As you may have seen from last week’s post, I will be taking my first face-to-face workshop next week for the gorgeous ladies at Female Fusion. Over the course of a morning, we’ll be exploring how to create an effective PR plan – a topic which is particularly popular right now as everyone has had to review and realign their business operations and communications.
For anyone who is not sure what constitutes an effective PR plan, I thought it might be helpful to outline the four main steps to be taken. These will be explored further during our session next weekend, so if you’ve like to know more, please do sign up to join us here.
The most important part of any PR plan is the strategy behind it – this is the key foundation on which everything else should be built:
- You need to be very clear about your objectives, measurement criteria, budget and time frames for your organisation’s communications.
- You also need to have a thorough situation analysis – you cannot plan where you are going to, and know whether you have made progress, if you do not know where you stand to start with. Your analysis should establish not only how familiar people are with your brand, but also how they feel about it – their level of connection and emotional attachment. The perception of the brand and the perceived USP’s are also vital, and you can establish most of this via surveys, peer review, and focus groups.
- Once you have a clear strategy, you can then identify your target audiences and the platforms they use, as well as a target media and influencer list.
- From this clear stakeholder mapping exercise, you can review and refine your key messages for each of these audiences.
- To ensure you remain creative and fresh, make sure you seek external input. Crowd source opinions through social media and focus groups of your target audiences. Research peer and competitor activity, as well as popular recent news coverage in your target media.
- Create a planner that includes key events and occasions, peak and need periods, holidays and awareness/celebration days, in order to time your campaigns and events to have maximum impact
- Research each of your target media outlets to establish their editorial calendar and hot topics for the year ahead, reach out to the appropriate journalists to establish a genuine relationship and identify their needs.
- Create a content calendar which outlines the timing and messaging of each of your communications outlets (the different social media platforms, your website/blog, your newsletter, events, press releases and media pitches). This is generally reviewed/updated each month or quarter, depending on how much content and news you have, with every post/message being drafted in full in advance.
- Develop a press kit for media work. This should include a biography of the spokesperson, a media backgrounder of the company, relevant high res images of the spokesperson, product and premises, as well as the company logo. The biography and backgrounder for media are often different to the ones that might be used on the website, they should be direct and succinct, with only the key, relevant facts.
- Establish an online content hub to store all of your content and make it all accessible in one. This should be an online space that you own, and would be the end destination for all social media activity and for the call to action on your PR. Ideally if you are embarking on a PR strategy and campaigns, you would want to have an online press/news centre on your website, which houses your press kits, press releases, as well as your social media feeds.
- Create a bank of non-time sensitive content which can be repurposed. Start with an online story/media feature, which can be extended into a blog post, and represented visually through an infographic, discussed as a talking head video, broken down and key points shared through a series of graphics and videos.
- Establish your reporting mechanic – timings and template – so that you are tracking progress from the start and can regularly review and realign your strategy/plans.
There are a number of communication tools that can be employed as part of a PR plan, depending on the audience and objectives. You need to establish which of these you will use as part of your plans. These include press reviews/visits, press conferences, roundtables/briefings, interviews, personal profiling pieces, case studies, launch/celebration events, press releases, relationship-building activities, statements/opeds (topical expert commentary), tips/Q&A’s/recipes/advice features, advertorials, speaking opps (workshops, seminars, panel discussions), sponsorship of community events, patronage of charities and organisations, CSR support, blogs and third party guest blog posts, social media posts (graphics and videos) and third party social media takeovers, webinars and podcasts, influencer engagement, endorsement from third party experts (academics, doctors, analysts, lawyers, etc), apps and gaming.
Creating an effective PR plan can take some time, but once you have these strong foundations established, it becomes so much easier to roll out your PR activity, and to do so efficiently and effectively, ensuring maximum return and impact on your business. Please do let me know if you’d like to know more, or for some help establishing your PR plan – alternatively join us at the Female Fusion workshop next week!