December 6, 2021

PR: How to harness the power of planning

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Harnessing the power of planning is essential for creating and delivering an effective, comprehensive, relevant, results-driven PR campaign.

Our PR team explains how to empower your PR planning to maximum effect, and shares some tips on what to include for a proactive, purposeful, useable plan. 

Planning and purpose are inextricably linked, whether it’s a project at work, or a hobby or pastime for the important time away from your desk. Planning provides an objective, a goal, direction, focus and destination, and enables the creation of tactics and tools for effective, efficient implementation, as well as those to evaluate outcomes and results.  

Strategic start

A tactical PR campaign plan draws together every news, feature, opinion, or scheduled event opportunity for your business into one single, easy to use organic hardworking document. This gives direction to your preparation for individual tactics, so individual campaigns have the maximum time to develop and crystallise, and your PR team to execute great ideas and opportunities for media engagement and coverage.  

But the PR plan can’t work without a strategy. The ultimate aim of a PR campaign is to maintain the best possible reputation for your organisation, and this needs a PR strategy that is relevant to the business and its plans. The strategy should have specific objectives and clear key messages, as well as the target audience/s (whether customers, partners or stakeholders), which will shape and in turn, inform the content of the campaign plan, and the when, where, how, what, and when of tactical implementation.   

Get tactical

The PR campaign plan is a document that captures each and every opportunity to interact with your target audience/s. Its creation is a fantastic – and only truly effective – way to get under the skin of a topic, product, service and/or business.  

Researching and creating it gives the opportunity to consider how and when to creatively engage with your target audience, and how best to work with the media to support this, whilst maintaining reputation and campaign and business messages. 

It’s more than just populating a calendar with one off, random news or events, but details the content you can utilise to create the stories and deliver results.  

It is a comprehensive document written with the PR and wider comms and business strategy (i.e. objectives, targets and messages and audience/s) at its heart.   

It maps out the channels and platforms your audiences use and trust, to ensure the tactics are timely, targeted and relevant. It enables scheduling how and when to pitch stories and ideas, that will deliver impact, results, coverage, and achieve the all-important KPIs. It also allows for flexibility to react to unexpected news for the business and its people, as well as for news-jacking local, national or international news and events. 

Tips and tools for PR planning

To make your strategy actionable, a PR plan exists to support and direct the implementation and management of your PR activities. 

Created as a month-by-month calendar, the PR plan is a timeline of specific actions your business needs to take to achieve its goals, and the communities and networks in which to establish awareness, profile, and of course, reputation.  

To enable this, the PR plan should include: 

  • Known-about news opportunities– company events, new hires and recruitment plans, promotions, launches, merger or acquisition, business milestones, annual results, or new clients/contracts/customers. 
  • Awards – all relevant awards that are beneficial to the business and dovetail with its wider strategies, to include entry deadlines, and results announcements 
  • Awareness Days – yes there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these, but carefully selecting the most relevant to your business and its products/services, provide scope for expert commentary, social media engagement, or could present the perfect time to launch the findings of important new market research or white paper. 
  • National, global events – such as new or updated relevant legislation and laws, UK government events such as the annual Budget, political party conferences, or major sporting events. 
  • Media features – based on their published editorial calendars for the year 
  • Company campaigns – like tactical sales or marketing tactical campaigns 
  • News alerts– to keep on top of breaking news  
  • Hashtags and subscription services – such #journorequest and #prrequest and subscription services such as Response Source, give great insight into what national and sector specialist journalists are writing and thinking about.  

Get to work 

Contact our PR team to request our content and PR planning template for free, to test-out how this could support your wider business, PR, marketing and communications planning.  

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