As PR professionals, we’re always thinking ahead. With summer wrapping up, we’re zoning-in on our 2018 plans. Building a foundation with strategy, goals, and KPIs is key to PR success. But, getting started isn’t always easy. Which is where we come in! Below you will find five checklist items to help you plan a successful year.

1.First thing is first, do your research. Take the time to see what worked well last year and what didn’t. Examine what is trending in the media right now and what may be trending in the near future. Investigate what your competitors have done and analyze their success. If it’s something you’d like to test, then write it down.

2. Set goals. Is there anything in specific you want to accomplish for your brand in 2018? What about your top media targets or that influencer campaign that had to be pushed back? Make a list and check it twice, because those goals will be the basis of your PR strategy.

3. Now let’s not forget about events! How are you planning on accomplishing the goals you’ve just set for your brand? Will it be through media and/or influencer events? Remember that establishing relationships with top-media is key to getting to your brand coverage. Choose which media events fit your brand best and register for them before it’s too late. (Hint, hint: Press Previews)

4. Plan your editorial calendar by choosing different pitch angles you will use throughout the year to ensure a steady stream of coverage. Make sure you focus on one or two angles each month to ensure that your brand is being covered even when you don’t have news to announce.

5. Be realistic. Probably the second most important after choosing the media events you want to attend (wink face). You probably have hundreds of things you want to do next year, right? That’s great! But taking a step back and being realistic is vital. List what has to get done in 2018, what can be a maybe, and what can probably wait until 2019.