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 a 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 the 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.