So, 2014 has come and gone.

As you- as a public relations professional- take a look back on the year, can you honestly say you were consistently on top of your game? In a profession that is changing on a daily basis, are you keeping up on every new trend and tool?

None of us are perfect. We've all made mistakes. The question for you is, are you guilty of any (or all) of the following?

You:

  1. Failed to get up to speed on social media: Sure, you've got a Twitter account and a Facebook page, but are you using social media as a powerful weapon in your PR arsenal? Are you using tools like MuckRack to develop, maintain and grow relationships with the media? Are you listening to what is being said about your business or your clients' businesses?
  2. Didn't pick up the phone enough: Back in the day, PR professionals relied on the telephone to reach out for new businesses, maintain relationships with clients and pitch the media. Today, with all the other tools we use (e-mail, social media, texting), we've forgotten the importance of a real, person-to-person discussion.
  3. Didn't get away from your desk at lunch time: We're all busy, some of us insanely so. It's all too easy to grab a sandwich and a soda and eat lunch at our desks. Getting away, at the very least, clears your head. When you meet someone for lunch....
  4. Didn't network enough: It may seem like "old school," but networking exposes you to new people, new ideas, new ways of doing things and, best of all, new business opportunities. Sites like Eventbrite and MeetUp make it easy to find appropriate networking events for your interests and business.
  5. Failed to attend conferences: It's way too easy to look at ourselves as finished products. Unfortunately, that attitude can kill your career. For example, last year's PRSA International Conference covered everything from "How to Use Data and Analytics to Drive Your PR Content Strategy" to "The Seven Pinterest Points PR Pros Need to Know."
  6. Didn't measure results effectively: In case you didn't catch on yet, PR is becoming more and more of a science. Whether it is web analytics, big data or tagging social media campaigns, there are much clearer ways of determining ROI on campaigns than just taking about "buzz."
  7. Neglected to take advantage of native advertising opportunities: Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. Whether it's a sponsored article in Forbes (Digital Brand Voice) or Direct Sponsored Content on LinkedIn, native advertising is a tremendous way to reach a highly targeted audience.
  8. Didn't understand the importance of online reputation management: In other words, you failed to create the kinds of content that show up favorably and prominently in search results for your business, your leaders and your clients.
  9. Neglected to get up to speed on the power of video: We all know Google is the No. 1 search engine, but few people understand that YouTube is the No. 2. Video content is readily sharable, enhances websites and puts a human face on a business and their leadership.
  10. Didn't stop and smell the roses: Virtually everyone is guilty of this. Work is important, but not to the point of neglecting your family, friends, health and happiness.

So, how did you do? No mistakes? Two out of ten? Five out of ten? Please don't say ten out of ten!

While we all have our PR mea culpas, there's always hope for next year. As Albert Einstein famously said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Looking forward to a perfect (zero out of) 10 in 2015!

Happy New Year!