Year-End Planning: Launch Your 2019 Strategy Now
Well, we are here. The end of the year; the start of the 2018 holidays and if you’re like me, you are already planning your holiday feasts, how you are decorating the house this year and what those coveted gifts might be. I mean there are only three weeks until Thanksgiving and 49 days until Christmas!
The beginning of November also marks a vital time in our strategic marketing and public relations programming: it’s when we start planning for next year. While a lot of companies are focused on wrapping up 2018, we are digging into how to make 2019 even better for our clients.
Previously we’ve discussed the importance of not putting your head down when it comes to strategic planning. And while it is essential to continuously review and adjust your overall PR and marketing strategy, another key element to success is getting ahead of the game before you miss out on opportunities early in the year.
Here are some key areas we focus on while building out strategic plans:
1. Conferences: Industry conferences are typically planned anywhere from nine to six months in advance. We work with our clients to identify what industry (and outside-the-industry) conferences they will be attending and in what capacity. It is important to have a plan on if you will be exhibiting, or if you want to speak. We leverage these details to help drive email marketing and PR tactics leading up to each conference.
Another important factor when planning for conferences, especially for our supplier partners, is identifying what message or news our clients want to share for each conference. The best way to establish what you want to promote at each show is to look at your product pipeline. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to announce new partnerships or promote product enhancements to a specific target audience.
2. Media Opportunities: At LTM we leverage both editorial calendars and earned media opportunities to generate thought-leadership articles for our clients. This combination offers a leg-up to our clients as our industry publications work well in advance, sometimes up to five months! By building strong relationships and closely monitoring known editorial calendars we are able to craft strategic media pitches for an entire year. This also enables us to proactively provide sound editorial resources to editors and reporters on topics we know they will be writing about in the months to come.
3. Content Calendar: I’ve said it before and I will say it again: content is king for a successful and impactful marketing and PR program. Without content designed with intent and purpose to delight your target audiences, all other efforts will be for naught. When building your 2019 program, consider thought-leadership content in the form of blogs or newsletters. Determine how data you have can be leveraged to educate the industry. Seek out trends, find ways your business aligns with those trends and build an email marketing calendar around delivering insightful analysis about what’s trending in your industry.
Oh, and don’t forget social media! Take time to start building out posts for known events and activities, like holidays and conferences, now so you aren’t scrambling to put something together at the last minute. Then start crafting messaging that supports your other strategies activities planned for the year.
We all know that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” That’s why it is of the utmost importance to tackle next year now. With a solid strategic marketing and PR plan in place now, you are ensuring a successful tomorrow.