My new year’s resolution is generally to not make resolutions, and now this is my second post on what I resolve to do over the coming year.
Last week I wrote about my business resolutions, about who I want to be as a freelancer. Now, inspired by a Twitter acquaintance, I’ve got my communications resolutions, about who I want to be when I roll up my sleeves to do the work. They’re really evergreen, but the start of a year seems like a great time to set them down in writing (and video – catch that at the end).
I’ve done ok at these #comms resolutions, but I think they’ll work just fine once again for 2020 😂— Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) December 31, 2019
Any professional resolutions you’re going for next year? pic.twitter.com/1cYe2H20vb
- Start with strategy.
I mean, that’s obvious if I’m hired to write a communications plan. But even if my assignment is to write an article or a proposal, or manage social media channels, I need to know the why, who, when, what, where, how.
- Evaluate and refine.
Meaningful measurement is one of the most difficult elements of any strategy. It’s easy to define and evaluate vanity metrics — number of readers, likes, comments. But are our actions changing behaviours and attitudes? How do we evaluate, and what do we do if the results aren’t what we expect? I need to build meaningful goals and meaningful ways to evaluate them into every plan.
- Audience first.
If I read one more “We are pleased/excited/name-your-adjective to announce…” I’m going to scream. Or at least grumble quietly to myself. Our audiences don’t care how something makes us feel, they care about how it will make them feel. And that’s just the tip of the forgetting-the-audience iceberg. I vow to listen more and avoid me-centric and insider language.
- Be human. Be me.
Being a freelance communicator means adapting to the voice of the brands I work with, but I do my best work when I inject my own personality, too — the aspects of it that fit, that is. My obsessive love of foster kitten videos usually has to stay under wraps. I’ve got a post in the queue about how I learned to be a better speechwriter for others by bringing more of myself into the speeches, for example. I know you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for that.
- Keep learning.
Best practices evolve, new tools rise and fall in popularity, Facebook changes its algorithm again…. The world around us is always changing, and I have to change with it. I’m lucky to have free access to LinkedIn Learning through my association with a university, and it’s a perk of many library cards as well. Coursera and The Odin Project are among the other many ways to access free training as well.
Because measurement is crucial, I’m going to track how faithfully I keep these resolutions as the year goes on – and I might even share some successes and failures.
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