Where you’re developing a public relations plan for your agency or a client, it helps to ask yourself some important questions. Here are questions I have found are helpful to discuss with my clients before getting started on the plan:
• What are the desired results of the public relations initiative?
• Who are our primary audiences? Secondary audiences?
• What do we know about the image these audiences already have about the organization and its products/services?
• What do we know about the news media’s perceptions of the organization and its products/services?
• What is the image we wish to convey?
• How much of this plan should be geared toward creating awareness vs. changing perceptions?
• What are our key messages?
• What are the best communication vehicles to carry these messages?
• What are the organization’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
• What threats/obstacles exist?
• What opportunities exist that at present are not being maximized?
• What percentage of his/her time is the CEO or other designated senior-level executive willing to devote to media relations activities?
• What landmines do we need to avoid?
• What does this plan need to take into consideration in connection with the organization’s overall marketing/branding efforts?
• How will we define success?
• How will we measure success? (In other words, at the end of a year, how will we know if we have or have not been successful?)
It takes a while to plow through and answer these questions, but the end product will be much better if you take the time to go through a disciplined process like this before getting started on a PR plan.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.