It’s New Year’s resolution time, and that means people setting ambitious goals to change their behavior only to wonder, a month or so later, why nothing changed. We’re still within that one-month make or break period, and some advice I’ve seen about setting resolutions applies to your PR goals as well.

  • Make it something you want to do rather than something you should do. If you think you should get more exercise but you really don’t want to, how long do you think your new exercise program is going to last? If you think your PR goal should include a particular metric that your last agency used but it’s never been your favorite and nobody is asking you to use it now, why include it in your plan?
  • Make it specific. Let’s presume you do want to start getting more exercise. Is “get more exercise” a goal? No, it’s an ambition. “Take a half-hour walk at least three times a week” is a specific goal. Instead of setting “increase product awareness” as your goal, specify the audience whose awareness you want to increase.
  • Make it achievable. If you currently get zero exercise, why would you expect yourself to join a gym and go five days a week? Can you commit to going one day? Two days? What can you reasonably do given other time commitments that you can’t or won’t change? Similarly, if your company currently has a 25% market share, are you going to achieve 50% in six months? Perhaps 30% would be a more reasonable goal, and something that the company has a better chance of attaining.
  • Specify a time frame. “Lose 10 pounds” is a pretty specific and reasonable goal. “Lose 10 pounds in three months” is better. In the example of increasing market share for your company or client, for instance, the time frame in which that percentage increase is to occur needs to be outlined. Just like in the point above, aim to achieve your goal within a set period of time.
  • Define success. If you have followed all the other guidelines, this part should be easy. Perhaps you can build in some “wiggle room” to account for unexpected obstacles; and that’s where an “at least” goal can help you. “Lose ‘at least’ 5 pounds in two months” or “See ‘at least’ a 2% growth in market share in six months” is achievable. Plus, if you find you’ve exceeded your own expectations, that’s even better.

Measuring your PR campaigns is challenging, but proper goal setting will ensure that your efforts – like your 2019 – will be off to a good start.

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