In the ever-evolving realm of public relations, the old adage rings true: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The summer has passed by in a flash, and many firms are bunkering down for winter’s hibernation. Still others, however, are using this lull before the silly season to set objectives and define goals for the year ahead.

For entrepreneurs in the age of online media, planning is more important than ever before. Here are three factors to consider if you plan to succeed.

Assess your asset

It is always good to look back before you look forward. If your business received media attention in the last year, review your coverage with a critical eye: which angles and pitches worked well for your business, which stories ensured positive coverage? Which journalists reported in your favour, and which didn’t? How did your competitors fare?

In the year ahead, your business objectives should remain front and centre of your key media messages. How you talk about your firm, and your product, matters: your messages should be the tour de force of your communication output in the months, and years, to come.

Lastly, define your path ahead. Look at your business plan from the perspective of a journalist, or press agent: what will be of interest to customers, suppliers and investors? What media opportunities are set to occur in the next year- anything from product launches to new service offerings might provide you with the perfect opportunity to create buzz about your firm.

Put your goals in writing: you’ll want to revisit them next year to evaluate.

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What are your tools?

Now that you have your plans, you need to identify the activities required to enable your objectives to be achieved. A key part of ensuring timely output is the use of a news release calendar, allowing you- or your PR team- to map out the releases that will ensure you keep momentum over the next year. This structure will evolve as the year unfolds, but it helps to have it now.

Next, pencil in a time for media outreach. Contact individual reporters, and introduce yourself. Contacts in with media outlets, publications and journalists are still the bread and butter of good public relations, make sure you develop this connections from the outset to give your planning the best chance at realisation.

At the same time, the internet might be your best friend in the year ahead. Depending on your firm, establishing a blog is a surefire way to get your message out there, on your own terms. Keep your audience activated, stay motivated, and write in a way that ensures your brand comes to be known as an industry thought-leader.

Planning a PR strategy early on is essential for the generation of new ideas and avenues of success; it also gives you peace of mind about tomorrow as you grow your business today. Though plans can change, and flexibility remains key, your goals and focus should always lead the way.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.