PR Planning
When running any type of business, it is essential to establish a public relations plan in order to eventually gain attention and potential sales from your target audience. Here is some advice on where to begin your PR plan.

Start with a SWOT Analysis

In order to create an effective PR plan for your business, it is important to begin with an overall SWOT analysis. Through research of social channels, industry data and website analytics, SWOT analyses can be used to find your company’s current strengths and weaknesses, and potential opportunities and threats.

Determine Your Goal

Next it is necessary to consider the overall goal of the PR plan that is being implemented. The goal should be the overarching long-term needs of the company. This may include raising brand awareness within your target audience.

What Objectives Do You Want to Achieve

Determine your objectives in achieving your company’s overall goals. These will assist you in meeting the previously determined goal. Objectives should explain what needs to be achieved in order to meet the goal. When creating objectives, think S.M.A.R.T. Essentially, the objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-oriented.

Know Your Target Audience

The PR plan will not work if your brand doesn’t have a target audience to which your key messages will be delivered. Consider the following questions when determining your target audience.
a.What are you selling?
b.Who is most likely to use your product?

Next, break your target markets into a primary and secondary target market. Your primary target market will be those that your primarily market to and you want the most sales from, and your secondary target market will be those that are either (1) have a use of the product, (2) are in similar marketing channels as your primary target market, or (3) are some how related to your primary target market.

Research your target audience to determine the best way to reach and appeal to them.

Know Your Brand’s Key Messages

Establish your brand’s key messages. What makes your brand unique? What can you promote about your brand to raise awareness and gain attention from your target audience? Ensure that key messages are in alignment with the overall goals and objectives previously determined.

Create Strategies Utilizing Achievable Tactics

Create specific strategies and tactics that will work towards achieving your plan’s objectives. Strategies are the “how” in terms of meeting your objective, while tactics are the “who’s” and “what’s”. Strategies should explain how the objective will be accomplished and the reasoning behind why you have decided to use this strategy. Tactics are the more specific tasks used to follow through with the selected strategies.

For example, the strategy might be to increase brand visibility on digital platforms outside of branded accounts and websites utilizing influencers and digital PR coverage. The tactic from this would be to send press releases and pitches to digital media sites and bloggers and pitch influencers to use and review your product/service.

Know How to Measure Success

It is important to implement a form of measurement in order to evaluate the success of the tactics and strategies created. Keep the S.M.A.R.T. acronym in mind. You might consider measuring the success through how much media coverage your company receives within a specific time frame, or simply how much revenue your company earns within said time frame.

Agency’s are always a good place to start with PR for a start-up as they already have media contacts, databases and relationships established in order to maximize the ROI on a PR spend.

By: Justin Ashwell, Partner, and Megan Finkbeiner, Public Relations and Marketing Intern