Public relation plans are far reaching and more tangible, and will focus on either;
- company-wide impact (improving the identity or understood reputation)
- specific product line, product or service (for broader awareness)
- building your own reputation ie your personal public profile as a leader, executive or professional for example.
For most businesses, the New Year is a good time for goal setting and strategic planning, even if it’s a simple “I want to achieve x,y and z this year”. Wn it comes to PR, or rather Public Relations, this is also a good time to consider how your business can achieve results in the media too. So, let’s consider how you would let others know about “x,y and z”.
Note: some businesses work by financial year… others start their business planning in October… or March.
Let’s go with the flow. Consider;
First, what are your business objectives for 2015 (the x,y and z)? Once you know this, it’s much easier to strategise and use concepts to develop a plan, starting with a bunch of key media messages. What are key messages? Well, they are the main concepts you want others to know about your company (product, you, etc). In marketing we call them tag lines and in media they might be called the headliner statement. In PR you will want to look at the underlying or foundation messages that go across everything.
Note: Charlie consults through Baker Marketing
Here’s 7 Clues to Creating the Perfect Key Messages
- Your key messages should be unique and specific to your business in order to differentiate your business from your competitors.
- Your first key message may be formed from your business vision statement for example. It could also form the basis of your elevator pitch.
- Example – “Charlie is an experienced voice of reason in the crowd.”
- Consider – experienced (I’ve been around for a while), voice (I have an opinion), reason (stable, controlled, measured), crowd (there’s lots out there).
- If your business communicates with a number of different target audiences, consider creating specific key messages for each target audience.
- Consider a key message for each product or division of your business or work.
- Example – “Unearthing Wine, Social Since 2007”
- If you are on a 5 year business plan, make sure your key messages are evolving to match your growth. It may be as simple as a single word change but it could take you a step closer to your business plan’s overall vision.
- Example – “Charlie is a caring voice of reason in the crowd.”
- Your key messages need to be concise positive and real.
- They must not include jargon.
Your key messages will form the backbone of your PR strategy for the year. True, you can look at other aspects over time… but it’s a very good place to start – and we all need that ie some place to start.
Once you’ve got the key messages drafted, you should then consider your key assets (stock image library, digital tools, printed publications, resources, staff/own qualities etc), who you have media relations with (and whether they have been a positive or negative experience), what publications you currently have and if they need revamping in line with new key messages, what events are listed for 2015 in your industry, what sponsorships or community/industry events intrigue you and if there are any worthy trade shows coming up.
Then, to develop the start of your 2015 PR Strategy, you should also ponder:
- Increasing awareness (What would you do? Which elements would you select to promote?)
- Positioning your business as a positive, vital force in the community (What does that look like? How could that be done?)
- Establishing a viable working partnership with business and industry [or other group(s)] (Where would you turn?)
- Increasing positive recognition, enthusiasm and support for you as a leader in delivery of quality [services/products] (Who can help? When is the best time?).
Implementation can include activities like product launches, writing and pitching case studies and scenarios, media angles and stories, sponsorships and developing a calendar that lists stakeholder or client engagements, events and public speaking opportunities, for example. In practice there is so much that can be done. It all just takes planning, budget and dedication of time.
Charlie’s here to guide, care and help craft a good PR strategy with you. She’s also capable of getting her hands dirty.
Planning your 2015 PR Strategy now (if you haven’t yet) will not only help generate new ideas and opportunities for you and your business to shine, it will give you peace of mind and help your overall marketing/advertising push. Meaning, when you advertise, people will believe what you are saying. Your efforts in PR in no way guarantee you a great reputation if you don’t have one to start with. Practice what you preach and keep your promises.
While PR plans are always subject to change, planning ahead helps you maintain a focus.
And, …. here’s an added bonus or extra piece of information for Adelaidians…
The PR calendar activities typically works well between February and November. Why? Consider:
- January is return to work and preparation time – single messages such as “welcome to the new year” are common.
- December is signing off the year and people’s attention is taken over by christmas and end of year functions.
- These two months also suffer from staff annual leave being at their highest.
- For Adelaide, February/March is particularly challenging to grab attention due to fringe, festivals, sport and art events
- Adelaide is over run by weddings in October. Why? Everyone loves a romantic.
- March tends to be when Government Departments are considering budgets for the next FY.
- The end of June is taken by end of financial year.
- Therefore timings are best focused early Feb, April/May and July/August/September/November.