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How to write an effective PR plan

By Lisa Goldsberry

18736495_s.jpg10 elements of a successful plan to help you reach your goals

According to well-known time management author Alan Lakein, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” You can apply this concept to many endeavors, including writing a PR plan. But how do you write a PR plan? More importantly, how do you write an effective and successful PR plan?

You wouldn’t develop a new product or open a new location without a plan. You shouldn’t handle your PR efforts without one either. With help from a PR agency, your company can develop a PR plan that is strategic, tactical and aligns with your overall goals.

Here are the basic elements to any great PR plan:

  • Never underestimate the value of research. Don’t go into any venture blindly. When there is something to be done, it is human nature to immediately begin searching for answers and solutions. Then, we watch as those results fail because they were not based on data and analyses. Writing a PR plan will force you to slow down a bit and render deliberate decisions that are proactive and thoughtful.
  • Set goals – just a few to start with – for the overall program. Base these goals on your desired results. It is important that your goals be reasonable, detailed and measurable. For example, a goal to increase sales by 500 percent in a year is probably not reasonable and an aim to communicate your brand is not very specific.
  • Identify your target audience. This is where your buyer personas can be crucial. Knowing who they are, what they need and how you can add value is critical for developing the best communication strategies. You should consider all members of your target audience, such as your customers, prospects and the people who influence them, media and perhaps even employees.
  • Set measurable objectives for those audiences. You can think of these as milestones you want to reach throughout the plan. For instance, if your plan is to increase awareness of your new product, one objective could include reaching out to millennials with two specifically targeted events. In addition, your objectives should always link back to your company’s priorities and overall strategic plan.
  • Set strategies, tactics and activities and reach your expressed objectives. You will need to establish how you will deliver messages, who will deliver them and what they will say – as well as how to put your goals into action. For example, how will you use social media and which media outlets will you target? Create a calendar to be sure nothing gets missed.
  • Determine the best way to evaluate your results. You should agree upon measurement criteria and what success will look like at the beginning of the plan. For instance, you can look at how many media hits you received, audience awareness and retention of your messages and/or changes in opinion. Also, you should do this periodically throughout the campaign to ensure your efforts are on track and adjust if any part really isn’t working.
  • List all needed materials for your campaign. This could include, but is not limited to: publications, press releases, technology tools such as video equipment and website development, handouts and giveaways, signage and special event materials like tents or rental space.
  • Outline the budget, timetable and task list and make sure you stick to it. Once you determine what you want to do, when you want to do it and how much you can spend, it’s vital to stay focused. Avoid caviar wishes if you’ve only got a hot dog budget. Getting sidetracked by other ideas or changing direction midstream will only serve to delay your plans and blow your budget.
  • Remember that your PR plan is a living document. Make sure it is flexible enough to be adjusted for any unexpected occurrences.
  • Get a PR firm to help you. For more help on putting together the best PR plan for your business, contact Axia Public Relations or download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.
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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has been with Axia since December 2013. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.


Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, investment, PR planning

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