Introduction: Do you really need a strategy?
Yes. PR is a full-time job, and the day-to-day tasks are so time-consuming that teams often start missing the big picture, and instead end up focusing on tasks that might not have an impact on their core objectives. Public relations strategic planning should have a positive impact on your brand, and the best way to ensure this is to have a strategy in place, and a plan to execute it.
Your PR plan and strategy will help you navigate and prioritize every day’s demand. With established goals, you can follow the best tactics to create an impact. While every brand is different, we’ll go through the fundamental parts you need to be able to develop a strategy and plan around it using our PR tools and strategies.
Creating a PR plan that works
Take the PR strategy and planning guide with you.
Assess the situation
Whether you call it an analysis or an assessment, this is the foundation of any future decisions you make. This is where PR teams and public relations strategic planning can – and should – be working with other stakeholders like Marketing, Product, Commercial, and Customer Support to get a complete overview of the business situation, and the markets or environments thin at you’re operating in. Your financial situation, business goals, corporate image, product plans, and competitors are just some examples of information you should have in your situation analysis that will inform your PR strategy and goals.
Also, keep an eye on the big picture. Consider these questions when doing public relations strategic planning:
- What does your industry look like today?
- Have there been any significant changes in the last few years?
- What might change in the coming period?
- Which economic and political conditions might affect your industry?
Identify your audiences
Sending your message out to the world at large is not an effective approach. Identifying who you’re talking to – and gaining an understanding of them – is the crucial foundation of effective PR. Taking the time to research and connect with your audience using PR Tools and Strategies will help you develop your entire approach, adding a focus and intent to your strategy that will speak clearly through your end results.
Your public relations strategic planning should keep in mind two groups of audiences – your buyers, and people who can influence your buyers.
Do background research on where your competitors are mentioned to help you identify publications to reach out to.
You can reach your first group of audiences much better by developing better relationships with the second. You should also have an easy process set up for this group to get relevant and valuable information from you, such as establishing an SEO-optimized newsroom to make it easier for journalists in your industry to find your content.
Set up PR goals and objectives
Public relations strategic planning goals and objectives are sometimes used interchangeably, leading to plenty of confusion. In this guide, we’ll discuss the G.O.S.T model – Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.
We want our company to be the number 1 selling brand in this industry
Increase sales by 15% this year
Pr Strategies To Support Business Objective
Increase traffic to our e-commerce website by collaborating with influencers and have them promote our product
Setting up a model like G.O.S.T is a crucial step to give your team direction when juggling multiple tasks. It might be difficult to see the impact of one press release after another, but having concrete numbers will give you a clear objective to strive for. With every public relations strategic planning activity, you can set goals such as increasing website traffic, blog subscriptions and share of voice on social media. Digital tools are crucial in helping you measure impact.
Develop key messages
Key messages are the essence of what you want to communicate with your customers and will be the building blocks for all your tactics and activities developed through the help of your PR tools and strategies.
Think of key messages as the anchor that keeps all your communication unified and consistent, and what will inform all the messaging on your other PR channels. Here are the three things to consider when crafting key messages:
- Revisit your company’s mission and core values.
- Pick words and phrases in your brand vocabulary, avoid anything too generic or too similar to your competitors’ key messages.
- Consider the assessment of your situation to address changes in the industry and any new identity that your brand wants to adopt.
Your key messages should be concise, simple, and adaptable.
Concise: Lengthy messages are difficult to remember and adapt.
Simple: It should be easy to understand for most people. No jargon or acronyms.
Memorable: In this world of information overloading, easy-to-recall messages stand out.
Adaptable: for being used in different channels and various forms. Avoid using wordplay that only sounds smart, for example, in writing but not when speaking.
Compelling: You want your audiences to take action.
Evocative: The best messages are the ones that evoke strong feelings and the desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Let’s go over a quick example of a key message and its supporting messages.
“Our company’s products deliver tangible ROI”
While this is the core message we want to communicate, we wouldn’t use this particular wording in our external communication. Instead, we would create PR tools and strategies where we can drive secondary messages forward that support this key message. Supporting messages would look something like this:
“Our customers on average report an increase in revenue of 29% after 6 months of using our product”
Your PR team could complete public relations strategic planning out of these supporting messages, for example in writing articles about specific customers that have benefited from the product. Further proof points like hard-hitting quotes can be used to strengthen the message. Example:
“Since we started using this product, referral traffic from the newsroom to our e-commerce website has increased by over 180%”.
Identify PR channels
Now it’s time to decide on how you’re going to deliver your messages to your target audiences. There are various PR tools and strategies that PR pros can use to approach their customers. It’s important to recognize that you don’t have to do it all, especially if your team is fairly small. Identify channels where your target audiences spend their time, and what tactics will get you the most value. Common PR channels that should be included in your public relations strategic planning are:
- A central newsroom or media center
- Press releases
- Social media
Whether you call it a newsroom, media center, or press page, the premise is the same; a communications hub that connects the organization with its audiences. Newsrooms tend to be at the core of a PR team’s content publication strategy. It’s a vital part of PR strategies that allows you to bring your company’s news and stories to your stakeholders in a way that’s creative, engaging, and on-brand. To successfully manage your newsroom, you need to have public relations strategic planning behind it. Set some goals and objectives for it, keep a content calendar, and measure the performance of your page.
Read more in our ultimate guide to managing a brand newsroom
Everything you need to build and manage a successful brand newsroom.
Read our guide:
How to write a press release
Ultimate Guide to PR Distribution
Get coverage for your stories and reach the right audiences.
Plan the budget
Planning a budget is central to ensuring you have the resources, PR tools, and strategies to achieve your goals. Take into consideration the cost of both earned media and branded (paid) content. PR teams commonly allocate budgets for tools, (paid) channels, events, and agencies. Agencies can be in the form of PR agencies who support the writing, pitching, and publication process, or design agencies who work with in-house PR teams to create content. Examples of the type of tools that support your PR team include those that cover publication, measurement, distribution, project management, and automation.
Measure the results
Brand awareness is not the easiest thing to measure, and PR pros often find it challenging to demonstrate ROI in their activities that’s why you need Presspage’s PR distribution software.
Here are some examples of how you can plan to measure the impact of your activities using PR tools and strategies so that you can see what’s working and what you can improve.
Website traffic (organic and referral)
You can measure the percentage of total web traffic that you are driving with PR activities. If you use Google Analytics, for example, you can add UTM tracking codes to all PR campaigns. The report will offer a detailed picture of how each one performs. In addition to the number of visits, you should measure:
- Time spent on the site and each page
- The number of pages each visitor consume
- The bounce rate
Tools like Google Analytics and Presspage can give you insights into the traffic on your newsroom and individual press releases.
Understand the basics of Google Analytics with our blog post:
Google Analytics – An introduction for PR teams.
Learn more about SEO and PR in our blog post:
SEO – What is it, and why is it so important in PR?
Keep reading about PR measurement in our blog post:
The essentials of PR measurement
A thoughtful and well-researched strategy is crucial for the success of any PR activities. Begin with the big picture, then dive into the details:
- Assess your situation thoroughly to help set realistic SMART goals.
- Identify your audiences and craft key messages specifically for them
- Choose your tactics carefully and plan your budget accordingly.
- Measure the results of your hard work and learn from the data.
These fundamentals can help any organization in setting an effective PR strategy, with each step informing the next. Establishing a clear approach to your public relations strategic planning Goals will prove invaluable in building your brand and connecting with your customers.