Performing public relations services for a new company or a company that has never before seen the spotlight can be an exciting, not to mention somewhat daunting, enterprise. Will the company become a media darling? Will a concerted PR effort result in floods of public good will? Before you start counting your chickens, you need to develop a PR strategy. Here are the five most important points for doing just that:
1.) Know Your Key Message – If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there. That old saying is just as true for PR as it is for any journey. What aspects of your company will capture the public’s attention? This could be a great success story, an innovative product, or another aspect of your organization that will capture the attention (and hopefully, the imagination) of the media and the public.
2.) Determine Your Target Audience – Chuck E. Cheese targets quite a different demographic than a gourmet cheese shop. Determine who buys your products and services. Where do they shop? What magazines do they read? Which news outlet do they watch? What are their priorities? Their ages? Where do they live? This knowledge is crucial before proceeding to the next step.
3.) Research Media Outlets – Once you know your target customer, you can research local, regional, national, or even international media outlets that cater to that targeted audience. Chuck E. Cheese might place a feature story about birthday parties in a parenting magazine, while the gourmet cheese shop might place an article about the hottest new cheeses in a magazine for the sophisticated urbanite. But if those feature stories swapped places (i.e. the PR pro didn’t do her job correctly!), then chances are neither story would get traction.
4.) Develop Your Plan of Attack – So you’ve determined your key message, identified your target audience, and found several media outlets you would like to pursue. Now is the time to plan your attack. Is your downtown boutique getting ready to host a charity drive? Set a goal to get positive write ups in three local publications. Does your industry trade magazine publish a spectacular Christmas issue? Aim to be featured. With concrete goals and a thorough plan of attack, your PR plan is now a strategy and not just the practice of emailing the odd press release to a few reporters from time to time.
5.) Measure Results – Even the best PR strategy will needs to be constantly tweaked. Maybe a news outlet you were counting on is less than receptive to your overtures or you are getting press from a source you never would have expected would be interested in your company. Measure results. Put more effort into what’s working. Ditch practices that get you nowhere.
When you take the time to plan a concentrated PR strategy, you will very likely be rewarded with positive PR results!