The new year is a great time to build your business’ image through public relations. Even if your business is well-established, there is no time like now for a fresh start. Creating a plan for your public relations strategies will give you that fresh start and keep you on track for the next year and beyond.
Here are 10 steps to follow to create a successful public relations plan:
1. Determine your public relations goals. These goals can be as few or as many as you need. Just be sure to be consistent with your business’ overall goals and mission. Examples of these goals include improving your brand’s image or increasing attendance at events held by your business.
2. Know your target audience. Determine which groups you need to communicate with. Who needs to be involved with your business? Whose support do you need? Who will be affected by issues related to your business? Who has something to gain or lose from their relationship with you?
3. Give your audience objectives. Think in terms of the end result you desire, not the process. When communicating with your audience, word objectives in terms of specific results you desire, and what you think is possible. Each objective should cite an audience, outcome, attainment level (%) and time frame. Consider how should your organization, product, issue, or cause be perceived by your audience.
4. Strategies for every objective. In planning, consider how will you approach the challenge of working toward your goals. Strategies here include methods of communication, messages conveyed and other activities related to reaching your goal. These strategies can serve many purposes as you will probably have several strategies for an objective and some strategies may serve several objectives.
5. Tactics for every strategy. Consider how you will use your resources to carry out your strategies and work toward objectives. You will likely have several tactics per strategy.
6. Plan activities. As part of your plan, include specific activities under your tactics that are required to carry out strategies. Activities in this part of the plan include communication methods that you will use.
7. Inform yourself through evaluation. Ask yourself if you are reaching your objectives through careful measurement and observation. Consider public opinions and feedback, since these will give you a different perspective on the effectiveness of your strategies.
8. Materials matter. Determine and obtain what you need to implement tactics outlined in your plan.
9. Create a budget. Be sure that your public relations plan doesn’t break the bank by creating a budget. Be sure to include out-of-pocket costs, staff time, transportation, images, materials, etc.
10. Stay on task with a timetable and task list. Creating a timetable and task list will help you to keep track of who does what and when. You can choose to plan backwards from your project’s deadline or forward from the start date.
With these steps in mind, you can create a public relations plan to help you best meet your goals. As your business grows, you can adapt your plan to your needs.