PR planning, as part of the communications strategy, helps to shape and maintain the brand image by influencing opinion and behaviour, via the media.
Whilst advertising carries a fee, public relations is unpaid publicity, which is achieved by working with the news and trade press to encourage positive stories. Traditionally, this happens by crafting press releases that contain a compelling news story at the same time as enhancing the corporate image in the public’s eye.
PR is the art of delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, using a blend of experienced-based instinct or research and data that supports the business and communications objectives.
Assuming a clearly defined communications strategy is in place, in which the target audience and their needs, motivations, and challenges have been identified, it is important to consider the PR goals. What exactly do you want to say? Is the audience actually interested? What are you hoping to achieve?
The approach will always vary, depending on the corporate goals and the wider communications strategy. Is the business launching, growing, diversifying or perhaps seeking investment?
To ensure the PR activity is aligned with the business vision, it is also important to have SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) objectives in place. This will help to keep your resources focused.
To maximise your column inches, you’ll need to get creative and plan the tactics. Distributing press-worthy releases that fulfil the journalists’ requirement for news will form the basis of much of your efforts. As will building good relationships with relevant journalists. But there are other ways to gain coverage - by experiential marketing or social media, for example.
You’ll also want to formally respond to industry insights by sharing your own experiences and opinions. This should help to position the brand or representative as positive, ethical or concerned about the target market and their audience. PR can be a useful tool for building relationships with potential investors too.
Once the communications strategy has been defined, and the PR Plan has an agreed direction, it’s important to consider how the process will be managed. What resources are available within the business - both in terms of budget and manpower? Do you have the expertise internally? If not, how will you embark on finding the best agency to represent your PR needs?
Managing a reputation takes time, money and expertise, there are few businesses that underestimate the power of good PR. Given its importance, it’s very often the first port of call when marketing begins. However, before you embark on a PR plan, it’s imperative to have a clear and concise strategy in place that works alongside the wider communications strategy. Success will depend on the strength of strategic foundations in place before you roll out the PR Plan.
We work with businesses to understand their corporate goals, their customers in detail and the internal resources currently available or needed for long-term success. We empower businesses to make the most of their budget, their internal expertise and the data, insights or thought-leadership that will undoubtedly already exist within the business. We provide an ‘action plan’ to get started straight away. And if the need for external support via a PR agency is also needed, we can point them in the right direction for that too.
Tidal provided us with a clearly defined strategy for our new service that has guided the market launch and continues to be used across the business. They helped us define our tone of voice and key messaging for different stages of the buyer journey, which we are now using to help shape our marketing communications going forward.
Laura Warren, Digital Marketing Manager, MyLondonHome