The 6 Must-Have Elements of a Comprehensive PR Plan

You’ve been asked to create a comprehensive PR plan. Maybe a three-year or five-year plan – you are either filled with excitement or anxiety – most likely, a mix of both.

The goal of a comprehensive PR plan usually falls into three buckets: a) to increase awareness for a company or organization entering new markets, b) to increase awareness for a company or organization experiencing a slow-down in market segments or c) to increase awareness of a new product or division.

Here are tips to create a comprehensive PR plan.

  • Understand the scenario.                                                                                                            What is the needle that needs to be moved and why? Design your plan to do that. Have discussions with senior leadership, and board members where appropriate, about concerns and desires. Research your industry to see what competitors are doing with their PR. Develop a strong understanding of the climate your organization is operating in, both internal and external.
  • Establish goals.

    Determine what will be achieved after implementation of the plan. Do you wish to change behaviors or perceptions within the organization? Is the goal to gain customers? Do you desire greater brand recognition and higher sales? Try to have 3-5 goals. Remember to ensure that they are measurable along the implementation of the plan.

  • Define audiences.

    Whom are you trying to reach and what do you need to communicate? Defining key audiences and segmentation are critical to ensure your plan will be effective. In addition, it’s important to have consensus among leadership and your  board as to who these audiences are and how they are defined.

  • Choose tactics and channels.

    How will you communicate to audiences? What mix of channels will you use? To get the mix of tactics and channels right, research individual audiences through personal development to determine: a.) the most effective tactics to grab their attention, and b.) what channels they engage with most to target them where they are.

  • Determine measurement and reporting.

    As you are developing tactics and channels, think of how you will measure and how you will report these measurements and to whom. Typically, it is a combination of campaign metrics, benchmarking and surveying/focus groups. Choose the right combination that works for your organization and measures your audience engagement as effectively as possible. Don’t forget the internal – decide early how you will present results to senior leaders and how often.

  • Prepare an itemized budget for each year of the plan.

    Your last step will be to prepare an itemized budget for each year of the plan. This will help determine costs and areas for potential scale back. It may be hard to calculate a cost for every step of the implementation. Provide estimates if necessary. 

The last, and most crucial step, is to shop the plan to your organization. Present it to the CEO and board and then senior leaders. Adjust the plan as you go to reflect useful input. Be mindful of input that may create obstacles within the plan and raise that issue to senior leaders.

By building consensus, you will create a clear path ahead for the implementation phase of your plan.

Sandra Coyle is founder of Coyle Communications. Follow her @coylecomms