With the digital age upon us, journalists are no longer limited to traditional news outlets. With so many opportunities to share stories and content, it is essential to set SMART goals to ensure success.
The SMART method is a fantastic way for journalists to track progress and push themselves further. We’ll cover SMART goals examples that aspiring journalists should consider when crafting their career path.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART system will enable journalists to establish practical goals for success. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Here’s a more detailed explanation of each SMART letter:
The more precise your goals are, the better your chances of achieving them. That is because specificity helps you define what you want and directs how to get there. You’ll be able to tailor your efforts towards those objectives to reach your destination faster.
Journalists need to be able to check progress to reach their desired level of success. Adopting the SMART element will help you identify, confront and learn from any possible issues that may arise as you move forward. Taking these factors into account will foster long-term prosperity.
It is crucial to be as realistic as possible when developing goals. Ask yourself if the goal is achievable within a reasonable amount of time. It’s OK to dream big, but make sure those dreams are grounded in reality. You’ll undoubtedly pave the way for success in all areas of life.
When you create goals that are true to your beliefs, the path ahead will become illuminated, and you’ll be driven to reach the finish line. Even if the road ahead gets bumpy, your core values will show you how to stay on track.
A well-planned timeline can help you stay ahead of the game and focus on your ambitions. After all, success is never instantaneous—it’s the result of a long-term commitment and determination that must be nourished over time.
13 Examples of SMART Goals for Journalists
Here are 13 examples of SMART goals for journalists:
1. Increase Story Quality
“To improve the quality of my stories, I’ll read three books on journalism and creative writing techniques within 6 months. I want to use the knowledge to help write more captivating stories in less time.”
Specific: This is explicit because the person has identified a timeline and plans to improve their story quality.
Measurable: Mark off milestones after completing each step in this plan.
Attainable: The journalist has identified a realistic timeline for increasing story quality.
Relevant: This is relevant because it will help the journalist write more captivating stories.
Time-based: Completion of this goal is expected after 6 whole months.
2. Expand Professional Network
“I will expand my professional network by attending two industry-specific conferences over the four months ahead. I’ll introduce myself to at least 10 new contacts and aim to learn from their experiences and advice.”
Specific: The statement is outlined clearly and precisely, stating exactly what will be done.
Measurable: Journalists can measure their progress by attending two conferences and introducing themselves to 10 contacts.
Attainable: This goal is achievable if the journalist takes advantage of opportunities to network.
Relevant: This is relevant to the journalist’s career because it can help them establish relationships with industry influencers.
Time-based: You have a four-month end date for reaching success.
3. Improve Social Engagement
“I’ll increase the publication’s social media engagement by 20% in 5 months by optimizing posts for maximum reach and using targeted advertising.”
Specific: The goal outlines the necessary actions (optimizing posts and using targeted advertising) and what you’re aiming for (20% engagement increase).
Measurable: You can measure the engagement rate with analytics tools on social media platforms.
Attainable: It’s definitely possible to increase engagement with the outlined actions.
Relevant: Increasing social engagement helps build your publication’s online presence.
Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated after 5 months.
4. Enhance Publicity
“To increase the reach of our publications, I will write and distribute three press releases every month. These press releases will be published in national and local newspapers and online outlets.”
Specific: Your SMART goal is clear—write and distribute three press releases.
Measurable: You can track the success of your press releases by the number of views they receive.
Attainable: Writing and distributing three press releases should be feasible monthly.
Relevant: This is relevant to increasing publicity for your publications.
Time-based: Consider this an ongoing effort; you’ll pursue it each month.
5. Develop Writing Skills
“I intend to practice my writing skills daily for at least 15 minutes during the next 6 months. By doing so, I want to develop my writing style and learn new techniques to help me become a better writer.”
Specific: The goal details precisely what skills the journalist wants to focus on and for how long.
Measurable: This is quantifiable because it specifies the time devoted to practice.
Attainable: Success should be doable if the journalist is consistent and puts in enough effort to practice writing daily.
Relevant: Writing skills are relevant to journalism, as it is an integral part of the job.
Time-based: You have a 6-month deadline to enhance your writing abilities.
6. Become More Organized
“I want to be able to search any newsroom database quickly and accurately in 5 minutes or less by the end of the quarter. I will use indexing and filing systems to ensure all necessary documents are quickly accessible.”
Specific: This is specific because the person wants to be able to search any newsroom database in 5 minutes or less.
Measurable: Confirm that searches are conducted quickly and accurately in the allotted time frame.
Attainable: The SMART goal is achievable with proper indexing and filing systems.
Relevant: Organization is vital for any journalist seeking to be successful in their work.
Time-based: Goal attainment is expected by the end of the quarter.
7. Secure Job Opportunities
“My aim is to secure at least 5 job opportunities as a freelance journalist in 6 months. I will research potential markets, contact employers, and provide resources to the journalists for the best chance of success.”
Specific: The individual outlines the number of job opportunities they expect to obtain within a certain period.
Measurable: Track the number of job applications you’ve sent out.
Attainable: Researching potential markets, contacting employers, and providing resources to the journalists is a reasonable action plan.
Relevant: This statement focuses on furthering the individual’s journalism career.
Time-based: The goal has an expiration date of 6 months.
8. Connect With the Community
“I want to foster a stronger connection between our newsroom and the community we serve. For 12 months, I will organize virtual public forums with our readers and viewers every two months to discuss the stories we cover.”
Specific: The SMART goal states what you want to accomplish and how often it will be done.
Measurable: You can count the number of virtual forums held over 12 months.
Attainable: Having virtual public forums with readers and viewers every two months is realistic.
Relevant: This goal is essential for building relationships with the community and gathering their input on stories.
Time-based: Twelve months are required to accomplish success.
9. Strengthen Technology Skills
“I will increase my knowledge and understanding of new technologies over the 8 months ahead. I want to understand how the tools and platforms used in online content creation and distribution work and their potential applications.”
Specific: This goal is about deepening knowledge of the technologies used for content creation and distribution.
Measurable: The measure of success will be an increased understanding of how these tools and platforms are used.
Attainable: Eight months is enough time to increase knowledge about technology use.
Relevant: Understanding technology use is vital to increase content reach and engagement.
Time-based: A timeline of 8 months is set for this particular goal.
10. Establish a Mentorship Program
“I want to create an internal mentorship program by the end of four months. This program will allow junior staff members to learn from more experienced colleagues and help them develop their professional skills.”
Specific: This goal is evident as it sets a timeline and outlines the desired outcome.
Measurable: You can check off the tasks of creating a mentorship program.
Attainable: Establishing a mentorship program in four months is realistic.
Relevant: Creating a mentorship program will help foster growth amongst junior staff members.
Time-based: The SMART goal should be completed in four months.
11. Improve Interviewing Techniques
“I’ll practice interviewing techniques and use new strategies to enhance my skill set for 9 months. I want to better understand various body language and communication styles to help me ask more effective interview questions.”
Specific: Journalists want to practice interviewing techniques and use new strategies to enhance their skill set.
Measurable: The goal could be measured by the frequency of practice and new strategies used.
Attainable: This is achievable because journalists can take active steps to hone their interviewing skills.
Relevant: This is pertinent because it will help the journalist become a better interviewer.
Time-based: You have a 9-month window to meet this certain goal.
12. Win Awards and Recognition
“I will submit my work for awards, recognition, and membership in industry organizations by the end of 10 months. I’m proud of my content and believe it deserves recognition.”
Specific: You’re outlining what you must do (submit your work for awards, recognition, and membership in industry organizations).
Measurable: You’ll know you succeeded when your work has been submitted.
Attainable: Submitting your work for awards and recognition is totally achievable.
Relevant: Being proud of your work and striving for recognition is important.
Time-based: You’re expecting to complete this goal within 10 months.
13. Create an Editorial Calendar
“I’ll create an editorial calendar for my team that outlines deadlines, content ideas, and topics to be covered over the following three months. This will provide structure and organization to our newsroom operations.”
Specific: An editorial calendar is to be created for the team.
Measurable: The calendar will outline deadlines, content ideas, and topics to be covered.
Attainable: Creating an editorial calendar is a realistic goal that can be met with the right amount of organization and planning.
Relevant: This is appropriate for the newsroom operations and provides structure to the team’s workflow.
Time-based: The SMART statement must be achieved within three months.
Establishing SMART goals allows you to reach success in any field. Journalists are no different, and they can benefit from using this framework to achieve their ideal results.
Whether it’s writing more stories or developing a better understanding of their target audience, goal setting can help journalists hone their craft and become the best version of themselves.
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