The success of any PR campaign depends on the amount of planning that goes into preparing for it. And the crux of good planning is having a sound strategy in place. A strategy is a detailed plan of action consisting of specific tactics chosen and tailored to support short-term or long-term goals. It includes the process of setting goals, determining actions to achieve those goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. In other words, a PR strategy is the first step in the creation of a PR campaign.
Many companies seem to underestimate the importance of a strong PR strategy and are content with working with the same old plan for ages. However, a PR strategy, like the company’s goals, performance, and everything else, needs to be upgraded on a regular basis.
What makes a good PR strategy?
- It should be goal-specific
Why are you laying out the strategy? What is the purpose? The job of a PR professional is to find out what the business is trying to achieve and turn it into clear, specific goals. The business might be seeking PR help in the launch of a new product or a service, trying to increase its web traffic or generate leads. Perhaps it is trying to enter a new market or is seeking to influence its stakeholders. Take time to understand the objectives and then align your strategy with them.2. 4Ws and 1H
After considering the “why” of it, PR pros should look at the “who, what, where, when and how” of the strategy. Who is the strategy directed at? In other words, who is your audience? If you know who you are speaking to, you will know how best to tailor your message to suit your audience. Next, what do you want to tell them? Your messages should support your PR goals and different messages may need to be created for different audiences and media. The next question you should ask is, where do you want to talk to them? If it is a millennial audience, you would rather stick to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. If your target audience comprises corporates and business people, it is best to publish your message in a newspaper or on a professional platform such as LinkedIn. When you have figured that out, you should focus on when you want to implement your plans. Find out what is the most suitable time for journalists to attend a press conference or what time slots drive the most engagement on Instagram, for instance. Prepare some timelines that should keep you ahead of schedule. And finally, how are you going to do it all? What tactics will you use to accomplish your goals? Will you hold a presser or issuing a press release would be enough? Will you sponsor an event or pitch for a speaking opportunity for the CEO or both? At the end of the day, how you execute your plan will be key to how much exposure your brand gets.
3. It should be research-oriented
A fundamental duty of a PR person is to keep tabs on what is being said about the brand, rival brands, the industry, and basically everything under the sun. A lot of time and research goes into formulating an effective PR strategy. With the right kind of research, you will be able to produce campaigns that connect with your target audiences, and support the company’s goals, giving the desired results in no time.
4.Outcomes should be measurable
Measuring the outcome of your campaign and matching it with your goals is important to know what you have achieved. A number of online tools allow for the effective measurement of performances, thus making it easier for PR professionals to prove their campaign’s contribution to the company’s business and goals. Measuring results has a number of benefits, which include: Tracking the performance of a campaign, repeating strategies or learning from past mistakes depending on the success or failure of the campaign, and allocating budgets accordingly,
- Harmonious relationship
The PR, marketing and advertising departments of a business are all separate, yet connected entities. A lack of coordination between the campaigns of the three units results in unmet goals and even public embarrassment. Make sure your PR strategy and activities support and complement the targets set out by the marketing and advertising departments and vice versa, so that your business can make the most out of your coordinated efforts. The focus should always be on the shared corporate goals of making profits and enhancing the company’s reputation.
- Crisis management
A good PR strategy must take into consideration the possibility of any untoward mishaps befalling the business so that it is able to deal with it in the most efficient and well thought out manner. The aim is to avoid any knee-jerk reactions that may cause further embarrassment to the company at a time of crisis and assure all stakeholders and customers that everything is under control. This is done through clear messages communicated in a professional manner through the right channels.