After 2020, many industry pros are feeling the disappointment of a lackluster year that hardly pushed the needle towards their goals. It certainly has been a hard year for everyone and, with many folks seeing their 2020 wedding PR and business goals shattered by the pandemic, it’s with great hope and optimism that we look ahead to 2021.
With 2020 in the rearview, there’s no excuse to skip goal-setting for the year ahead. We are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and every business owner should be considering what their business will look like in a post-pandemic landscape.
Will it be tough to set goals for 2021? Certainly. After all, we hardly know what will happen next week, let alone next month. Nobody has a crystal ball that can predict the future, but we should all have a good idea of where we’d like our businesses to stand at the end of the year (and beyond).
If a strong public relations presence is on your agenda for 2021, here’s what you need to know about setting realistic and achievable wedding PR goals.
Understanding wedding PR goals vs. objectives
Many people tend to use these two terms interchangeably, so let’s set the record straight: goals and objectives are two different concepts that support one another. A “goal” is a broad, desired outcome whereas an “objective” is a step you take towards reaching a goal.
You cannot set a goal without creating the steps to get there. For example, if your goal is to increase profit margins by 25 percent, your objectives must answer the question: “How will I make that money?” Perhaps it’s making a certain number of sales calls each month or adding one new product to your storefront each quarter. Objectives must be measurable so you can determine when one has been met successfully.
Key components of a great goal
Like many successful go-getters, I like to follow the SMART formula when creating goals. You may have heard this before (particularly in my webinars!), but let’s go through a quick refresher:
Specific: Every goal you set must be specific so you can properly lay out the objectives that will help you get there. Vague and imprecise goals can lead you astray because they lack clarity in regard to how you will get from point A to point B.
Measurable: How can you know if you’ve successfully reached a goal if you don’t measure it? Your goals must be easily measured — for example, if you want to earn new press features, get clear about where you want to be featured and what you want to gain from it. Do you want a certain number of backlinks for SEO purposes? Or, do you want to collect a set number of badges for your website?
Achievable: This element is especially important for 2021, as your goals must be achievable based on the resources you realistically have available. Don’t be afraid to go big, but keep it attainable to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment.
Relevant: Your goals must push you in the direction you see your business going. If they’re not relevant to your future vision, they are unnecessary and—in some cases—a waste of time and resources. For example, if you envision yourself as a future podcast extraordinaire, setting revenue goals would not be relevant to your end goal.
Time-oriented: If you want to meet your goals, you must set a deadline for each one. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself pushing it back and continuing to strive for it with little resolution. Setting an endpoint that isn’t too far into the future keeps you motived and turns your ideas into actionable steps.
With your goals in place, the other element that will position you for success is a system that will help you to reach them. For example, if your goal is to earn a certain number of real wedding features, you’ll need a spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper that tracks your weddings for the year and where they are submitted. If your sights are set on speaking submissions, how can you ensure that you’re on top of the deadline to ensure that you can gather all of the deliverables and submit them on time? How you implement your goals is just as important as the goals themselves.
Setting wedding PR goals during COVID
Now, all of this is good and well — but setting goals becomes notably more challenging when a pandemic is turning the market on its head. Be realistic about what lies ahead for you in 2021 in the way of postponements and rebookings, but don’t limit yourself out of fear of the unknown.
Instead, take an educated approach by performing an audit on your current wedding PR strategies. Where are your current efforts going? Have you been dedicated to podcast pitches? Real wedding submissions? Determine whether these tactics have been successful thus far or if they need adjustment.
You may need to adjust your definition of “success” for the year as 2020’s wins may be smaller than other years. That doesn’t mean they aren’t wins, though! Ask yourself: Have I put 110% into the strategies I already have in place? We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so be kind with yourself and accept that a few small successes are still pushing you towards your goals.
You also need to consider the market, your competition, and how your business has and will continue to evolve. Are your services changing? Do you expect a lot of new competition in your space? Get clear on where you stand so you can ensure your goals are realistic and achievable.
In general, I recommend setting three short-term goals for the year. Set yourself up for success by taking on only what you can handle. Later in the year, if you find that you’re ready to take on more, go for it — but start the year out realistically to be safe.
Measuring your progress
Goals are not a “set it and forget it” type of thing, so you need to be prepared to measure your progress toward each goal. Create some benchmarks to keep you motivated and create a system that will help you to track your growth. If you’re seeking more press, start a running press list to update regularly. If awards are on your mind, how will you keep all of your submissions and deadlines organized?
Keeping all of this information in one place will help you assess your progress and identify areas for improvement. You’ll get an idea of how often you are submitting, the percentage that is picked up, and a look at what was turned down so you can get a better idea of how to improve in the future.
I appreciate repeatable tasks and, when it comes to measuring PR progress, I recommend making it a regular to-do. Let it be something you revisit every month or quarter to check-in, update, and evaluate. Eventually, gathering insights about your wedding PR strategies (and improving upon them!) will become second nature.