By Deborah Watson, Director, Lexia Agency

Need an excuse to turn over a new leaf when it comes to the marketing and PR of your brand or business?

Thank goodness it’s another New Year already.

Yes, if you’ve tripped up already since seeing in 2015 with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, you now get an opportunity to pretend you were really holding out for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Today sees the start of the Year of the Goat – and, to make it all the more pertinent to those of you looking to embrace your inner PR and marketing creativity, here’s a few attributes which the Goat is known for:

Creativity (well, that’ll come in useful for some campaign planning)

Persevering (Hmm, have you ever had to do the daily round of checking up with journalists to ensure they’ve got your press release, or plugged away at a marketing channel in the knowledge that the ‘long game’ wins eventually?)

Frank and Honest (Ah yes, nothing like having to be frank and honest with a CEO about whether their idea of what constitutes a good story is really press-worthy, or having to be honest about how little the current website is doing to drive traffic and attention…).

So, in honour of another New Year opportunity, here’s five resolutions you could bring in today within your business to help enhance your PR and marketing results:

1. Start seeing yourself as an evolving story.
Whatever your business or your brand, you can guarantee that there are always new things happening around your staff, your service, your product, your industry position. Don’t write off your daily events and happenings without seeing how these could be part of your external messaging and brand awareness.

This year, it’s very much about ‘storytelling’ in marketing – through social media or traditional means, so see yourself as a book with never ending content.

2. Look back to look forward.
Don’t write off what’s been and gone as a failure or a faltering attempt at PR. Make sure that with every new idea you consider for your future marketing activity, you’re looking back at what you’ve previously done to see what learnings you can gain that will help you with the next activity. All too often, past PR efforts get put away in a drawer and there’s a desire to ‘create the next new concept’. Sometimes taking aspects of what you’ve learned forward with you can save you a lot of pain and misplaced energy.

3. Be the King or Queen of contacts.
Who you know is vital in every aspect of PR and marketing, so make this the time you resolve to have a better approach to your data-gathering when it comes to people. This applies to gathering details for the appropriate journalists who you can revisit with stories, but also to maintaining a list of your inhouse people who are immediately ‘on topic’ to discuss your brand at a moment’s notice in the media, and also to a list of casestudies pertinent to your business. Everything you do should be about people.

4. Accept any limitation to your skill and resource – and act on it.
PR and marketing is now so much more than being capable of turning out a press release and having come to the industry with a First degree in English. Hence, if you’re trying to run PR and marketing for your brand or business, you’ll be increasingly aware of the need to produce activity which falls into design, social media, digital marketing, media-buying, internal comms, crisis activity. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do it all (particularly to do it well). Find good consultants and agencies who can assist you.

5. Reflect, review, reward.
Set in your calendar key opportunities to reflect how you’re doing on your own marketing expectations. Has the last month’s effort worked? Is there more you could do? Do you need to set up an informal marketing ‘board’ inhouse to help you bounce around new ideas and reflect on activity every few months? Could a consultant help with that? And finally – where it’s gone well, reward yourself and use that momentum to keep pushing ahead!