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Resolution blog posts get plenty of bad press. Mainly because they often become a vain attempt to state the obvious or do the impossible by trying to predict what might or might not happen in the next 12 months.

But the 'resolution process' can be a cathartic one and, despite the fact that resolutions are often forgotten after 31 days, if nothing else it helps focus the mind on the task in hand.

So I thought I'd take a slightly different slant and, rather than predict or set industry-wide resolutions, I'll share with you the five things that, professionally, I'm going to try and focus on over the next 12 months.

1. Creativity first 

I think there is (and perhaps always has been) a lack of creativity in PR. Too often PRs get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day press relations and the old tried and tested routines - press tours, media announcements etc.

Contrast this to the advertising sector, where budgets and resources are thrown at supposedly creative endeavours.

Increasingly the earned media approach that PR has always advocated is eating the lunch of other marketing disciplines, but there is often a perception that we lag behind when it comes to creativity.

So maybe 2012 should be the year where we put creativity first. A time when we can embrace the new digital tools at our disposal and uncover new ways of doing things and communicating with audiences.

Of course, 'being creative' isn't as easy as it sounds but there are ways to spark and inspire creativity.

I've written recently about 'the adjacent possible' which explores the importance of being exposed to creative people and ideas as much as possible in order to try and inspire creativity for yourself and your teams/company.

2. Invest in design and development 

You'll no doubt have come across the Code Year website (a fantastic PR campaign in itself) which is encouraging people to take up coding.

I'm a firm believer that the PR professionals of the future will need to be even more multi-skilled than they are today and, while they might not need to be able to build a site from scratch, will massively benefit from at least an understanding of web coding.

It's something that we are looking to up-skill our staff in over the next year and Code Year is a good place to start.

Similarly, design is becoming an increasingly important part of everything that happens online. This is the area that I'll be personally focusing on and I've already dusted down a few design packages and will be experimenting...

3. Quality content 

Crafting content is a big part of any PR's job these days. But in our efforts to create quantity, I think we often miss out on the importance of quality.

I think it is the secret to success in many PR campaigns and is one of the things that has been drummed into me ever since I started in PR.

As the mainstream media slides into the quantity black hole, I think there is a massive opportunity for PRs.

4. Social search 

Ok, so a bit of crystal ball gazing, but there is no doubt that social search will be big this year. Google's latest announcement is just more proof that search and SEO is becoming more social.

And if you don't believe me, then check out what these experts have to say.

Again, I think there is a clear and obvious PR opportunity. Andrew Girdwood predicts the rise of “Earned Media Directors”. Sound familiar?

5. Measurement 

Finally, something of a bugbear for me. Last year I thought a lot about measurement and we've really worked hard to evolve our whole approach to measurement as an agency.

But there's always more that can be done, both internally and in the wider industry (and even beyond that). PR still has a bad reputation for measurement but there are lots of people doing some great thinking about it.

I plan to try and help keep that conversation going.

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Published 13 January, 2012 by Danny Whatmough

Danny Whatmough is Head of Digital, EMEA Consumer at Weber Shandwick. He can be found on TwitterGoogle+  and blogs at dannywhatmough.com.

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