It's no secret why some companies have an aptitude for generating tons of good press while others struggle to be seen by the local media and other PR outlets.
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If you want to get noticed these days, you need a first-rate PR plan.
A PR plan is a functional road map that describes your business' media strategy for the next six months. Periodic evaluations are a necessity, but your PR plan will chart a coordinated and intentional approach to public relations that supports your company's other marketing initiatives.
When you create a PR strategy, you'll tailor it to the unique demands and challenges of your business. But no matter what else you include in your plan, make sure it contains the following essential ingredients:
- PR Objectives. Failure is a certainty if you don't have a clear idea what you want your PR strategy to accomplish. The very first thing your PR plan should do is to describe your objectives and the messages you want to communicate about your company and your products.
- Target Markets. In a PR campaign, your markets are just as important as your message. If you fail to properly identify the people you are trying to reach, you run the risk of creating a PR plan that uses the wrong media outlets for achieving your objectives.
- Media Tactics. Your PR plan should also discuss media tools and tactics – and you have plenty to choose from. Press releases, bylined articles, case studies, speaking opportunities, and even blogs are fair game in a PR plan.
- Media Schedule. In some ways, a media schedule or timeline is the heart of your PR strategy. Instead of randomly pursuing PR opportunities, your timeline strategizes your PR efforts to coincide with product releases, marketing initiatives, or other important events in your business.
- PR Team. Most small businesses can't afford a separate PR or marketing department. But you still need to identify a PR team from existing staff resources and discuss each person's role in implementing the PR plan. While role identification is a good idea for every actionable item in your plan, it's especially critical when you plan how your company will handle PR in a crisis.
- PR Plan Evaluation. A PR plan is a fluid document – it has to flex and adapt itself to the changing circumstances of both your company and the marketplace. The best PR plans identify evaluation mechanisms that assess and refocus your PR efforts at regular intervals.