Managing the public relations of a company is always going to require a degree of strategic planning, no matter which industry you’re operating in or how competitive your niche is. Of course, you never want to walk into an endeavour blindly—every good campaign starts with a blueprint that is laid out before the first task is ever performed.
While a strategic planning process (SPP) might seem like a fancy way to say “business planning,” it’s actually a term used to describe a very refined approach towards developing and implementing plans on an ongoing basis. Here’s how you can use an SPP in your next PR campaign:
Start with the right resources
When you’re developing your first SPP, you need to be basing your decisions on accurate information. If you’re just saying to yourself, “oh, this sounds easy, I’ll just start planning processes strategically,” then you’re drastically oversimplifying this form of business expertise. The fact is, SPP development has become an in-depth topic in the field of corporate administration, so you’ll need to do your due diligence in this regard before you set out to implement SPPs within your PR campaigns.
For starters, you may want to look at this strategic planning overview from Intrafocus and download the strategic planning workbook. Intrafocus is an industry leader in key performance indicator (KPI) tracking software. Many brands have used Intrafocus tools to create reports that serve as the backbone of their corporate funding and analysis efforts.
Use workflow process maps
Creating a visual map that will serve as a blueprint for a process is an effective way to bring complex plans into fruition and facilitate productive brainstorming sessions. This approach helps when you’re managing a diverse PR campaign which involves different kinds of marketing, outreach, and brand management techniques. There are many online tools that will help you develop workflow process maps, so that’s an area of research that every PR specialist should look into due to the complexity of the processes involved in a creating a diversified brand presence.
Identify key areas of focus
Every PR campaign manager should prioritise which actions and tasks are handled first in order to avoid wasting time on unfruitful efforts. Thus, one of the key components in developing an SPP for a PR campaign is knowing where to begin based on a thorough analysis of your key performance indicators. If there are already public complaints or disgruntled reviews about your brand online, then you know where you need to start correcting and addressing those forms of negative feedback before moving forward. Leaving existing issues unresolved will only serve to negate some of the positive reputation you’re working so hard to build.
Develop exact objectives
Every corporate strategy is implemented with the goal of achieving a very specific set of objectives. Without something clear to aim towards, you simply won’t be able to make the most efficient use of your time and effort with the context of a busy and complex PR campaign. This is a particularly important step to take for marketers and PR specialists who are tasked with managing the reputation of multiple brands simultaneously.
For the sake of working towards a desirable outcome, it’s always best to envision and establish a finish line at the initiation of every project. For most clients and projects, the objective will be the same—create and maintain an appealing public reputation for the brand. However, the steps involved in actually making that happen will be where the predetermined objectives come into play. For example, you could set the objective of getting the brand 1 million followers on social media. Setting specific aspirations like that will help to serve as motivation as you gradually surpass projected milestones.
Create a realistic and sustainable schedule
Now that you know exactly what you’re working towards, what you should be focusing on, and how to develop a professionally formatted SPP for your PR campaign, it’s time to develop a schedule that will lead to the completion of the project in a timely and efficient manner. It’s best to use time management apps for this step and segment tasks into small and very specific time blocks of 5 to 30 minutes each. By setting clear hourly, daily, or weekly expectations, you can become the driving force behind an immensely productive team.
Don’t forget to monitor and track progress
In closing, it’s important to remember that trackingprogress is almost just as important as makingit. After all, if you can’t prove the impact that your efforts have had within a hard-fought PR campaign, it will be a lot like you’re sacrificing the glory behind the story. You might not care about entrepreneurial bragging rights, but being able to prove your abilities in PR will always come in handy in your career or when you start to lobby for investments.