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Creating an effective PR strategy requires a strong foundation and lots of pre-planning. And, it is imperative that anyone involved with the implementation of your communications understands why they are doing it and what you want to achieve.
PR strategies that work start with an inclusive approach; bring together your PR, marketing, digital, event and operation teams for a brainstorm to discuss the potential strategies and make sure everyone is on the same page moving forward.
So what are the steps of an effective PR strategy?
Start with understanding what you want to achieve with your PR. Write down four or five clear communication objectives for your business. Sense check these with your team.
Are you trying to raise awareness, launch a new brand, reposition your brand, increase your customer base, better engage your existing customers or increase the value or profit of your business?
2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Once you know what you want to achieve – quantify it. Put tangible numbers on what you want to achieve. Remember these are targets so make sure you know where you are starting from so you can measure your future success. Be realistic – set achievable targets and make sure everyone in the organisation knows what you are trying to achieve.
Your message is one of the most important parts of your PR. What do you want your stakeholders to know about you? What is your vision or mission? Do you have an elevator pitch?
Creating your key messages (brand identity) for your organisation or campaign and understanding what you want to be known for is vital – in a short space of time you need to clearly define to your audience why you are different and they should use you.
A useful tool to create your message is Simon Sinek’s: Golden Circle which asks the following questions:
- Why are you in business?
- How do you do things?
- What do you do?
Essentially you must find a way to communicate your message which provides a unique value proposition to your audience.
Once you have decided what your overarching messages are you need to look at the audiences that you will target. Some call this stakeholder analysis.
Stakeholders generally include internal audiences, customers, members, competitors, sponsors, board members, financial investors and partners.
The first step in audience analysis is to write a list of all your stakeholders – anyone who engages or is influenced by your business or who influences your business.
Once you have identified the audience, rank their importance – who will be the most important people when trying to achieve your objectives?
Once you have identified your important stakeholders, consider the following questions:
- Who are they? What are their demographics / company size or position in the market?
- What do they want from you? What’s in it for them? What do they get – the benefits of using your organisation / products or services?
- What do they read? What channels do they use e.g. digital or print?
- What else do they like to do?
5. Plan & Implementation
Understanding your message and your audience will allow you to decide how you are going to target; what, where, when and who. It allows you to create a plan that will connect.
Have a written plan and timeline for your implementation. This means deciding on which resources you will use, how much time and budget you have to use. Then, choosing the channels that you will push your PR campaign or message.
Your chosen tools or channels could include your website, social media, media relations, email marketing, direct mail, events (hosting or attending) or telephone marketing.
The final part of your PR strategy is to understand how you are going to measure your success. This will directly link back to your objectives and KPIs – this is where you will know if you have been successful or not.
It is also important to look at how often you measure – weekly, monthly, quarterly. Once you measure you will want refine your PR strategy depending on what you have learnt.
Some tools for measurement are:
- Website – traffic (new and repeat), page visits, behaviour and referrals
- Email marketing – open rates, click through rates, individual clicked links and engagement
- Media relations – reach, number of clippings, mentions of your brand or key words, ranking important media – change in sentiment on key words
- Events – delegate numbers, exhibitors and sponsorship numbers
- Social media – growth, engagement, reach, referrals
- Sales leads – number of leads
So now you know how to create a PR strategy; go ahead and reach those goals!
What to learn more? Zadro conduct strategic planning sessions with businesses to help them create their 12 month communication road maps. Find out more about COMM*BAT or contact Debbie Bradley for a consultation.