The main function of public relations is about influencing, engaging, and building relationships with partners to help shape the public’s perspective of your brand. Over time, the definitions of PR have shifted and developed along with advances in technology. Regardless of your business’ approach to public relations, a solid plan is essential for a successful PR strategy. Your organization should understand what about your business or situation is worthy of news and where are the people you want to reach with your news.
- Research and Situation Analysis
Before a plan can be formed, your organization must identify specific situations and needs for communication. Do your research into the situations you identify as information that you want to spotlight. You will want to know how do other companies share similar news, what are the outlets and journalists that might cover this type of information, and who are your partner contacts for sharing.
- Define Goals and Objectives
To ensure that your PR efforts stay on track, the next step is defining your goals and objectives. Your business’s goals are more extensive visions for the future of the business, whereas the objectives are much more specific and describe how the goals will be achieved. PR goals match the overall company goals.
Objectives should follow the “SMART” rule. This means that objectives must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This method ensures a more definite plan for reaching your stated goals and offers an outlook on your plan’s progress.
- Identify Target Audience
Next, it is crucial to identify your target audience to plan what strategies and tactics will be most effective. You can specify your target audience using your goals and objectives. Through this research, you may find that multiple target audiences with varying demographics are needed to help you increase your reach. You can better prepare specific messages and strategies that appeal to your target audience.
- Outline Strategies and Tactics
Now comes the most complex part: creating a game plan. Similar to the differentiation between goals and objectives, strategies are more of a broad approach to how you will accomplish the objectives. In contrast, tactics are the specific actions that must be executed.
For instance, a business’s objective may be to increase brand awareness. A strategy that could be used is to partner up with popular influencers that would be a positive image for the brand. With this broad approach, you can get into the specifics of tactics.
To build off the strategy of partnering with influencers, some tactics could include training the influencers, managing social media, or encouraging them to participate in community and industry events. Ideally, this strategy and attached tactics would meet the objective of increasing brand awareness.
- Measure Your Progress
Finally, to detect the success of the PR plan, it is essential to reflect on the plan’s progress. This is why the SMART rule is so important because it ensures that the objectives are measurable and timely. Measurements may include data from social media or a website, customer feedback, sales uptick, or other measures of reach. Measuring your progress keeps your company’s objectives top of mind and holds PR specialists accountable for staying on track.