Part I, 2014 PR & Marketing Resolution: Consume Better Sources of Information

As we look ahead to the next 12 months, much that rattles around is so much white noise—about the same shade as the snowfall that is currently descending on Chicagoland.

We are barraged with stuff like “I am resolved to eat better” and “I am resolved to exercise more,” along with endless tips on how to heighten your likelihood of success. That’s all well and good, particularly in light of our nation’s penchant for packing on pounds and putting regular exercise so far down on our priority list.

But for those of us in the public relations and marketing arena, those common New Year’s resolutions can take on a special significance when translated to our professional efforts. Let’s first examine “I am resolved to eat better” in a PR/marketing context.

Another term for eating is “consuming” and as communicators, we are continually in the mode of consuming information. Some is for our pleasure, some is for our professional use—and all of it has an impact on the clarity, sharpness and creativity in our thinking. And the quality of our thinking has a direct bearing on the quality of our communication.

So when it comes to your sources of input, what resolutions do you believe would be beneficial in the realm of “eating better”? Here are some of mine:

Consume more inspirational and insightful information.

It’s hardly the only game in town, but an excellent resource that fits this bill is

Today, about five years after first coming across TED, I am amazed when I mention it to knowledgeable, bright people and they give me a blank look. They have never heard of it before.

This reveals more the reality of our fragmented channels of communication than any of these individual’s tastes or information-gathering diligence. In short, there are simply so many outlets available to us that there is no way we can possibly stay on top of it all. However, we can make a concerted effort to increase the proportion of input that inspires and illuminates.

Consume more quality news content.

Let’s expose ourselves to insightful perspectives on the news that go beyond the obvious and offers historical context and that elusive Holy Grail of reporting long referred to as “balance.” Undoubtedly, just what constitutes “quality” and “balance” will vary from one person to the next, so that brings us to the next resolution recommendation.

Consume from a wider variety of sources.

Expanding the range of your concentric circles of “appropriate news sources” is fine, but don’t stop there. Make more regular forays into far-flung sources that might go so far as to be 180 degrees opposite your viewpoint, whether political, intellectual or otherwise.

By keeping an open mind, we are tilling fertile soil for growth, broader understanding and more nuanced refinement of our core views. Besides, we might just learn that we’ve been flat-out wrong about a few things along the way.

What does this all have to do with public relations and marketing?

For starters, it makes us more well-rounded individuals, with a more expansive knowledge base. That wider base, in turn, enables us to relate to a wider spectrum of people (including prospects and clients) and to devise more diverse and creative ways of telling stories. And that, without a doubt, can turbo-charge any PR or marketing endeavor that you launch.

Related Posts:
TedX Midwest 2011: Illustrated, Illustrious Inspiration in Under 3 Minutes
How ‘Why’ Can Inject Real Life Into Your Next News Release

PR Resolution: Give Media Plenty of Lead Time

If it’s January 2, then that must mean it’s time to start seriously brainstorming some Valentine’s Day story suggestions.

Though the romantic holiday may seem way off on the horizon–a full 43 days away–a recent story in Pioneer Press newspapers reaffirms that it’s never too soon to start planting story seeds with the media. In late October, I sent a news release to print and television media about the fitness transformation of Wayne Arner (pictured, with son Tommy).

Arner is a member of Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, a client of Inside Edge PR for the past two years.

At the time, I was trying to be as timely as possible, in the wake of Arner’s competing in a national triathlon championship. You can read about him, and my initial PR approach, in this Inside Edge blog post on Oct. 27, 2008.

Of course, Arner’s dramatic weight-loss is a timeless story–and is especially timely as an inspirational and educational New Year’s Resolution piece. And that’s just what Pioneer Press staff writer Mary Graham did in a recent story bearing the headline “Man of Resolution.”

Graham also wrote a sidebar to the Arner profile that included input from Drew Surinsky, who has trained members at Five Seasons Sports Club, as well as Marie Pearson, the club’s group fitness director.

A remarkably versatile trainer in her own right, Pearson is the one who first tipped me off to Arner’s story and offers important tips for anyone seeking better fitness.