For many, the start of the new year means the kick-off of new PR plans and updated strategies. These plans are often integrated with a company’s overall marketing, sales and corporate objectives. And, if successful, should provide your business with optimum results in media.
It is our best practice to counsel clients to review and plan for the full year ahead, with the caveat that a reassessment take place at six months or, for more complex plans, quarterly. We find that this is the most effective way to set the direction toward desired angles, pitches and stories that build a brand through communication.
Certainly, a PR campaign or plan requires a coordinated effort of goals, objectives, unified activities and, most importantly, assessment in order to truly determine its success or identify areas for change in the plan. However, there are some very important aspects of PR planning for a new campaign that must be taken into consideration before the first big win of the year comes in:
- Resources: Anyone can write a plan that commits to hundreds of media results, monthly speaking opportunities and daily interviews, but none of this can become reality if you don’t have the money, staff and time to execute it. We work with our clients to determine what results are realistic for the resources dedicated to achieving them.
- Audience: What good is pitching a story about how physician practices should be planning for the transition to the ICD-10 coding system to an editor at a publication primarily read by heart surgeons? Knowing your audience is critical for bringing the PR effort back around to your company’s sales efforts. We help our clients to identify the print, broadcast, blogs and social media channels appropriate to carry messages to their desired audience.
- Message: Once the PR team and executives have agreed on the audience, they develop the stories they want to tell and then begin delivery of the message in controlled environments where they can be tested and refined as needed. Bylined articles, guest blog posts, and web video are controlled message environments that can be monitored for feedback. Speaking opportunities are also ideal for this test stage.
After the resources, audience and messages have been hammered out, the fun starts – filling your pipeline and watching the results flow in. Obviously there are many more important areas of PR planning that must not be overlooked, but these are three that should be identified early and, in the case of audiences and messages, tested often.