If you have been here before, you know that I believe 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.

However, I believe that PR is so important to the success of an organization that 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 PR objectives or outcomes (specific and measurable)

  2. Define PR goals (what you will achieve if you reach these objectives)

  3. Determine target PR audiences (internal, external, type, etc.)

  4. Develop your PR tactics, tools you will use to execute your plan of attack

  5. Create a calendar to organize when you will execute these PR 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. The questions below will help set the strategy and tactics that will be used for your PR plan.

Questions to ask before moving forward with a public relations plan:

    • 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. A well-planned public relations campaign is far more effective than advertising and PR is so important to the success of an organization, understanding it is a requirement for organizations. Now you can afford to plan effectively because, in reality, you can’t afford not to.

 


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