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What are Your Utility’s Public Relations Resolutions for 2018?

When 2018 arrived, you may have made some resolutions relating to your personal life, but it’s a good exercise to do the same related to your utility’s public relations department.

What do you hope to do better in 2018?

For starters, always be on the lookout for ways to promote the service you provide. Utilities offer a record of reliability that literally nobody can match; it may be frigid in most of the country now, but the electricity’s going to be on just about everywhere.

In other words, feel free to toot your own horn, although do so modestly. Utilities generally enjoy a favorable public image, so don’t let the news media forget it. Tout your good works, as well as the community services you provide.

Electricity may be out of sight, out of mind for many people. That’s good on some levels, but work to make sure you’re not an afterthought.

Some other resolutions to consider:

● Work to improve your relationship with the media. Even if you already have sounds relationships, they can always be better. Find out what your key outlets want/need, then go out and provide it.

● Improve your press materials. When was the last time you looked at your press packet materials? Is everything current?  Is anything missing? Can basic information that doesn’t really change somehow be spruced up to look fresh and inviting?

● Update your media lists. Journalists move around a lot, so make sure you’re reaching the right people.

● Develop some new ideas. Yes, there are plenty of standby ideas that always work, but look for something fresh. Be creative and don’t be afraid to take chances – the worst that can happen is a failed pitch that the media will reject.

● Pledge to respond quick to media inquiries. This is something you should be doing already, but see if you can improve upon your 2017 response time. The news cycles are getting increasingly compressed, so you need to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.

● Copy someone else’s good idea. Good ideas are all around us. If you see, say, a local retailer earn media coverage with a clever promotion, see if a variation of it might work for your utility.

● Have fun. Sure, there are times when public relations can be challenging and frustrating – not all news is good news – but the position also lends itself to fun. As mentioned earlier, be creative, especially when planning events and making pitches. Remember that you want to make your utility stand out.

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