Failed to plan? Plan to fail…

So the saying goes. And it’s particularly true in PR.

When you are running a growing business and every employee is busy with their day jobs it can be hard to see how time can be found for any PR, let alone PR planning.

Do you really need a PR plan? Why not simply try and do a bit here or there where you see an opportunity?

Whilst this is a tempting (and worryingly common) strategy by hard pressed business owners, without a plan can you be absolutely sure you’re doing the right things and they are having a positive impact on your business?

Planned PR is the most effective PR. Public Relations, executed well, can be the most effective and value-for-money form of promotion. A plan will help you pinpoint how much PR activity you can achieve within your resources and budget and give you a benchmark to measure progress.

Wordsmith Communication’s Top 10 Tips for developing a practical PR strategy will help you to communicate effectively with your current important audiences, boosting customer relationships and also building new ones to support business growth.

  1. Map out a clear picture of what your business needs to achieve in the short and medium term future as this will set a clear agenda for your PR plan. Look at your business performance over the past couple of years and look honestly at your risks and opportunities.
  2. Create PR objectives that will help you deliver these business objectives and priorities. Your objectives need to be SMART ones -Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. So there should be numbers, dates and a clearly defined outcome in your objective.
  3. Be clear about who your audiences are. List out the groups of people who are important to your business now, and who will become important in the future. There might be different groups within each group who will need to hear different things about you to be interested.
  4. Take a little time to try and see your business through the eyes of your audience. If you have the resources, try and carry out some research with your audiences to help you define and refine your messages, help you understand what will appeal to them, what you could improve and how best to communicate with them.
  5. Find your voice. Look at the tone of voice that you communicate in and examples of previous marketing and communication. Is it consistent with the image you would ideally like to portray?
  6. Develop three key messages about your business. There might be many more but three is the optimum number for people to remember and what you are aiming for here is to use these messages regularly so that they become synonymous with your business. Select the three most important messages and stick to them consistently.
  7. Choose the most effective PR activities that will help you reach your audiences and achieve your objectives. Typical activities include press releases and stories, social media, newsletters (paper or email), events, sponsorship, using your website proactively, blogging, speaking engagements, community activities and participation, etc.
  8. Set a budget. So plan your PR realistically, taking into consideration the time and resources you can put towards it. Not all PR activities are expensive; in fact, PR can be considerably cheaper and more effective than marketing. It is also better to do a few things very well than try to take on too much.
  9. Keep track. Something many companies fail to do properly is to monitor the effectiveness of their PR activity. To ensure you know what is happening and when and who in your business is responsible for delivering it, an Action Grid can help monitor your progress.
  10. Have you been successful? How do you know? If you can’t measure the effectiveness of what you are doing, you shouldn’t be doing it! There are a number of qualitative and quantitative ways to measure PR activity and it is critical to build your expectations in to the plan so that you have a benchmark to work towards. Measurement can also help you shift priorities or additional resources into your most successful activities and cease any that are not helping you towards your objective.

If you would like support in planning PR activity for your business why not meet us for an initial chat over coffee and let’s see how Wordsmith can help you grow. Call us on 0121 318 5625.