It’s that time of year again, when many make resolutions for the coming year. Even for those who don’t, the end of one year and the beginning of a new one is the perfect time to take stock of all that has happened and lay out the groundwork for the next year—employment or otherwise.
The PR and communications industries are going to continue to change and evolve at a rapid pace, particularly as new technologies change the ways in which we all live and work. Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas for resolutions for 2017:
Commit to supporting journalism
The mainstream news industry, particularly newspapers, will continue to face an uphill battle as far as their business model is concerned. While many have pointed out the potential problems for a democracy when the free press is struggling, this is—or should be—of particular concern to PR. Much of the work we do depends on the validation of our work by garnering earned media. If there is no earned media, or if people no longer trust it, our jobs are going to be considerably more challenging.
Get comfortable with big data
PR and communications are just beginning to scratch the surface of what big data could mean for the industry. Most of the focus thus far has been on what big data means for marketing and sales—and as silos continue to collapse and the lines between these disciplines continue to blur, understanding what big data is and how it impacts consumers will be increasingly important for PR pros to grasp. It has the potential to affect just about every industry practice group in one way or another, from public affairs PR to consumer products to health and medical communications work. Whether it’s reading a book on the topic or following big thinkers on the topic on Twitter, every bit of knowledge gained on this topic is a step forward.
IoT is everywhere
The Internet of Things has come home, literally. One of this season’s hottest gifts were the “home voice hubs”—Amazon’s Alexa line (Echo, Dot), and Google Home. With so many of these devices now taking orders from individuals, there are bound to be some communications implications. As developers continue to create different apps that link our home lives to a variety of tech-enabled devices, PR practitioners would be wise to think often and creatively about how this change will affect how people shop, get news, and more. Are there some problems with an “Internet of Things” that isn’t secure? Yes, of course—but with so many businesses invested in IoT, the odds are that the security issues will be addressed.
PR and communications measurement continues to be a challenge for many. The introduction last June of the AMEC PR measurement framework is a big step forward in making measurement more accessible to busy PR pros. Good measurement takes time, which is probably why it has been such a struggle for the industry to implement on a wide scale. Small steps to introduce solid measurement will yield good results down the line, as more companies become acclimated to measurement beyond AVEs.
This is just always a standard on my list (I have a target minimum number of books to read every year), and it has served me well in the past. Reading presents me with new ideas and new ways to view the world, and that in turn helps me from a creative angle. Whether you pick up a book to learn something new or to immerse yourself in a story, reading offers a host of benefits.
Resolutions don’t have to be hard or overly demanding to be beneficial. For communicators, committing to learning more about technology and advances that are impacting consumers should be a fairly simple lift that will put you a step or two ahead of the competition.