A PR plan is a vital part of raising your company's profile with consumers.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a PR plan will be determined by its ability to deliver customers to your doorstep. But PR doesn't work the same way as advertising. It can take months (or longer) for an effective PR plan to yield results.
Fortunately you don't have to wait that long to know whether your PR plan is on track. Over the years, small and medium-sized businesses have discovered certain characteristics pave the way for PR success. According to the experts, here's what an effective PR plan looks like:
- Lines up with business goals. The goals and objectives you describe in your PR plan have to be consistent with your business goals. If you have a strategic plan, use it as the basis for the formation your PR plan. At a minimum, the execution of your PR plan should make it easier to accomplish your business goals – not harder.
- Complements other marketing efforts. Effective PR is not a substitute for advertising. But even though they serve two very different functions, they are complementary activities in a small business. When you evaluate your PR plan, consider whether it strategically reinforces advertising and other marketing initiatives in the business.
- Contains realistic objectives. One of the biggest PR mistakes is to include unachievable goals in your PR plan. You might be fascinated by your latest product offering, but unless it's also a New York Times bestseller Oprah could care less about it. Before you set your PR plan in stone, perform a reality check to weed out inappropriately aggressive goals.
- Has a reasonable timeline. Your PR plan won't succeed without a timeline. A timeline strategically coordinates your PR activities to take maximum advantage of other events occurring in your business and in the marketplace. It also provides a gauge that will keep your team on schedule when PR isn't your highest priority.
- Identifies PR team members. A PR plan isn't complete until it adequately identifies who will be responsible for performing each actionable item. Business owners often create PR plans that are never implemented simply because responsibilities for PR tasks are never identified. Names names in the plan and create a system for team members to hold one another accountable for implementation benchmarks.