New Year Resolutions for Social PR ProsI hear 45% of Americans usually make New Year resolutions (are you one of them, or one of the 38% who absolutely never make ’em?!). Here are some of the most common ones for this year:

  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Spend less, save more
  • Enjoy life to the fullest

… and a bunch more (the whole list and more interesting stats are at New Years Resolution Statistic – Statistic Brain, and which cites its source/date as the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology/Dec. 27, 2015).

Statistic Brain - 2016 New Year Resolutions

Nothing super-surprising there, and the list probably doesn’t vary too much from year to year. I imagine they’re not unfamiliar to you either; maybe you’ve made a few for this year? And whatever your resolutions (or hopes, as my husband decided to call ’em this year) are, I am truly rooting for you.

What’s interesting about resolutions is how they can be interpreted for one’s professional life as well. But if what you’re going to do is not crystal clear, nor how you’re going to do it, then NYRs are just a recipe for disaster (and then you end up as a 38 percenter).

So for all of us on the Social PR journey, I thought I’d cast these FMRs (Frequently Made Resolutions) in a Social PR light.

10 New Year Resolutions reinterpreted for Social PR Pros

1. Lose weight.

This is such a common theme, it’s become clichéd as an NYR. But it’s actually a really great one. Who wouldn’t want to start the year aiming to be lighter and freer?

For Social PR pros: lose the (dead)weight from your efforts. Focus on what works, as opposed to what doesn’t. How?

  • Go through (at least some of) your analytics, and see which efforts really worked well last year. Consider framing your strategies this year using those data as your foundation.
  • Learn to say “no” to work (or clients, or employees) that is (are) not aligned with your core mission, values & goals.

2. Get organized.

I don’t think there’s anyone who says, “Gee, I wish I could be less organized”…! Personally, sometimes I can overdo it on the organizational front, but for me that’s more about loosening up as opposed to not being organized at all (b/c then I’d go totally bonkers).

Some ideas:

  • Check out productivity apps like Asana, they really help to keep your work, teams & projects organized
  • Time-tracking tools like Harvest help you organize your time as much as anything else

3. Spend less, save more.

Yes please, me too! And here’s how I’ve been approaching this the last couple of years:

  • Track your spending (or your clients’) on a regular basis. You can do this with any number of online tools. Especially if you run your own business, check out Quickbooks (I don’t use it, but I know a lot of people who do, and love it).
  • Whatever tool you use to track your spending, here’s what’s even more important to do:
    • Regularly look at which areas in which your spending occurs. What are the trends? Over months? Years?
    • How important are those spending “buckets” to the overall success of your campaign (or profitability of your business)? And are you spending on services or subscriptions you just don’t use?

Get rid of ’em and focus on what you can see helps generate revenue, directly or indirectly.

You can always resubscribe if you find you’re missing something (and often these vendors will try to get you back at even lower rates).

4. Enjoy life to the fullest.

This is one of those esoteric resolutions that leaves me feeling exhausted after I’ve rolled my eyes 527 times. What does “enjoying life to the fullest” mean?! It’s different for everyone, isn’t it?

From a Social PR point of view, though, I can think of a couple of ways to approach this:

  • Ramp up your ROW (Return on Work). So if you combine #1 & #3, and focus on losing the dead weight (of your work) while honing in on what generates the most revenue for you… I think you’ll start to enjoy your work more, and get (even) more satisfaction out of it.
  • Give back to your profession & industry. Help someone deserving out with a professional connection. Blog about your experiences (and that’s one New Year resolution I’ve heard from not just one, but several people). Sharing is caring… even in 2016.

5. Stay fit and healthy.

This is one of those New Year Resolutions that’s important in general, but especially so in your work life. How?

  • Don’t take on more than you can handle, even though it’s very tempting to anyone with an iota of ambition in their body. Remember that there are only so many hours in the day, and learn to say “no.”
  • Balance your paid work with unpaid work. Volunteer somewhere. Do something that gets you out of your normal setting; it’ll help keep you balanced… which makes you more productive.

6. Learn something exciting.

We live in an age where this is almost impossible not to do! Since I know this is a bugbear for many, many Social PR pros, I’ll throw this out: get more familiar, and comfortable with, analytics. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you exciting that is!

Darryl Robinson-Keys had a great list of resources for continual learning the other day on Spin Sucks. And I’ll one more to his list: my own newly-launched online learning site, The Social PR Virtuoso (sign up there to learn when I reopen my Social PR Master Course and/or announce other offerings).

7. Quit smoking.

(I don’t think that needs to be cast in a Social PR light. If you’re still smoking… please just quit.)

8. Help others in their dreams.

If you think about it, we’re in relationship business; it just so happens that the relationships we focus on are between people and organizations (also made up of people). So the best way we can help build these relationships and make them connections of value is to pay attention to what people are saying (and not saying).

This is also a core element of any Social PR strategy; getting a listening system in place. Some easy ways to do this:

  • Lists of any kind (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Get involved with a community or two – and pay attention to what people are saying to really participate. There are a gazillion groups you can join, whether on Facebook, Meetup… and I’d love you to join my own Social PR Posse group, where we talk about anything and everything related to Social PR.

It’s when you’re part of a community that you know what people are hoping for… and can help them out.

9. Fall in love.

Do more of what you love. Do less of what you don’t. And you’ll fall in love over and over again with your work, which is what you spend most of your waking hours doing.

10. Spend more time with family.

Get offline. Even if you’re really engaged online, take it offline. I know many of us feel our social media colleagues and friends are our “family”… and I don’t dispute that at all.

But if they’re really family, then why not give them the respect and affection you’d give to family? And that also means your full attention… when they can see your face. So find ways to engage offline:

  • Face-to-face calls on Skype
  • Group calls using Zoom (works great, better than Skype most of the time)
  • Google+ Hangouts

What are your New Year resolutions, and how has the whole resolution thing worked for you in the past? What are you trying this year that is new, or that takes you out of your comfort zone? Do share, I’d love to know… and please let me know how I can help you!

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke