Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting Back to Basics When Writing PR Plans

Posted by Katie Noonan

A very good post from Jim Ylisela of Ragan Communication’s blog “Face to Face,” has reminded PR practitioners to get back to the basics and ask these four simple questions when creating their PR plans.

1. What are you trying to do?
2. Who are you trying to reach?
3. What is the best medium to deliver your message?
4. What is the point of your message?

A public relations plan is a strategy for delivering your message to the right people, through the right mediums, in a way that will resonate. But Ylisela argues, and I agree, that today’s messages are too convoluted and overly complicated.

What do you want to accomplish through your PR plan? Ylisela says that you should be able to sum up your communications goal in one or two sentences. In other words, keep it simple and know what you’re trying to accomplish. This doesn’t have to include some lofty or overly complicated language. It can be as simple as: “Use social media more effectively to reach target audiences and increase their knowledge of our product.”

Knowing your target audience(s) is crucial. It can include both internal (within your organization) and external audiences (consumers, shareholders, etc). Once you determine your various audiences, it is important to tailor your message to individual groups. You should craft messages based on who needs or wants to know what, keeping in mind that everyone doesn’t need or want to know everything.

What is the best vehicle for delivering your message? It seems simple enough, but I suspect that some companies may be missing the mark. For example, the 18-24 set most commonly gets their news through referrals from their network i.e. someone posts a link on Facebook or tweets on Twitter and their friends pick up on it. So, if you’re targeting 18-24 year-olds, it may be a better use of your time and energy to target social media outlets rather than print publications, to which many people in that age group do not subscribe.

Why does anyone care? If you can’t determine why anyone will be interested in your news you can bet that it probably won’t reach your target audience. In fact, it will probably end up in the newsroom trashcan. Your reputation is everything. Don’t just release stories for the sake of doing so. Determine if it’s really newsworthy. If not, there are plenty of other ways to get your name out there in a positive manner, either through creating social media profiles, blogging, sponsoring events or networking.

These basic questions are the foundation for every public relations plan we write at Furia Rubel. According to Confucius, “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Substitute "PR" for “life” and that’s ThePRLawyer’s philosophy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With respect, this is a good start, but I believe this approach is missing two critical factors: What are our success measures and in what timeframe will we achieve them?

So I believe you'd need to add something like: Use social media to drive a 7% increase in website visits by (Market segment A) by December.

Ken Jacobs
Jacobs Communications Consulting