Getting the word out about a new product launch, store opening or major announcement is a critical piece of growing a business. But in a world of nonstop marketing messages, how do you cut through the noise and make sure a message stands out?
The key is to create a public relations plan that will attract attention from media representatives, brand influencers and customers who can help push your announcement out to the masses. Crafting a successful PR strategy is a multi-step process that involves research and goal-setting before execution. Here are seven steps to make sure your messages are in line with your brand and reach your target audience.
Make a project timeline
Before you get started on PR strategies and tactics, it’s important to create a project timeline, set incremental deadlines and get buy-in from stakeholders. Pursuing a project management certificate online can give a great foundation for knowing how to make a plan that will help your business succeed.
A good plan starts with concrete goals that are based in research. Start the process by reviewing your PR activity from the past year and thinking about what you might like to change, improve or expand in the next 12 months. Take note of what types of story pitches did well, which outlets and writers responded positively, and what kinds of content got attention on social media. From there, write down your goals for the coming year. Do you want to attract new customers, raise brand awareness, improve your reputation or introduce a new product line? Center your goals in an understanding of your overall business plan and what PR strategies you’ve tried in the past.
Identify your target audience
The next step is to define the primary target audience for your PR goals. A tip: “everyone” is not a target audience. Think about who your business would like to have join its customer base and who your current customers are. Put together one or multiple audience personas that help you picture the priorities, location, demographics and behaviors of this target audience.
Think about the competition
Knowing what types of messages and content your competitors are using is critical for developing the next part of your PR plan. Look for media coverage of competing products and take a deep dive into competitors’ social media feeds. This will offer additional understanding of what has worked well and what customers are responding to. During this step, also consider external factors that could affect your business, such as current events. That will allow you to make a plan that’s proactive, rather than reactive, and avoid unintended missteps.
Write your key messages
What do you want people to know about your business? Based on the previous steps, you’re now ready to write a list of key messages that you want to express through PR efforts. Key messages should be concise, easily understandable and memorable. They help guide all the content you create, whether that’s a story pitch, a news release, a radio ad or a social media campaign.
Set and implement tactics
With your research complete and messages outlined, it’s time to choose the tools and tactics that will make up the bulk of your PR plan. To achieve the goal of launching a new product, tactics might include sending out a news release announcing an unveiling event, developing shareable social media posts that highlight product features, and engaging influencers to write and share reviews.
Measure the results
The last step is to measure the results of PR efforts. Track engagement and reach of social media posts, analyze website traffic, document media coverage and compile everything into a report. Analyzing what worked well and what didn’t will help guide future PR strategies.
A successful PR plan can attract new customers, enhance your reputation and improve brand awareness. Creating a detailed project outline and sticking to it will help make sure you meet your PR goals.