16 Mar Developing a plan of attack – crafting a successful PR strategy
It’s no good just bashing out a press release now and again, and hoping for the best. You need a plan to work out who, what, when, where and why. This way, you’ll ensure that you’re approaching it effectively to get the best results possible. It’s a process I’ve always gone through with each client, it underpins absolutely everything I do.
So, how do you go about writing a PR plan? Well, it goes a little something like this…
- Overview – this is really useful to define what your challenges are that you’re hoping to overcome with your PR activity. Putting it down on paper succinctly can be quite hard to do, but really helps to clear your thoughts and work out what it is you’re trying to achieve
- Objectives – these should tie in with your overall business objectives – for example, to increase sales or increase the number of visits to the website, etc. This will also help you to evaluate down the line how successful your activity has been
- Target audiences – who are you trying to reach? This will be the same as your target market/potential customers
- Target media – how will you reach your target audience? Think about what they read, think trade, regional, national, but also what they might read for leisure too. For example, if you’re selling a product to a hairdressing salon owner, they’ll read their trade press, possibly the business press but also regional papers/websites, and they may also have an interest in fashion and beauty, so you might want to consider men’s and women’s lifestyle titles too. Think laterally. It helps if you try and walk through a day in the life of, to think about what they might be reading, watching and listening to.
- Key messages – what phrases do you want to be associated with your company? Noting these down will help you to remember to include them in all communications you issue.
- Strategy – how are you going to meet your objectives? In this section, you don’t need the ‘what’, just how you are going to approach it, for example, a sustained level of ongoing activity targeting x, y and z creating relationships with xx journalist in xx media.
- Tactics – the nitty gritty. This is the good stuff, and I’ll talk in my next blog about some of the different things that you can do.
- Budget – you need to work out how much the tactics will cost you to do, and allocate a budget for that. It will also help here if you consider how much time you want to put aside for that, and if you need outside support to help you, how much will that cost?
- Evaluation – think about how you want to measure what will make this programme a success. It should link back to your overall objectives, but you may also want to track the advertising value equivalent (how much it would have cost you to get this coverage if you’d taken out an advert) or how many times your key messages were mentioned, how much of the coverage was positive etc.
- Next steps – as it says on the tin, it’s helpful to put an activity plan together so you’re clear on what needs doing, who’s doing it, and by when. All to help keep you on track.
I know it’s a lot of legwork, and it’ll take time. I know it’s not as sexy as the ‘doing’, but I promise you that you’ll achieve a hell of a lot more going through this process than you will without it. And if you need a hand putting a plan together, you know where I am.