New Year, New (PR) You

Deanna here, account supervisor with LCI. It’s a new year and here I am, fortunate enough to be the very first LCI blogger of 2011. Though I’m not much for predictions, I can offer one near certainty for this first month of two-ought-eleven. You, dear reader, will find yourself bombarded from every traditional and social media channel with the hopeful “New Year, New You” call-to-action until your eyes cross and your eardrums begin to throb. Or at least until we hit February.

We publicists love this time of year because we can pretty much guarantee that our friends in the media will be preparing stories on how we can make ourselves better than we were in 2010. Lose those holiday pounds, learn how to finally clean up your finances, update your wardrobe with the new season’s essentials, read the right books to expand your mind, etc, etc, etc.

With so many PR pros jostling for the attention of journalists, the key to breaking through the clutter is to find a unique angle (no easy feat) that brings the current thinking to a new level. It’s our role as managers of public information to collaborate with our clients to identify that nugget or two that turns heads and spotlights your client’s messages. If you’re a professional services company, brainstorm new tips or strategies for tackling the key industry issues and challenges that will arise in 2011 and beyond. If you sell a product, think beyond just the bells and whistles of your own widget to offer thoughtful insight on what will happen in your product category for the new year.

People can spot a sales pitch a mile away. However, those same people will be more open to hearing about your product or service if you cultivate an image as a leading innovator in your field. Smart companies that showcase their leadership strategically do more business. You wouldn’t buy a car from a company that comes across as not understanding the importance of fuel efficiency to today’s drivers, would you?

With the economy still slogging through recovery and companies fighting ever more fiercely for consumer mindshare, the new year is just the time to take risks and retool your marketing strategy to keep up with, and blow past, the competition. Take advantage of the “New Year, New You” theme song that plays every January. Get your team together, brainstorm the stories and points that show you understand exactly what 2011 will hold, package it up and get on the phone to talk it over with your favorite influential journalists and bloggers. The time is now.

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9 Comments

  1. david Reply

    Deanna – great thoughts, all. And that reminds me: it’s not just time to help our clients think about their “new year, new you.” It’s time for LCI to brainstorm how to reinvent itself. Those that change survive and prosper. Ideas are welcome! Cheers, David

  2. Donna Reply

    Nice post, Deanna! Now, can someone please tell me how to squeeze some more time into my day? 🙂

  3. Brianne Miller Reply

    OK, so day one of the diet and I’ve already eaten a bag of chips. So…I think I’ll start pitching a “stick to your resolutions” story and hope it rubs off on me. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Jordana Reply

    Deanna, great post! Now I just have to think of my New Years Resolution….

  5. Patricia Perez Reply

    Good points. We need to reinvent ourselves and get away from thinking of what we do as sales pitches. The New Year is also a great opportunity for publicists to plan our annual editorial calendar and promise to make every deadline!!

  6. Karen Ivory Reply

    Thanks, Deanna. Good motivation for these first mornings back! Now if we could just remember to write ’11’ on our checks!

  7. Mark O'Toole Reply

    With an early January birthday, I am doubly saturated with holiday and then birthday wishes at the end of and beginning of the year. I love how easily social media facilitates this. And while it would be great to have a client get a one-sentence quote in USA Today regarding a top 10 2011 resolution, these social media well wishes remind me that creating our own content is a far more robust way to showcase client thinking — blogs, tweets, newsletters, videos. I resolve to tell my own stories in 2011, and save my media relationships for news. Thanks Deanna, for the gentle nudge!

  8. Anne Buchanan Reply

    Thanks, Deanna, for the good thoughts. We always use this time of year, as I think Landis Communications does, too, to consider how we reinvent our agency. First of the year is always a good time for reflection — and action!

  9. Aaron B Reply

    Bottom line, pick up the phone, develop a relationship, pitch away. As a PR professional, we still have to remember that in the age of technology the phone is still our biggest tool. Good post, Deanna! Thanks.