How to Create a Public Relations Plan

Image courtesy off Sebastiaan ter Burg's photostream

Image courtesy off Sebastiaan ter Burg’s photostream

Between my junior and senior years of college, I had the opportunity to intern at an art museum. While actual museums may be quiet and seem subdued, I can assure you that the marketing and advertising efforts behind them are not. The Assistant Director of Communications while I was there (full disclosure: he was my cousin) had a plan for every gallery, every festival and every speaker that was featured at the museum. And by plan, I mean he had a full Public Relations plan in place to promote these attractions.

Hopefully, you too use PR plans for your company’s major launches or events. If not, here is a brief overview of what to identify to get started and to roll out a public relations plan that attracts prospects and customers to your business:

Introduction. Lay out on paper what this PR plan is all about and why it is important. For example, if you’re having an event that features a guest speaker, give a little background on the speaker and what they will be discussing. If you are having an event for the community, put down where the event is held, who is expected to attend and what purpose it serves in the community.

Objectives and Goals. Why are you promoting this? In the end, what do you want to achieve?

Audience. Before you can start developing the messaging, strategies and tactics you will use to promote your business, you need to know who you are targeting. Who do you want your messages to reach?

Messages. Now that you know your objectives and audience, you can start to create the messages being sent. For now, these can just be key points you want to convey. Overtime, you can better tailor your messages and add the elements of creativity needed to capture your audience’s attention.

Budget. I personally think that the budget needs to be decided upon before the strategies and tactics are identified. If you decide one of your tactics is going to be a billboard featuring your company, but the cost of one eats your entire budget, then you’ll have big problems. See how much money you have available, and then move forward with your planning.

Strategies. Think of strategies as the ‘what.’ It’s the big picture of determining how you want to achieve your objectives.

Tactics. With tactics, you are getting down to the nitty gritty. These are the ‘who’ and ‘how,’ and are the methods you will use to actually put your strategies and objectives in motion. If strategies are the big picture, then think of tactics as being the bullet points underneath them.

Media to Target. The best way to get the word out is through the media. Identify the outlets you want to reach out to, and then identify the key contacts there that cover business news, lifestyle news, etc.

Evaluation.  Before you even implement your plan, have steps in place to evaluate how it is working. You need to determine a way to measure success and what strategies and tactics worked so they can be employed in the future – or not.

Implementation. A plan does no good if it just sits on paper. Move forward with everything you have identified, and put it into action!

While this list gives you an idea of what a PR plan should look like, other PR professionals may have different methods or ways of structuring it. No matter what the plan looks like in the end, it’s most important to know WHY you are sending a message out, WHAT message you are sending out, WHO will be receiving the message and HOW you will be conveying it.

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