Learning some easy steps to make you a PR PRO

Some businesses cannot afford to hire in a PR firm, but they need media exposure to grow.  There is no reason a company cannot achieve results with in-house effort initially and there are many free resources on the internet that can help with the formulation of a solid PR plan.  

A compelling public relations plans can go a long way toward helping a business spread its message, reach more customers, and generate more sales. Successful plans go much further than merely garnering media coverage. In fact, public relations campaigns are usually much more far-reaching and complex. They require strategic planning, creative thinking, smart budgeting and the ability to navigate unforeseen circumstances. Public relations is a field with a reputation for fun and excitement. But it also requires discipline and a can-do spirit to succeed.  Follow these steps and you will be successful with your public relations planning:

Define the Goals and Objectives 

Too often, business owners say their goal is to “raise awareness” when they really want to achieve much more. As a business owner, you want to do more than merely raise awareness of your business. Your main objective is to increase sales and to grow your business. That objective should be a main focus of your PR plan.

Identify Your Audience

Pinpoint your target audience, or your “publics.” This includes not only the media, which can help you spread the word about your business; it also includes stakeholders, existing customers, potential customers, suppliers and other vendors, community members, civic leaders and employees. Transfer these people into a database that includes their full contact information. You might need to reach out to your publics several times throughout your campaign, not to mention for future outreach efforts.

Strategy & Tactics

Develop the strategies and tactics of your public relations plan, understanding that the two are very different. For example, your strategy might be to promote the grand opening of a new office location. The tactics you might employ could include staging a ribbon-cutting ceremony and inviting media and government officials, hosting an open house for current customers, and launching a community email campaign.

Formulate Key Message

Draft the key messages of your public relations plan. Make sure they are consistent but not necessarily identical among your various publics. For example, you might tell prospective customers that your new office location will let you serve more customers, and more efficiently. You can send this message to the community at large as well, telling them that you will be able to hire local employees, which will improve the local economy.

Set Your Budget

Draft a budget for your public relations plan. Be realistic and set aside some money for unforeseen occurrences.  There is no sense in reinventing the wheel if there was already a budget in place for the past year.  If there were PR activities in action at your company then take a look at what worked well, and the associated costs, to see how they can be rolled into your new budget.

Create Your PR Plan

Develop a detailed task list and timetable so you can implement your public relations tactics with maximum efficiency.  Show the planned PR activities by month for the upcoming year to make it easier for the executive team to review. Additionally, put those activities into a spreadsheet to allow for a quick and accurate view of projected PR campaigns by month, by category, by product, and for the total year. The success of your public relations plan will largely depend on your ability to make deadlines stick.

Review, Rinse and Repeat

Review your PR plan, task list and timetable repeatedly, making adjustments as necessary. Public relations is fluid. You must be willing to modify your plan as conditions warrant. Choreograph your campaigns for future marketing efforts. Take pictures or shoot video of events, as these images can be used on your website and in future marketing materials.  Public Relations is an ongoing effort and requires stamina to maintain.