Steps to building a PR planIf you have been here before, you know that a well planned public relations campaign is far more effective than advertising. Not a surprising statement, considering the fact that I get paid for creating public relations plans. PR is so important to the success of an organization, I want everyone to understand how easy it can be to plan properly.

*PLEASE NOTE: In this case, easy means not that hard if you already know what you are doing, but important enough that even if you don’t, it is worth the pain to figure it out.

Six steps to creating a solid PR plan:

  1. Define objectives or outcomes (specific and measurable)
  2. Define goals (what you will achieve if you reach these objectives)
  3. Determine target audiences (internal, external, etc.)
  4. Develop your tactics or plan of attack (the tactics/tools you will use)
  5. Create a calendar to organize when you will execute these tactics (try to look ahead one year)
  6. Measure outcomes and assign value to results (remember: garbage in/garbage out)

If these six steps seem to make PR look too easy, you are right. Although the basic framework of building an effective communications plan is above, there are several deeper topics that must be reviewed. It is during this planning, research and review stage that the right combinations of experience, knowledge and creativity come in.

Questions to ask before moving forward:

  • Is the goal to create awareness or establish expertise?
  • Are you interested in connecting with your customers or the press?
  • Do you need support from your community or are you interested in strengthening your brand?
  • Is there a new product to bring to market or an existing product that needs to be sold?
  • Has the organization experienced negative publicity or a crisis or are you launching from a solid reputation?
  • Are these goals in line with the goals and objectives of every department in your organization?
  • What tools will you use or need to be created for you to reach your target audience(s)?
  • Have you researched potential outcomes and developed a strategy for responding?

Developing the answers to these questions first is vital to ensuring that the PR process is efficient and effective. Many company leaders tell me they cannot afford to create a comprehensive communications plan. Now you can, because you can’t afford not to.

Need help? Let’s talk.

~ Jules

6 thoughts on “Six Steps to Creating a PR Plan

  1. Hi Jules,

    Crisp and clear writing….!! I m working as a PR manager, but sometimes feel that people don’t really value the contribution of effective PR. In fact i have seen even companies, that don’t value it much.

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  2. Hi Jules – I’m glad to see you’ve included measurement in your list. I’d like to expand on that topic a bit more because when creating a strategic PR Plan, it’s important to determine what has worked and what hasn’t worked for the company so problems don’t go undiagnosed and uncorrected.

    PR teams that don’t have a measurement solution in place risk not only wasting time and money on an ineffective approach but also delaying their ability to identify and correct problems. Here are a few ways PR teams can use measurement to spot and fix problems.

    Problem: Your coverage tracking shows that your company is getting media coverage, but it’s mainly in tier 2 and tier 3 publications that aren’t widely read by your customers.

    Your Solution: Set additional PR goals that focus on securing coverage in tier 1 publications where you know you’ll reach more of your customers. Then create a plan to step up your media relations and aggressively go after the coverage you want.

    Problem: Analysis of your media coverage helps you recognize that one particular product line is getting a lot of coverage. However, the company’s goals are centered around increasing sales of a different product… one that’s more profitable, but less-sexy than the product currently earning coverage.

    Your Solution: It’s time to re-evaluate your strategy. Look for ways you can shift the focus to the intended product. Maybe you decide it is appropriate to push product reviews or customer stories. Whatever the case, you need to work to ensure that your PR efforts are more closely linking to the business goals, so the end results will be right.

    Problem: You have noticed that although PR is securing interviews for company executives, the interviews aren’t leading to coverage that includes quotes and/or the intended communications message.

    The Solution: Recognize that it’s your responsibility to make sure executives effectively communicate the right message… one that maps to the company’s goals. If you aren’t seeing quotes, or the message in your coverage is off, you may need to look at how you’ve been preparing executives for interviews. Initiating additional coaching or more thorough briefings may be the adjustment you need to achieve better coverage results.

    These examples are just scratching the surface. They show very basic ways measurement can help you arrive at conclusions about when and how to adjust your PR strategy. I hope it’s helpful.

    Kristin Jones, CEO
    http://www.wallopondemand.com

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    1. Wow, great comment Kristin. Thank you! And I totally agree: PR teams that don’t have a measurement solution in place risk not only wasting time and money on an ineffective approach but also delaying their ability to identify and correct problems.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for spending time here.
      Best,
      Jules

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  3. Wow! I can really see how PR is more valuable than advertising. You can advertise all you want but if people have a negative perspective on your company or products, you don’t have a chance. The steps you provided are very helpful to see how you need to look at creating your PR plan. Once again you are full of great information!

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    1. Thank you! I see a place for advertising within the overall marketing portfolio, but dollar for dollar, if I have to chose one, it is going to be PR. Thanks for your post. ~ Jules

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