explored in different ways. Marketing should always ask itself if there is still room for further delivery. Challenge those you think could be trying harder. Push for better. Take a good hard look at the service and see what could be improved. Longstanding work can become somewhat rote to even the most dedicated – but complacency this year is a risky strategy.
3. Ask the right questions
Will this make the boat go faster? I used to have a client who had this hung on the office wall. It is an old adage from Olympic rowing success, and it is a good one. How will this comms strategy help the business to grow, sell, improve performance? If that can’t be explained beyond ‘awareness’ – well, there is your answer. We’re already talking to people who have put a pin in PR because the big creative ideas had woolly success criteria. They won’t be the only ones. The right questions do go further though. What more could we be doing to help the client? Do we know what else is going on within their walls – and can our advice assist?
4. Mess with the bull, get the horns
PR is not always known for its transparency. But obfuscation and vague thinking will get short shrift. This is true at any time, but it is doubly so when the recession is on the horizon. Big thinking and grand creative ideas are great, and there will always be a place for them. But are they really what the brand needs right now? ‘Yes’ is a fine answer. ‘No’ can be equally necessary.
5. Remember the value of what we do
Yes, it might be hard to put a figure on sometimes. But it remains true that effective PR can be one of the most cost-effective ways for companies to market, and one of the biggest gaps to fill if it is lost. For example, there is no business quite as motivated for their comms than one facing an unexpected crisis without advice. There will be cases where a smart SEO push or a mass ad campaign may bring more immediate benefit to a business – that is all in the mix, it is how marketing works. The essence of PR is simple communication; who the client is and what they do. Facilitate a dialogue. You can still bring people together, even when everyone is feeling the crunch. Sometimes that is when it matters most.
For more trends to watch out for this year, check out these 15 trends to plan for in PR and comms in 2023. And need more ideas for effective measurment to prove the value of your work? Here are seven ways to measure your content.