Happy Groundhog Day! Most of us are familiar with the movie of the same name, which came out in 1993 (the year I was born). In the movie, Bill Murray plays Phil, a self-centered weatherman who finds himself trapped in the Groundhog Day time loop, reliving the same day over and over and over again. In fact, it took him many trials and errors (and years!) to achieve his goals and break free of the same routine.
A couple weeks ago, I asked my colleagues what professional goals they’re currently focusing on. From finding new ways to help our clients achieve their goals to sharing our expertise with others in the industry, many of my coworkers shared a common vision for moving the industry forward. As I thought about it more, I realized the following five themes are worthy goals for any PR pro stuck in the same daily work routines, whether you’re a few years out of college or an industry veteran. Here are five things my colleagues and I are working on doing again and again in 2016 – and beyond:
1. Continue expanding beyond the notion of “PR as media relations”
We encourage our clients to take a broad view of how PR can help their businesses. The days of “PR” and “media relations” being interchangeable terms are long gone. Although media relations will always be a significant part of our offerings, as PR pros, we continue to counsel our clients on the many other strategies and tactics that PR can help guide – social media, content marketing, thought leadership, design, video and much, much more.
2. Find and test new tools
We love trying out new tools and are always looking for ones that will help us better serve our clients. In 2015 we were asked to be the first public relations agency to beta test the new storytelling app Evrybit. We also started an internal Lunch and Learn program, where we take turns presenting everything from the latest tools, such as Poll Everywhere and Crystal, to what’s new with old favorites, such as Facebook Advertising. We are looking forward to continuing to dig into new apps, software and solutions to help our clients strategically, efficiently communicate with their audiences.
3. Balance prioritizing with embracing new opportunities
PR professionals are adept at balancing approximately a million responsibilities and deadlines, and that’s never been more true (and necessary) than it is today. We’re constantly prioritizing and re-prioritizing our to-do lists, assessing what’s feasible and what we might need help on to finish a project well and on time. That said, we’re also big on embracing new opportunities. At Bellmont Partners, we might owe this outlook to one of our longtime clients, John Sweeney. In addition to co-owning the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre, Sweeney is a business speaker and coach who teaches how to use the concepts of improvisational comedy in business. One of the major lessons is saying, “yes, and” – in improv, an actor should say, “yes” to any situation that is thrown his or her way, and then build on it. The same can be true in our careers. By thinking through each opportunity we are approached with and prioritizing our responsibilities, we’ll have the space to say, “yes, and” to amazing opportunities that can shape our careers – or at the very least, be checked off our career bucket lists.
4. Network. Network. Network.
MIMA. PRSA. Social Media Breakfast. IABC. BMA. Oh my! We’re a social group, and luckily there’s no shortage of industry events – in town and across the country– to network with other professionals. Several of my colleagues said they’re looking forward attending even more events this year – both in the PR industry as well as in our clients’ industries. And let’s not forget the importance of coffee meetings. What better way to stay in touch with longtime contacts and meet new people doing fascinating work? So let us know if you’ll be at the next networking event or you’re looking to connect over coffee – we’ll be there.
5. Mentor the professionals of tomorrow
Everyone at Bellmont Partners has a passion for working with the next generation, whether it’s through mentoring, holding an informational interview over coffee or lunch, participating in industry events, speaking to college classes and more. While we like sharing our experience and knowledge, we also look forward to hearing their perspectives on the industry and what’s on their radars. This year, we already have several commitments and student speaking engagements on the books, and we can’t wait to meet more up-and-coming professionals.
These are five lofty practices, but I know we work toward these every day, and I know we’re advancing the PR industry as we do so. Here’s to achieving these goals more and more each day (and not getting stuck with six more weeks of winter)!