Technology, social media, and search are just a few of the things that continue to shift how public relations, marketing and communication professionals practice. With many disciplines converging, it is almost certain that the scope of your work over the last couple of years has changed.
Consider the strategies you employ today compared to three years ago. With many now employing paid, earned, shared and owned media strategies and content marketing underpinning many tactics, the clear demarcation between PR, Marketing and Advertising is evolving.
The convergence of strategies makes it more important than ever to not only have a strong strategy, but also a clear process for defining and measuring success.
Some of your clients – and prospects – may have cut their teeth on sweeping annual plans, big budgets, and cut sheets, but those still in the game have learned to think and plan on more nimble and even iterative terms. They’ve discovered that social technology and the new cultural norm of user behavior exposes strategy strengths as well as breakdowns. Rather than standing tall against the tide of online marketing methods, clients and savvy practitioners have learned to channel the flow for their own purposes.
Marketing, Meet PR
The handy acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Active, Realistic and Timely, can be a useful reminder when developing In the past we have talked about the SMART concept as it applies to goal setting. SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific. SMART can be modified to fit your area of work, as Neicole Crepeau did for social media, using SMART as Specific, Measurable, Active, Realistic and Timely.
Using nuances of a well-known, commonly accepted approach enables you to establish marketing objectives and direct efforts within a particular channel. Whether you use the classic acronym or modify it to fit your specific needs, SMART enables you to visualize where you want to go and quantify how you will get there. How can you be SMART? Below is the classic acronym and a few alternatives to inspire you in the many ways you can modify it for your use.
Specific –You want objectives that are precise. Example:
Vague: Gain new followers
Specific: Increase followers who are interested in / talk about technology by 20%
Alternatives: Sustainable, simple, socially conscious.
Measurable – You want to quantify your objectives so that you can measure them. If you can’t measure them, how will you track progress? What you choose to quantify will depend on you or your clients’ goals. In the above example, the goal is 20%, and tied to a specific topic. This is something that you can measure and track to ensure you are making progress to achieve it.
Achievable – Having a goal that is a bit of a stretch is good, but you don’t want to set the bar so high that you cannot reasonably achieve it. For example, going from 0 to 15,000 followers is only achievable given the right timeframe and actions.
Alternatives: Active (engagement, or active voice), attainable, actionable
Realistic – Is your objective realistic? A realistic goal is not one that is possible but one that is possible for you. For example, if you have a client that has a lengthy approval process for content, it may not be realistic to target two real-time blog posts each week.
Alternatives: Relevant, reasonable, result based
Time Specific – When will you achieve your objective? An objective should be fixed to a timeframe, whether that is 6 months, 12 months or 5 years.
Alternatives: Time-bound, tangible
SMART goals are like a well-crafted story in that they answer who, what, why, when, where and how. Using SMART in your marketing and PR plans also gives you a clear way for you and clients to put a structure to vision and measure progress.
Let us from you in the comments! How do you use SMART in your PR and Marketing?
Infographic via Villanova University