As 2016 fades to black I’m taking a few minutes to focus on how to do strategic communications in 2017. Here are my five resolutions for more strategic communications. Unlike my previous resolutions—shed those extra five pounds, clean out the closets—I plan on keeping these.

  1. Start every project with a strategy. It’s easy to get distracted by glitzy new tactics and technologies, but resist the urge. Invest the upfront time to fully understand what motivates your audiences and use that knowledge to develop clear and powerful messages. You should be able to articulate clearly how your communications work is advancing your organization’s mission. If you can’t, it probably isn’t.
  2. Avoid falling into the rabbit holes of social media. It’s important to stay on top of trending apps and ideas, but it is all too easy to click your day away by following every link, investigating every new channel. Use your time judiciously by focusing on only the channels with potential to reach your audiences. And save those cute kittens for after work.
  3. I’m going to improve my media relations skills this year. As the media changes dramatically, I find that it is essential to constantly revisit this.
  4. Join conversations. The best communications are multidirectional. Use your social media to ask and answer questions, meet new people and shore up relationships. Don’t just use it to broadcast your opinions.
  5. Use your skills to make the world better. If you work in communications you are probably a good writer. You are probably able to understand different viewpoints and respond to new ideas and information. Appreciate these gifts and use them for good. We all need more good in the world.