5 New Year’s resolutions for communicators in 2020

With a new year upon us, the time is right to reflect on past practices and resolve to improve them in the future. Here are my five resolution ideas for public relations professionals in 2020:

1. Produce great content:

Content is still king. 2020 is sure to be a noisy year, making it hard for brands to stand out. The only way to catch and hold the public’s attention is to continually, predictably, and reliably produce quality content that engages target audiences.

Checking the box with social media posts that simply link to news articles is not going to cut it in 2020. Creativity will be the name of the game, and provides the bonus of also being fun.

2. Utilize all components of the PESO model:

The PESO model (paid, earned, shared, and owned) is a concept developed by Gini Dietrich. It basically says that brands should capitalize on the four media types to maximize their communications efforts. It sounds simple, but many brands still don’t take advantage of the full range of opportunities. The PESO model is something every brand or communicator should learn and follow in 2020.

3. Empower employees:

With customers, clients and the general public demanding more transparency than ever before from brands, it is time for companies to empower their employees to get involved in brand discussions. Oftentimes, a company or industry’s rank and file are viewed as the most trusted voices for a brand. Smart employers will not only allow employees to advocate for the brand, but also help them succeed by providing encouragement and guidance.

4. Embrace personal branding:

Gone are the days when only big companies or organizations developed a brand. Today, the CEO is just as likely to become the company’s brand as is the entirety of the organization. This presents a unique opportunity for communicators to position executives as thought leaders and experts (think speaking engagements, beefed up social media profiles and more), but with unique human attributes that make them relatable to target audiences. It also provides great content (see above) and utilizes the PESO model (see above).

5. Practice steadfast ethics:

My bold prediction: 2020’s public square will resemble a cacophony. Literal and figurative yelling, flared tempers, and raw emotions will dominate; many tweets will be written in ALL CAPS. This reality creates a communication environment that is ripe for abuse, with emotional people sometimes making decisions they ordinarily would not even consider.

As good communicators, it is imperative that we hold fast to our ethics as outlined in the Public Relations Society of America code. In an era of declining trust in many of our country’s institutions, we must demonstrate unyielding commitment to open and honest communications and the free flow of information at all times.

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