There are tons of articles explaining how to craft a PR plan, and I’m willing to bet that most of them are helpful. But what if you just want an easy way to go about creating your PR plan? Here it is — in three easy boxes. It’s not the most sophisticated approach in the world — but it will get you started. Just follow the image of the three boxes above. With one special twist on the advice (you’ll read it at the end).
The First Box in the PR Plan: Messaging.
What are you going to say? There’s a lot you can say, but the secret is not to say as much as you can, but just a limited number of key messages that will be intuitive to grasp and easy to remember. If you have more than 5 key messages, edit one or more out. Try to get down to three key messages — maybe even one. When repeated over and over again, these messages will eventually result in your organization being positioned the way you want people to think of you in a knee-jerk way whenever they think of you. For example, if you are a software firm and you want to be positioned as the best among your competitors for the quality and sophistication of your software, one of your key messages may refer to how many PhDs are on your staff — the better able to make the best software. Another key message may refer to awards you have received for the quality of your software. Repeat those messages in your PR plan and soon you will be positioned the way you want. Developing the right key messages is critical — consider using research (such as polls and focus groups) to up the odds that the messages are going to work for you.
The Second Box in the PR Plan: Distribution.
How are you going to get your message to your targeted audiences? The options have exploded with the Communications Revolution. You can use traditional news media, advertising, visibility on blogs, special events … the list goes on. You may elect to use only your own media (your web site and blogs, etc.), which will allow you to control your message. Some distribution channels will be very efficient in reaching your targets; others may be a waste of time or money; others may get the messages to your targets but be the wrong environment (e.g., a very conservative audience for a very liberal message). One thing: make the choice of distribution channel a deliberate decision. And, don’t forget: a great dinner meeting with your targets can do the trick. Think of ways to get messages to your audience without confining yourself to “PR” approaches.
The Third Box in the PR Plan: Targets.
You are communicating to achieve a goal: to get certain people or organizations to do or think something. You’re not going to attain that goal if the message doesn’t get to the right people. So, make certain you always keep your eyes on the prize: influencing a defined audience.
The special twist in the process: Start at the end.
Because you’re doing this to achieve the goal of influencing your targets, start the process by defining them. That will make the choice of your messages much easier (what resonates with these people?). It will also make the selection of distribution channels easier (what will bring my messages to these targets?). So, the process goes: identify the targets, define the messages, pick the distribution channels.
Done! Use this process to start developing your PR plan, and then refine as you go. Remember: communicating is a dynamic process, so make certain you treat your PR plan accordingly.
New to PR? I’d be glad to chat casually about the ideas expressed here. Just contact me if interested; professional courtesy extended.
About Doug Poretz: After a four+ decade long career crafting public relations and communications strategies at the C-suite level, I now work with a limited number of clients, helping them rethink and improve their approach to how they communicate. For more about me, click here. For how I work with clients, click here. And for my numerous previous blog posts, click here. You can sign up for alerts about forthcoming posts by completing an easy form at my blog.