Yes, that means revisiting 2020 one last time.
Congratulations, you made it to 2021! Looking back at a year that was mostly spent working from home and holding or attending virtual events, you may not feel like you accomplished much “public relating” in 2020. But the truth is, given the circumstances, you probably did a whole lot more than you think.
I’m amazed by the ingenuity and creativity that businesses and organizations have shown these past 10 months. We’ve all gone to great lengths to stay connected—even if it was remotely. So rather than starting from square one this year, let’s re-evaluate what you did last year, identify what worked, and build upon it in 2021.
Here are 4 areas to examine as you look back at your efforts from last year:
4 Areas to Investigate in Your 2020 Look Back:
- Performance. Look back at all of your PR efforts and initiatives from last year. If you got a press release or byline article published, what happened to it and who saw it? How did your social media perform— did you get new followers and/or increase engagement with your audience? Can you link any business results to those efforts? Sometimes those results take 6 months or more to really show up.
Not all your pitch ideas can hit a home run. That’s okay, but you can learn from those experiences if you know why. If a story you pitched failed to garner interest from one publication, don’t give up on it just yet. Maybe you simply need to tweak the angle of your pitch or work with the right journalist for the topic you’re covering.
- Employee Morale. This year, I had many clients who went above and beyond to recognize the people who worked for them in a meaningful way. Were your employees particularly engaged with your social media as a way to stay connected during isolation? Did they respond well to events or efforts you put in to boost team morale? Celebrating good work and friendship in the workplace generates goodwill, which results in happier and more productive employees. Don’t abandon those efforts as business conditions improve and restrictions lift.
- Channels. If you’re seeing success on one social media platform over another (e.g., more engagement on LinkedIn than on Facebook), amplify your results by focusing on that particular platform. You don’t need to abandon a platform entirely if you’ve got an audience there, but you should double down on what’s working. Plan in advance for easier implementation throughout the year and push yourself to increase interaction on your accounts. Expand your reach by starting conversations with potential clients or collaborators. If you started locally, look to a broader geographic region to identify more connections, influencers, and potential clients or customers.
- The Future. Think deeply about how you can build on what you’ve accomplished in 2020 and make it stronger and more impactful in 2021. Tackle this question as part of your annual strategic planning. Are you thinking of launching new products and services or expanding your facilities? Set PR milestones to anticipate and support those initiatives. While quarterly goals and targets will be topics for continuing discussion, you always want to keep the big picture for the year in mind.
If you’re unsure about the viability of live events in 2021, plan events that can easily be converted to virtual or are planned as hybrid events. Be sure to evaluate any feedback you received about past virtual events to improve the experience for everyone. Zoom isn’t the only option—other technologies from 2020, such as Hopin and Twine, can offer guests a different type of virtual experience and the opportunity for deep networking.
It’s important to remember that PR efforts unfold over time. Whether you’re trying to build a social media presence or get a reporter to notice you, success doesn’t happen overnight.
It can be tough to see results when you’re in the trenches, trying to execute on an initiative. Taking a step back often gives you a clearer picture of the results you’ve achieved.
Get your team together for a 2020 look back and reflect on your accomplishments from the past year. Take what you’ve learned, and build something that’s stronger, better, and brighter for 2021 and beyond. I’ve already started. Care to join me?