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The Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for 2012
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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In 2012, we all want to be better. A drive to stay married longer than a Kardashian — not Kim, the ugly one. A goal to not be called "big boned." A commitment to eat better, which is to say, abstain from the extra cheese on a double hamburger. Regardless of the resolution, everyone makes them. Although most are usually broken faster than Lindsay Lohan's sobriety when the big apple drops, it's the thought that counts.

So, let's think about the top ten resolutions and observations PR professionals will make in the coming year:

10. Metrics Mean More Than A Friggin' Ad. The debate over ad-equivalency value has been looooong contested. And why? Because some clients need to tell the man, "Well, THIS is why we have them." It's difficult to express tonality, search, and share of voice to a number cruncher, but so help us sweet baby Jesus, we'll find a way because I hate calling sales execs. With a fake name. And from an intern's cell phone.

9. That Social Media Thing is Catching On. Social media was developed to create conversation, not to be a cyber storehouse for someone's ego. Bad news spreads like an STD at a frat party these days. Fake news, even more so. Those are the conversations that should be dealt with next. Regretfully, traditional news sources can't deal with that. On the other hand, they shouldn't have to do that. Good thing I'm well-versed in crisis communications.

8. If It Bleeds, It May Not Lead. The recession sucked. Unemployment is depressing. People are becoming more loathsome. And did I mention we are voting for a president next year? Good news is not overrated and is very necessary. I'm doing my part to bringing those headlines back. Let's call them "Sexy." Join me?

7. Integration is Key. I'm proud to be an affable, hybrid cog (Flack and Copywriter) in a full-service machine because it's so necessary. CMOs and Comms Veeps demand more for their money because it's demanded of them. So why not have a story that will read well in the news and look good in front of consumers at the same time? Keep the message consistent and the action focused. Case in point: Infographics. Trendy, aren't they? That's not stopping, and neither is integration.

6. ...But Content is King. Traditional ads. Guerilla marketing. Plug-and-play releases. User-generated media. SEO. Regardless of why you need it, we all have clients that require insightful and informative content. This content should be developed into strategies that bolster trends, case studies, and social media campaigns. And it all starts with writing a sentence that can be diagrammed good. Er...I mean, well.

5. Excuse me, C-Suite? I'm the Expert. As flacks, we are paid for a reason. We aren't supposed to be haughty, power-hungry turds, nor are we jejune folk whose wishbone is where our backbone should be. We don't dare tell our B-to-B clients how to fix their thingamajigs, so we should be comfortable to push back when it's necessary. You know, in the nicest, most sycophantic way possible.

4. Relationships Matter More Than a Database. You're buddies with someone in the news one week, and the next week they vanish like a fart in the wind. Layoffs, cutbacks, and get-rid-of-you-because-more-car-lots-don't-advertise-with-us sendoffs. These are reasons why we need to do more than use...eh, leverage those friendly contacts. In short, make them friends instead.

3. I'm Not A Publicist! I've often shared a theory that may seem a little crass, but it definitely makes the point. "Publicists are HOs; PR professionals are pimps." In the hustle-and-bustle media world of "What have you done for me lately?" that's an important distinction. True flacks make it happen while publicists just pick up a phone and...happen. Don't believe me, ask a reality star's "PR rep" how hard they work for national news. Moving on...and please credit your sources.

2. Plan for Crisis Before the Crisis. Penn State thought they were untouchable, and then came Sandusky. Netflix thought they were the next big thing, and then Qwikster happened. Charlie Sheen thought he was Rick Vaughn and then society reminded him he was also Topper Harley. If clients are allowed to assume they can go through life unprotected, then, well...feel free to insert your own teen pregnancy PSA here.

1. No Drunk Tweets. Ever. Just sayin'.

May your 2012 be without worry, even though the Mayans are coming, the Mayans are coming.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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