What distinguishes a PR plan from running in place is the depth and subtlety of the PR component of an organization's reach. Beyond marketing, as important as connecting with potential customers or users is, PR considers all the publics involved and allows for contingencies that might suggest a change in course. Good PR planning takes more time, but can produce deeper impact.
That's the important message in a post, "Ten Ways to Vet Your PR Plan," by Dorothy Crenshaw on the Business 2 Community blog. "Often," she writes, "the best use of PR is to add depth or detail to brand messages or to lend credibility to an advertising claim. It's rarely just 'positive visibility.'"
Here are some of the factors Crenshaw lists for the PR component of outreach campaigns:
• Does the plan include internal audiences? Don't leave out your employees and other stakeholders." If employees and partners aren’t fully informed of a program’s goals and strategies, it can create roadblocks." So include them in.
• Is the PR piece coordinated with other marketing elements? Newsworthy elements in other parts of the plan can be missed and become lost opportunities.
• Are you allowing for full story development? PR takes time and research to include "multiple storylines....The beauty of PR may be that we can shift tactics or change messaging without incurring production costs, but who wants to lose the time?" Take the time to get added benefits.
• Does the campaign include a "Plan B"? - It should, because such factors as seasonal opportunities or unexpected events can complicate the picture.
You're likely getting the idea — depth and care can yield real plusses in terms of opportunities and cautions. Crenshaw goes on to include flexibility, a crisis component, realistic timing, an adequate budget, and a fully considered definition of success as other elements PR considerations should include. Her post is virtually a capsule course in strategic, highly advisable, PR planning. And there are links to related articles as well. This site looks like a great PR and marketing resource.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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