Happy New Year! The turn of the calendar is an opportunity to start fresh and try new things. For individuals, that may come as a New Year’s resolution or setting aspirations for the year ahead. For businesses, the start of the year is a good time to set company goals and reevaluate efficiencies to set the course for your best year yet.

If you're looking to jumpstart your public relations efforts or make it a priority in 2021, here are three areas to focus on.

Strategy: Whether you’re setting big picture PR goals for your business such as launching a product campaign or some smaller goal you’d like to reach this year, having a strategy and setting intentions will help you get there.

Ask yourself, what do we want to accomplish this year? What is the goal? Creating a plan can’t begin until you’ve identified the objective.

When looking at the wider plan, vision for your business, don’t jump in head first. There’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps to get the ball rolling. Over time, you’ll begin seeing the outcomes of your efforts take shape, determine next steps and what to reevaluate.

Slowly but surely, you’ll be making progress.

Strategy may also come in the form of plans that go untouched. Timely and effective response to a crisis situation most likely involved planning that was done ahead of time. Creating a crisis strategy now won’t put out the fire before it ignites, but it will help contain the spread.

Evaluate tactics: No one knows your clients or audience base better than you, but are you successfully reaching them? Considering your audience demographics and the media your business is using to reach them, do the two line up?

There are many ways to reach current and prospective customers and when used properly, they’re all effective.

If you have expertise to share, consider writing an op-ed, posting a blog or pitching your idea to a publication or media outlet. Traditional media is alive and well, and if you have news that’s newsworthy, share it with the world. Media pitches and news releases generate great opportunities if they’re written with the media in mind.

Another medium to evaluate is social and digital media. What social media platforms are your followers on? Just because your audience uses a platform, doesn’t mean you should be there, too. Not every platform is business friendly, especially for businesses that want to be “discovered” by potential customers. Creating content is time consuming, not to mention posting, monitoring and replying to comments, but vital to success in this digital world. Consider which is best for your business and give it a try.

Make it a 2021 goal for your business to try one new medium to reach your customers.

Collaborate with marketing and sales teams: For some businesses, the marketing and sales teams work hand in hand, promoting the business effectively and efficiently increasing sales, but are those teams working with the PR team as well? If not, they should be.

This collaboration is all about messaging and being on the same page about how products, services and insights will be communicated to the audience.

Setting brand standards and using similar verbiage is a necessary consistency for reputation and strategy. Working together and sharing ideas will make the job easier for all three teams.

In 2020, there were a host of new challenges and hurdles for businesses to navigate; some of which included downsizing, combining roles or departments. This forced some businesses to combine marketing and sales teams.

Navigating this territory for the first time may be daunting, so try using PR strategies as a way to bridge the two. Open and honest communication will be key to success for all those involved and working together in tandem

Allison Barnes is an account assistant with Leonard & Finco Pubic Relations.