A well-planned PR strategy is an essential element of successful brand communications. But what makes this  strategy well-planned?

Here are five things your PR plan needs to include:

1. A defined list of goals and objectives

The first thing any good PR plan needs is a set of defined goals and objectives. How will you know if your plan was a success without putting out goalposts?

Knowing the results that you want to achieve will guide any further actions that form part of your plan. The people you want to reach, the message you want to get across and which platforms you’ll be using will all be defined by your objectives.

Some of the most common objectives in PR are:
  • Brand awareness
  • Increase reach
  • Website traffic
  • Increased engagement
  • Lead generation

2. A set target audience

Armed with the knowledge of what it is that you want your PR strategy to achieve, you need to identify the target audience. PR is all about building relationships with the right people to achieve your objectives.

Remember that your target audience doesn’t always just consist of the general public and new customers. They also might come from a combination of the following:
  • Current and potential customers
  • Investors and analysts
  • Suppliers and vendors
  • Employees and their connections
  • Trade, consumer and news media
WIth your audience in mind, consider how you can achieve your objectives. Who do you need to engage with and influence in order to reach your goals?

3. An established plan of action

Now that you have identified what you want to achieve, and you know who you need to target to make that happen, it’s time to work on the really important stuff: how you’re going to do it.

Break down your goals into the smallest possible objectives and then identify what steps need to be taken to achieve those goals. Often, long-term goals can be difficult to achieve without the help of small, manageable steps that will guide you on the right path.

How exactly you plan to meet each objective can help you figure out  what kind of content you need to create to support your objective.

If you plan to achieve your goal through social media, you’ll need short, punchy content and well-crafted images. However, if you plan on using press releases to support your cause, you will need to focus more on the writing and searching for interesting angles.

4. Create key messages

You’re finally ready to work out those all-important key messages. You know, those snappy little phrases that communicate the perfect message about your brand?

Ideally, your key messages should inform people about your brand but also change any negative perceptions and encourage people to take action. And, on top of doing all that, they also need to be to the point and cut through all the other messages out there that are aimed at consumers.

Data about your target audience, your objectives and the platforms you plan on using will guide you when developing your messages. This information can help you ascertain which words to use, what tone to take and how in-depth to go with your messages. But, remember that the most important thing is to keep the brand’s story at the heart of your PR strategy.

5. Thoroughly measured results

Once all is said and done (literally) it’s time to look back at your work and see if it all went according to plan.

You’ll need to have some key performance indicators and success metrics defined from the start to really measure your progress and achievements. The key performance indicators you use will depend on the objectives defined before your campaign.

Media monitoring and brand tracking are useful tools that can make monitoring your PR strategies a breeze!

As brand tracking company Newsclip said in a previous media update article: “Media monitoring provides you with information that you can use to improve every aspect of this strategy, including your brand messaging, your reach and multi-channel coverage.”

What other elements go into creating a great PR strategy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Public relations is a tricky industry, but it will be a whole lot simpler to be successful if you follow The 10 commandments of PR.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy