- A good PR strategy is essential - not just for brand awareness and reaching new audiences, but for crisis management and salvaging issues quickly.
- Creating a PR strategy involves a multi-step process and careful planning to ensure your business is prepared for a wide range of scenarios.
- It's important to measure results and gauge what type of content and activities are effective.
- In this article, we explain how to create a PR strategy that supports your business goals and growth.
Have you ever wondered how brands get media coverage? Good publicity can help you reach a new audience to generate more leads and increase your revenue. But before you start earning media coverage, you need to develop a solid PR strategy.
What Is Public Relations (PR)?
Public relations (PR) is the art of crafting and delivering messages that inform and influence the public to change their attitudes or take action. PR, when done correctly, is used to build and maintain a positive public image of your business that will ultimately increase brand awareness, credibility and revenue.
What Is a PR Strategy?
A PR strategy is a general approach to achieving your business objectives. It’s a multi-step process that involves research and goal-setting to get the word out about your products, services, announcements, updates, etc.
A PR strategy can also help address a gap or problem that is impacting your business. Gaps could include losing customers to a competitor or a restriction in some way that interferes with your ability to reach a new audience.
Questions to Help Define the Purpose of Your PR Strategy
To better define the purpose of your PR strategy, ask yourself these questions:
- What products, services or profiles are you looking to get more attention?
- What are your goals and objectives?
- What tactics will you use to achieve your goals and objectives?
- What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
How to Create a PR Strategy
In order to create a PR strategy, you need to:
- Establish your target audience
- Define your goals and objectives
- Develop key messages and tactics
1. Identify Target Audiences
Putting together one or several customer avatars will help you picture the ideal customer by considering their demographic, priorities, concerns and location. You may also be building a relationship with key audiences like investors, journalists, policymakers, employees, etc. Think about who you want to influence and engage with to accomplish your goals.
2. Define your Goals and Objectives
Assess your current situation and clearly outline three to four unambiguous objectives so that it’s easy to measure the performance of your strategy. Your objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound) and include tactics to carry out the strategy.
For example, if you’re an orthodontist and plan to increase your patient flow by the end of the year, one of the objectives may be to raise your profile among parents in the community. Strategies to do this could be to book a segment on your local TV morning show where moms, who are typically the household health decision-makers, will be watching.
Your goal is for them to see the media coverage that persuades them to schedule an appointment with you for their child who needs braces. The tactics to support the strategy are the individual requirements to secure media coverage.
Research allows you to survey the landscape and leverage opportunities you see fit. It determines who you're trying to influence and the most effective communication tactics to reach them.
When researching, obtain data and stats that can help you differentiate and sell your message. During this time, it’s also important to review any PR activities from the past year to determine if you need to improve or revise anything to make it better.
4. Develop Key Messages and Tactics
When you start strategising your plan of attack, understanding your goals and target audience will help you identify your key messages. Key messages should be concise, easily understandable and memorable to help communicate effectively and stay in line with your brand. The messages should be educational, informative and interesting.
For each objective you develop, it’s a good idea to include tactics across multiple channels from media relations and digital PR to influencer marketing and social media campaigns and more.
No matter what channel you use, you should always time your product launch or marketing initiative correctly. For example, if your company is launching a new sandal line, your advertising should begin at the end of winter when customers are preparing to shop for a new summer wardrobe.
The Importance of Measuring Results
It’s important to measure the impact of your PR strategy after it has been implemented. Here are some ways to measure the success of a PR strategy:
- How many people attended your event?
- How many media placements did you earn and how many media impressions did the coverage get?
- Did website traffic increase?
- What was the overall tone and effect of your PR activities?
- Was your message clear and effective?
Measuring your PR strategy can also help gauge what type of content and activities were relevant and can offer insights and guidance for future PR strategies.
Building a PR Strategy for Crisis Management
Every brand experiences a crisis at some point — whether it's large or small. If there is potential to jeopardise your business’s reputation and perception, disrupt your bottom line or critically affect workflow, you need strategic public relations to manage and salvage it quickly.
Here are three steps on how to build a PR strategy before, during and after a crisis.
1. Before a Crisis
You should have a diverse response team, train spokespeople responsible for communication and create holding statement templates to save time and stress. Establish a social media protocol and hold your social calendar and any scheduled posts not relevant to the crisis. Monitor your comments and mentions, and respond to posts empathetically and honestly.
2. During a Crisis
Staying human throughout the entire crisis management process is very important. Acknowledge a mistake, stay honest and apologise. Make sure to think before you react - it’s okay to release a holding statement that you can give the media to buy yourself time as you gather all of the facts and assemble your response team and action plan.
Depending on the situation and audience, different methods of communicating are important. Consider different communication channels such as press releases, social posts, TV interviews, etc.
3. After a Crisis
It’s important to conduct a post-crisis review to evaluate:
- How your team managed the situation
- What needs to be improved in your crisis communications plan
- What needs to be done to ensure the problem will never happen again
- How you will recover
This reflective analysis will help you avoid future crises.
Good PR isn’t something you can buy — it takes work. But when done right, it’s one of the most effective ways to build on marketing strategies to drive revenue and establish a positive brand reputation.
What are the key components of your PR strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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