For many companies, it’s that most wonderful time of the year – the end of their fiscal year! If all has gone well, they’ll happily be reporting year-over-year growth. On the other hand, if it hasn’t gone well, they’re looking at what can be done to turn the ship around.
In either case, it’s an excellent time to take a good hard look at their public relations program and set some goals. But it’s not enough to simply set a goal – a plan to achieve that goal is necessary. Because after all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Know What You Want
First things first: Research. To formulate intelligent, actionable, and measurable goals, you need to first identify the desired outcome. It’s not enough to just say you want more media impressions. Be strategic – do you need to increase impressions in a desired demographic or specific market? You need to conduct research to develop insights that can inform your annual goals.
Once you’ve developed your research-driven insights, you can take a look at where you want to see the business at this time next year. Do you need to achieve a greater market presence? Drive sales? Capture share of voice? Great. These are your business results, outcomes or objectives.
Now that you have your objectives, you can work backwards to connect the dots.
Setting Actionable PR Goals
Think about how PR can help at every stage of the communications process to produce the desired outcome. This is your goal. For example, if you need to capture a share of voice, your goal might be something along the lines of, “Drive a 25 percent increase in social engagement via thought leadership and earned media.”
The key is to make the goal actionable and measurable. But don’t confuse actionable goals with tactics like, “Write 10 more press releases.” That is simply part of a larger strategy, not a goal.
The last step in developing annual goals is to get buy-in from leadership. By linking business outcomes and your PR objectives, you’ll demonstrate the value of setting actionable PR goals. This ensures you’re given the resources needed.
So to summarize, the key to developing annual goals is:
- Research the business situation
- Develop insights based on research that can help inform your overall business outcomes
- Determine your objectives
- Connect the dots of how PR can help produce your desired business outcome
- Get Buy-in from leadership to ensure you’ll have the resources to achieve your goals