As the digital and traditional business landscape continues to evolve, businesses of every size are continuing to invest or turn to PR to market themselves to a new customer base or uphold relationships with existing customers.
Be it earning consumers’ trust, establishing relationships, or promoting a product or service, a great PR messaging strategy can benefit a business regardless of its industry or size.
But public relations cuts across various functions and thus can be confusing for a business to be innovative in their messaging or find the ideal activities for establishing a clear messaging strategy.
If you’re having trouble shaping the perception of your brand or developing relationships with your stakeholders, partners, or customers, this post will help you find and build on the appropriate messaging strategies around the way you communicate to increase brand awareness.
1. Identify your goals and objectives
As a brand, there are several reasons for developing a PR messaging strategy. Your goal may be to:
- Protect your brand’s image
- Manage reputation
- Recruit industry talent
- Attract investment opportunities
- Increase brand awareness
Whatever your goals or objectives are, describing them will help you determine what audience to go after, the outreach methods to use, and the message or content to use to achieve those goals and objectives.
Thus, your PR goals and objectives should be SMART:
Let’s say, you are launching a new upscale fashion store. Your goal here may be to boost brand awareness. The objective may be to send invites to influencers and bloggers to the store’s opening, hoping they share pictures about it on social media or write about your store on their blog.
Combining your goals and objectives will help you evaluate yourself, determine your progress, plan your direction, and avoid spending so much effort on an activity that will bring no reward or return.
2. Do your research
PR is broad and incorporates several tactics and strategies to do it well. Hence the need to exercise due diligence and conduct extensive research when creating a PR messaging strategy.
Research is vital because it helps you to:
- Determine your target audience
- Be strategic with your messages
- Find the controllable and uncontrollable (Micro and Macro environment) factors that will influence your PR decisions and affect your business performance
- Find existing ideas or opportunities that you can use instead of creating something new in your key content and messages.
To succeed in your research process, study campaigns from successful brands, and draw inspiration from them. Alternatively, you can collect data from your competitors to gauge your competitiveness and gather data from your past PR activities.
Some factors you may have to take into account while digging into your past activities include:
- Investigating what was happening in the industry
- What the competitors did that you weren’t doing
- How did the past campaigns affect your business
In your investigation, ask yourself what was the audience’s reaction? Did you get positive write-ups from trade publications, mainstream media, and journalists? Did you get more business partners?
Asking yourself these questions will help you spot your strength and weakness, change, build, and improve your PR messaging strategy.
3. Know your target audience
Once you have highlighted your goals and objectives and had some background research, next is to locate the recipients for your message.
Is it a business, a venture capitalist, or a non-profit? Your focus should be building positive relationships with the target audience or to shape the opinion of your brand so that you can tailor your message to gain their interest.
Understand that not all audiences are the same, thus cannot be found through the same channel or avenue. Let’s say you are looking to attract investors to your business. Your target audience may be a venture capitalist. In such a case, you may reach them through networking events, social media, or referrals.
Don’t forget also to uncover more of your audience by learning their key behavior and what media they consume to help tailor your message to suit their behavior and optimize your PR strategy.
4. Identify key messages
What are the fundamental points or the relevant stories that you want your audience to pick up and remember your brand for? Whatever it is, it needs to drive the main agenda home.
To have the right information, examine your audience’s desires, and what they like or dislike. And then build the ideal content or message that will add value.
Besides, think like your audience to develop your campaigns with the audience’s view in mind. To succeed, ensure your team read through your message before sharing it with the public and that it communicates the perfect image of the brand or the intended purpose.
Your key message should connect to your mission and vision, and why consumers should choose your brand over another. It should help create a perception of what you want the audience to know what your brand is all about.
If you want your audience to recognize you or your brand as an expert, share trends, key insights, statistics, or educational content. This way, you will build your reputation and make consumers trust you or take action and buy from your brand.
5. Choose the best distribution method(s)
Distribution methods refer to outreach methods or tactics within and outside an organization you can use to increase your chances and capacity to reach a wider audience.
Public relations tactics may include press releases, events, letters to editors, original research, bronchus, and many more.
Going by our early example of reaching investors, you can use email newsletters, public speaking, or send invites to business journalists for an event. If you want to alert the audience of a data breach that affected consumers’ personal information, a press release would be a more convenient method.
To succeed in your PR tactic, produce a list of publications your target audience subscribes to, or events they go to, or how they spend their time on social media. This will help you concentrate on the channel that will work for you.
No doubt PR is advantageous for businesses of all sizes and during any of the business cycles, not just during a crisis or launching a new marketing campaign. But to succeed, it starts with being creative in your PR messages.
A PR messaging strategy will help you win customers with impressive responses, push for the much-needed changes, and maximizes your PR efforts to help skyrocket your business’ growth.