7 steps to better PR planning

This article originally appeared on PR Daily in June of 2017.

Whether it’s a new client, the start of a new quarter or a six-month
refresher, creating concrete plans are the first step toward PR success.

Here are seven essentials of successful PR planning:

1. Expand on what worked, remove what didn’t. When
creating PR plans for an existing client, it’s important to discuss
ineffective campaign elements. Recognizing flops helps you pivot away from
what’s not working and toward elements that stand a better chance of
driving traffic, increasing awareness and boosting sales.

2. Establish the goals. All sides should clearly
understand what PR objectives you’re working toward and why specific
tactics are included in your strategy. If a goal is to increase traffic to
the client’s website, include ideas for securing coverage in and backlinks
from respected publications. Outlining specific, tangible goals helps both
sides understand the “why” behind the strategy and gives a clear picture of
the desired destination.

3. Outline all the details. Discuss the minutiae to gain
approval during the planning process. This cuts down on confusion down the
road and prevents the delaying of initiatives. The last thing you want to
do is surprise clients with tactics they oppose. If you suggest a data
program, include the topics the survey will focus on, the suggested
questions, a cost estimate and the pitches and publications in the outreach
process once data collection is over.

4. Push creativity. Don’t shy away from imaginative ways
to reach PR planning goals. Your campaign might call for experiential
events, new ways to reach influencers or a unique advertising strategy to
drive downloads.

[RELATED: Write clear, bold prose that captivate audiences and promotes business goals]

5. Make it integrated. PR plans should go beyond
traditional media—even if you’re only seeking to secure coverage. Our job
is to show how our strategy dovetails with the larger marketing mix. PR
plans should illustrate an idea executed across earned, paid, owned and
social media to bring an integrated message to life.

6. Create a realistic timeline. Assign months and weeks
for when you plan to start each initiative—including when proactive pitches
will go to media outlets. Your timeline should consider internal events,
such as product launches or other marketing campaigns, and external events.
(The week of SXSW is not the best time to release news if your media
contacts will be preoccupied.) When the timeline is finalized, your team
can use it to organize weekly tasks and update clients.

7. Include aggressive measurement. How can you gauge
success? Consider measuring your impact on traffic, content downloads,
engagement on social channels, progress with influencers and lead

In public relations, there’s a lot we can’t anticipate or predict. However,
having a thorough planning process—including the creation of a
comprehensive PR plan—is an important step toward delivering on the
client’s expectations.

A version of this article first appeared on the

Shift Communications blog

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