PR: How do I write a Public Relations Plan?

Ever wonder why people pay for a PR firm? What kind of publicity do they get for their money? Here are some of the things a Public Relations agency should be doing for you. Or, if you choose to write your own plan, here’s what you should include.

  1. Messaging
  2. Media Training
  3. Construct Story
  4. Media or Press Kit
  5. Generate Media Opportunities
  6. Build Strategic News Pipeline
  7. Editorial Calendar Outreach
  8. Leverage Events
  9. Media tour
  10. Media Events

Let’s look at that a little bit further. What does it mean? What do you really get?

PR Messaging

If your company has not already come up with its positioning and a clear set of messages, your PR firm can craft those for you. They should be reinforcing your brand, positioning and messages throughout everything they do. This is key and fundamental to the success of every marketing program.

Media Training

Everyone in your company who will be interviewed by the media should trained on how to communicate effectively with them. You need to learn how to answer questions in a way that supports your messaging. You should be prepared to expect certain questions and the best ways to get your message across.

Construct Story

Your PR Agency should be able to take your messages and translate them into multiple stories that appeal to a variety of media that target your ideal customer. They will also create and pitch each story to the media.

Media or Press Kit

A media kit (sometimes called press kit) is like a resume for your company. It includes:

  1. A letter of introduction to the company
  2. The company profile, history, and management
  3. Product and service information and brochures
  4. Recent reviews, publications and articles
  5. Press releases
  6. Audio or video files of interviews, speeches and performances
  7. A sample news story
  8. News related to the industry or investor news
  9. List of frequently asked questions
  10. Other information such as awards, photos, white papers, schedule of promotions and events, statistics, samples or examples, logo and image art, an order form.

Generate Media Opportunities

Create a targeted list of media and analyst contacts. Start contacting them locally then build nationally and internationally.  Pitch stories. Position your company as the go-to source of information on your subject.

Build Strategic News Pipeline

Develop a scheduled series of news releases (press releases) and draft the announcements that strategically roll out different aspects of the story.

Editorial Calendar Outreach

Identify publications that target your ideal customer and make a list of the planned stories or editorial opportunities that exist within their annual calendar.  Pitch you product/service where appropriate.

Leverage Events

Develop a PR strategy to leverage events that your company hosts or participates in. Recruit press to cover the stories.

Media tour

A media tour is when you meet with editors and reporters to introduce your company, product or service. The end goal is to build the relationship so that they print an article about your product, service or company, or that they come to you for quotes.

Media Events

Just as  you need to build community among your customers, you need to build community among the press. You want to build your brand or image in their mind and then stay top of mind with them. An event is a perfect way to do this. It may be as simple as a sneak-preview party or a press appreciation party. Free food and drink is always appealing.

With the exception of the media kit and the media events, most of these activities do not cost much money in terms of materials. But they do take time. If you want to write a plan for yourself, you should include most of these tactics. Typically a company will outsource these functions because they don’t have the time and the existing relationships with the press. if you choose this route, look for a firm that already has established relationships with the media outlets that reach your target customer.

Bad PR: Muslim TV Exec Beheads Wife

Over the weekend I was reading an article on MSNBC about a Muslim TV Executive who was charged for murder for beheading his wife. He pleaded guilty by reason of insanity due to spousal abuse.

The reason I felt compelled to even mentioned it here is that the article states that,

Hassan, 45, is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the Feb. 12 death of 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan at the offices of Bridges TV, the station the Pakistan-born couple established in 2004 to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims.

Does anyone else see the irony?

Hassan establishes a TV station in NY to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims and then proceeds to chop off the head of his wife. Hello? What are you thinking Hassan? If you weren’t going to jail for the rest of your life I’d say you need a new PR strategy!

You can read more about the situation at MSNBC.

What marketing specialist do I need?

What marketing expert should you be working with for each marketing tactic that you want to implement? This is a short list to help you figure out who you need to call. In a larger business, it is typically the brand or product manager that writes the marketing strategy and plan and then oversees all the specialized experts who make it happen.  Here is a brief list of who to work with…

  • Marketing Communications: could be an AD agency or just a graphic artist, copywriter and web designer. The Ad agency would also have a creative director that oversees the other 3 specialists. They create your identity, logo, brochures, website, packaging, ads (both online and off) and most materials. Can also create email newsletters. A direct marketing specialist would also fall into this category.
  • Web site: web designer works on the visual representation, web developer handles ecommerce, community forums and other functionality, SEO expert gets your chosen keywords emphasized,
  • Social Media: blog/community manager oversees blog content and responds to community members (blogger could also be in a different dept. like PR). Twitter and forum communicator.
  • PR: gets feature articles written, product placements, press tours, press kits, press releases, speaker placement, quotes,and more.
  • Event Marketing: identifies, schedules and prioritizes marketing events, creates booths, demos, etc.
  • Channel Marketing: work with resellers, OEM, Affiliate managers and Evangelists: who get 3rd parties to sell your products or services or use them in their own products
  • Business Development & Sales – works directly with key customer accounts to close a sale.

This is most of the major categories of specialists. The ones you need to work with can vary depending on your type of business.

What other marketing specialists have you used?

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