Before you write a press release, plan a media event or pitch a reporter, you need to have a public relations strategy in place. A PR plan that aligns with your business goals and objectives will be more effective in gaining exposure and awareness than any single PR tactic. A simple, flexible plan will work well as long as you invest the time and thought upfront. Your plan will serve as your road map of what you want to achieve, who you need to reach, what message you want to deliver, as well as where and how best you can reach them. Keep track of your publicity results and adjust throughout the year as needed to make sure your PR efforts are helping you get closer to your business goals.
Need a little help coming up with your PR plan? Here are eight questions to help get you started:
- What single opportunity or challenge do you want to address? This is the goal of your PR plan.
- What are your objectives? Choose at least three specific objectives, each with their own deadlines, that you can measure.
- Who is your target audience? Remember, members of the media are not your audience. They help you deliver your message through various news channels to your target audience.
- What are your key messages? Choose no more than three that you will use in all your PR materials, as well as in any other marketing materials.
- How will you connect your audience with your message? This is your PR strategy; the who, how and what of accomplishing your objective.
- What specific actions, or tactics, will you take to meet your objectives?
- What is your budget? Make sure the cost of each tactic squares up with your overall PR budget.
- How will you measure and evaluate the success of your plan?
Strategic public relations is a long-term, ongoing process. It takes time to research, target and get the attention of media contacts. Once you do, it’s important to develop relationships with them and keep them updated on your business news so they — and your customers — remember you.