Public relations is all about controlling your brand’s narrative to influence behaviors and attitudes about your company goals.  It is a strategy run by PR experts, and without a plan, it won’t go anywhere fast.

You may be asking yourself, “How do I create a PR plan?”, “what should a PR plan include?” or even “what is the importance of planning in PR?”

Don’t worry, this article will answer all those questions and more. This is more than just a PR template; this is a comprehensive game plan for the strategic planning of a successful pr campaign.

Table of contents

PR Planning: What Is It?

You already know what PR is, but what exactly is PR planning? 

A PR plan is developed by either public relations marketing professionals or a public relations agency.  If you have a small business with not much exposure, this can benefit you more than larger organizations.

Yes, they can be used to protect your brand image in the case of an employee getting poor press coverage in mainstream media, but an effective PR plan can do so much more.

Public relations can raise awareness about your company’s products or services and have a positive impact on the perception of your brand.

The critical aspect of a quality PR strategy is to know who your audience is and how to reach them with relevant information.

The ultimate goal of your PR plan is to improve your brand’s image and get key messages to your audience.

Why Is It Important?

Your brand is viewed differently by your employees than your customers. This is a part of why PR is so important, not just to people who want to buy your product but also to the people who sell it. Your business. 

Not all PR costs you money, and if your budget is tight, consider capitalizing on earned media. Any content or promotions you don’t have to pay for, such as influencers posting positively about using your product, is considered earned media.

Don’t be afraid to get your leaders out there doing podcasts with popular influencers talking about what your company does and providing contact information for any clients who wish to work with you. This is an example of great, free PR that your business can benefit from.

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How To Create Your Public Relations Plan in 6 steps

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to devise your plan. Creating your strategy takes work. It requires thinking research, and careful planning.

Consider these five steps in your PR plan template. If you follow this plan template, you will have a solid marketing strategy that will focus on your PR goals.

Define Your Target Audience

The first step to creating your PR strategy plan is to define who your target audience is with target audience analysis. Your target audience is the group of consumers, readers, or followers most likely to be interested in what your organization provides.

For your PR efforts to show success, you need to make sure you produce content that your audience is most likely to see. This step will save time because you will know exactly who you are trying to reach and how to reach them.

What Are Your Key Messages?

What are the key messages your brand communicates to its current customers and new potential clients?

Now that you know who your audience is and how to reach them, the next part of the process is defining your key messages.

Your messages should educate and inform your audience.

It should focus on changing people’s perception of your business brand and persuade people to take action.

Choose Where to Focus Your PR Efforts

At this stage of your plan, you know what you want to say and who to say it to, but what about where to say it?

Narrow down your target communication channels for your public relations campaign. Every industry and organization has a different set of targeted consumers that want to buy their stuff. 

Take a moment and think about your target audiences. Research where they consume their content. Add those channels to your PR objectives.

There are many media channels, and people get news from social media posts, blog posts, and even national media. Wherever they frequent the most, those are your target channels to direct your PR tactics on.

Creating Content For Your PR Campaign

At this stage of your PR plan, you have a target audience defined, a key message to speak about, and you know what social media platforms or channels you will use. Let’s talk about the various forms of content you can create.

News Articles and Press Releases

News articles and press releases are content that provide relevant, newsworthy information about your business that will achieve high amounts of website traffic.

A company may put out a press release when the CEO changes or a significant change in the organization happens. News articles can include things that promote your brand’s awareness, like small businesses donating to local causes. 

External Media Outlets

Media outlets like social media channels are a great way to give consumers instant access to top industry secrets and information. Still, they can also be used to post a press release. Having a blogger or influencer guest blog post on your social media can drive web traffic for your company as well.

PR Agency

A PR agency may help you with major industry publications by connecting you to their already extensive media relations. Your business can hire a PR firm to manage its brand’s media image and create a PR program that will achieve your objectives.

The most important part of this step is the story. Yoru consumers will connect to a powerful and personal brand story that aligns with their own beliefs. A strong story will capture the attention of more followers and buyers. This doesn’t just apply to written content, but video, audio, and visuals as well.

Create SMART Objectives

This is a very common model that many senior leaders and thought leaders use when trying to design a PR plan to reach their target audience.

The best company objectives are rooted in realism: They are easily achievable with measurable results. There is no benefit to your business if you set lofty goals; in fact, setting unreachable goals can hurt your brand.

So let’s break down SMART objectives.

SMART objectives for PR plan
SMART Objectives

Measure Your Strategic Plan Success

Part of any successful PR planning is to measure its success so that you can adapt your tactics in future brand strategies.

This research is vital to your PR plans, and anyone in the marketing industry should be familiar with it. Your company can measure media impression on social media, engagement, the website traffic, and many other KPI’s that will indicate how well your brand plan performed.

This is the best time to ask yourself important questions on how your organization’s tone of voice came out in its released content or if your brand’s perception is viewed differently. Business goals change often, and you want to always make sure your action plans align with your current business goals.

Your PR Plan Is Complete

The ball is now in your court to use this 6 step strategy when building your own PR plan. If you already have a marketing team, your will already know everything about your target audience and what you need to do to reach them.

Move on to creating objectives that are specific, attainable, and measurable, and you can make sure your key message will reach your consumer audience.

Take the time to research the best channels and types of content that your audience consumes the most, and your PR plan will be taken to the next level.

Finally, the most important step is measuring the success of your plan. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t take the time to see how your PR plan.