We live in a constant communication cycle where everyone gets the opportunity to become the next opinion leader. For Public Relations practitioners, this offers an opportunity to shape audience perception about the brand they manage. However, this requires conscious efforts and strategic planning, thereby justifying the need for a PR plan before every campaign.
What is Public Relations?
Public Relations (PR) is the way organizations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. Another definition of Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.
According to Jordan Townley, Public Relation and CSR specialist who defined PR as simply reputation management. It is ensuring that your brand has a clear message and successful PR is ensuring that message is effectively represented and interpreted to the right audience. Effective PR is about being proactive, not just reactive to situations or brand & business activity.
According to Toby Bloomberg Chief Executive Officer, Bloomberg media and ex-presidential Democratic Party aspirant, defined PR traditionally as focused on cultivating the media and celebrities, whove the reach and credibility, to tell the stories of an agency’s clients.
However, in the new media world where digital conversations among peers can capture higher Google ranking than a mainstream media publication, who influences opinion has been expanded.
Importance of Public Relations
- Public Relations is more effective than a paid advertisement.
- Public Relations complements marketing activities.
- Public Relations is a Crisis mitigation strategy.
Public Relations is a long term game.
Stages of a PR plan
These are the steps or procedures used needed to work on the pr plan. There are eight stages namely;
1. Research – It is the gathering of information and data to help assist in your PR plan. Research makes communication two-way by collecting information from the public rather than one-way, which is a simple dissemination of information.
2. Objectives – This allows you to design the campaign and the components to make it successful.
3. Goals – It assists in achieving the objectives that were set at the beginning. In order for the goals to be successful, they need to be S.M.A.R.T which stands for Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable Time-Bound.
4. Target audience – This is the people who you want your messages to reach.
5. Create a timeline – This gives the client what to expect and how the campaign will be carried out.
6. Plan of action – This includes developing and understanding the communication vehicles you will use to send the key messages of the campaign to the target audience. In order for the message to be achieved is through the use of the following:
- Press release
- Press conference
- Press Interview
7. The campaign – Once everything has been put into place the campaign can begin. The results of the campaign should be tracked constantly to see whether goals and objectives are being achieved and to determine whether the target audience is receiving the key messages of the campaign.
8. Evaluation – This can be defined as the total grading of the PR plan. PR evaluation is any and all research designed to determine the relative effectiveness of a public relations programme, strategy, or activity, by measuring the outputs and/or outcomes of that PR programme against a predetermined set of objectives.