Since public relations is such a critical success factor in business success, it’s crucial to have a plan in place. Developing a functional PR strategy can influence the public favorably.

This means that you must strategize, map out, and implement your PR efforts in such a way that you will always know what’s next. For this reason, the following items are imperative and must be assessed in your PR plan:

Understand your competition

Simulate and become familiar with your business and your competition. This could mean taking notes on services that you don’t offer, but your competition does.

If your business is not getting media mentions, chances are that you don’t have an impressive public image. Pay close attention to the media mentions of your competitors. Analyze the mentions and compare with your own.

When you are developing a strategic analysis, look carefully into your previous PR efforts. Did you get any/enough media attention? How was it? Which angles worked? With this information, you will be able to evaluate your success and failures.

Also important, you will want to clearly identify your target audience and what interests them. It’s imperative to determine the media you are targeting correctly. Brainstorm about the blogs, publications and media outlets that you seek to target and why. Do you have specific writers in mind? These are major points to look at in your public relations plan.

Assess your goals and objectives

Assess your desired business goals to see if they are in line with your PR plan. Goals vary and are dependent on the business operations and desired results. Develop an all-encompassing goal, especially one that came up when assessing the space and the competition. Ensure that you are working with a realistic goal to avoid setting yourself up for failure.

Once you have your goal in line, assess your objectives. Objectives are what makes or breaks a PR plan. Come up with attainable objectives that will be a benchmark for the progress that you’ve made. For each of the goals, it’s wise to create 2-3 achievable objectives.

Craft key messages

The kind of messages that you create for your PR campaign is vital to success. You must create messages that target your audiences and relate to your goals and objectives. Ensure that the messages are relevant to your audience—the more relevant your messages, the more effective they are. You can use big data to assess the effectiveness of your information on the internal processes of the business.

Formulate your strategy

At this point, you should assess your needs—new angles and tactics will be important. At this point, think of events, PR stunts, news and everything that is relevant to customers. Your strategy should be creative—the more out of the box, the better off you are.

Be careful not to create a crisis that you will need to clean up. Crisis planning is an essential part of the PR marketing strategy and must be assessed fully. This is possible through analyzing all the possible negative scenarios.

Employ proper measurement

Once you have assessed and implemented your PR plan, you must be able to measure the expected results. At this point, you have to take note of how you will measure your performance. Is your success going to be determined by the number of media placements? Are you looking for social media hits? Or by the inventory sold?

Proper analysis of those metrics will provide you with data on how your PR plan performed, and on how it can be improved. Remember that the impact of the PR strategy is all that will matter at the end of the day.

Strategic planning, creative thinking, smart budgeting coupled with the ability to manage unforeseen circumstances are essential factors an efficient PR plan. A well-thought-out PR strategy will give you the peace of mind in day-to-day activities while offering new avenues for your business to excel. The image of your company is critical to the success of your brand or products. As you plan your business PR, feel free to fine-tune it for more success.

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Jeremy Sutter

Jeremy Sutter

Jeremy Sutter is a freelance writer and former mobile marketing manager at Adobe.

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