PR that delivers on your business objectives

A Guide to Good PR PlanningSuccess & Failure

Lots of businesses recognise the need for PR, in fact, despite tough times PR spending has increased in 2011.

However, some companies launch their PR efforts with vague goals. Sometimes it is in response to a competitor getting a lot of good coverage or it may be a general notion that ‘we need to get our company’s name out there’.

What happens next will determine whether your PR campaign will actually deliver what it needs to or fail at the first hurdle.

For PR to be a success, you need a good PR plan. And a good PR plan comes out of asking yourself some tough questions.

Here is a list of some of the main questions we ask before we start to develop a PR plan for a client. Their aim of this is to give you the information you need to start to create a strong plan that will support your overall business objectives.

PR Planning Guide

Ask yourself where you are now.

  • PR success/failures thus far – what was liked/disliked? How is your organisation perceived publically?
  • Competition – what you like and dislike about them and their PR, how are they perceived publically? What are they doing that could impact on your business?
  • Threats – changes in the political, technical and economic landscape

Ask yourself where you want to be.

  • Sales objectives this year
  • The vision in 3-5 years
  • Which objectives can PR support – the short or long term objectives, or both?

Ask yourself which audiences you want to influence.

  • Who has bought the message so far and who still needs to be convinced?
  • Are there any influencer organisations that can help you reach your audiences?
  • What market breakdown do you need to have to target these audiences successfully eg by organisation type, industry, job title? Or prospects vs existing business.

Then:

  • Define your messages to reach these audiences. What issues do they respond to/what makes them tick (focus on solutions to problems, tapping into emotions etc, rather than product messages). It is also worth discussing calendar events relevant to your industry as these may be useful to hook certain messages to.
  • Define priorities – it is likely you will not be able to do everything at once so define your top one, two or three PR priorities and stick to those as a starting point.
  • Define timelines and budgets – when you will target each audience, what resources do you have at your disposal?
  • Define your measures – what will be deemed a success, how will you measure and report on this to determine the value of the campaign? These measures can be defined in many different ways, such as changed perceptions in focus groups or surveys, the amount of the right type of coverage in the press, an increase in sales, an increase in followers on Twitter, increased web site traffic etc – whatever helps you measure the original objectives.
  • Write the plan and get sign off from the board.
  • Start getting coverage!


Lots of businesses recognise the need for PR, in fact, despite tough times PR spending has increased in 2011.

However, some companies launch their PR efforts with vague goals. Sometimes it is in response to a competitor getting a lot of good coverage or it may be a general notion that ‘we need to get our company’s name out there’.

What happens next will determine whether your PR campaign will actually deliver what it needs to or fail at the first hurdle.

For PR to be a success, you need a good PR plan. And a good PR plan comes out of asking yourself some tough questions.

Here is a list of some of the main questions we ask before we start to develop a PR plan for a client. Their aim of this is to give you the information you need to start to create a strong plan that will support your overall business objectives.

PR Planning Guide

· Ask yourself where you are now.

o PR success/failures thus far – what was liked/disliked? How is your organisation perceived publically?

o Competition – what you like and dislike about them and their PR, how are they perceived publically? What are they doing that could impact on your business?

o Threats – changes in the political, technical and economic landscape

· Ask yourself where you want to be.

o Sales objectives this year

o The vision in 3-5 years

o Which objectives can PR support – the short or long term objectives, or both?

· Ask yourself which audiences you want to influence.

o Who has bought the message so far and who still needs to be convinced?

o Are there any influencer organisations that can help you reach your audiences?

· What market breakdown do you need to have to target these audiences successfully eg by organisation type, industry, job title? Or prospects vs existing business.

· Define your messages to reach these audiences.

o issues they respond to/what makes them tick (focus on solutions to problems, tapping into emotions etc, rather than product messages). It is also worth discussing calendar events relevant to your industry as these may be useful to hook certain messages to.

· Define priorities – it is likely you will not be able to do everything at once so define your top one, two or three PR priorities and stick to those as a starting point.

· Define timelines and budgets – when you will target each audience, what resources do you have at your disposal?

· Define your measures – what will be deemed a success, how will you measure and report on this to determine the value of the campaign? These measures can be defined in many different ways, such as changed perceptions in focus groups or surveys, the amount of the right type of coverage in the press, an increase in sales, an increase in followers on Twitter, increased web site traffic etc – whatever helps you measure the original objectives.

· Write the plan and get sign off from the board.

· Start getting coverage!

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  • About the Author

    It’s my job to look strategically at our clients’ goals for their brand and then apply my knowledge of PR, the media and online communities to make sure that we deliver. The part of my job that I enjoy most is being able to provide a fresh perspective for our clients – and uncovering the best way to raise the profile of their brand. I also love keeping up to date with the ever changing nature of PR.

    Before setting up the business, I worked both in-house and agency-side doing PR in the education and telecoms sectors. I split my time between France and the UK and so I can often be found at airports smuggling cheddar cheese into the land of camembert.

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