20 Questions to Consider When Developing an Agency PR Plan

Whether your agency emphasizes inbound or outbound marketing—or a combination of the two—public relations is an important tool that can help you attract attention, showcase your expertise and generate new business opportunities.

A successful PR plan has a clear focus, target and purpose.

Without those strategic elements, PR tactics tend to lack direction and consistency, or they simply fall off an agency’s radar as the tyranny of the urgent takes over.

A written PR plan will serve as a road map to guide you in reaching your desired destination, and help you avoid unproductive detours and distractions along the way.

But before getting started on the plan, it’s important to assess your agency’s strengths and weaknesses; evaluate what your agency does best; and determine whether your greatest need is to create awareness or to change the perception of your agency.

Question markAnother strategic consideration is whether you want public relations to assist in positioning your agency team as experts in an existing niche or aid you in entering a new industry and becoming experts there.

Being vague in your positioning, and trying to be all things to all people, won’t make you stand out from your competition and likely will result in a confusing image for your agency.

The following questions will assist you in assessing your situation, determining your highest priorities/needs and fine-tuning your PR objectives:

  1. What do you want to accomplish with your PR efforts?
  2. Who are your key audiences?
  3. How would you describe your best prospects for new business?
  4. What are the best communications vehicles to reach these audiences?
  5. What are your points of differentiation and key messages?
  6. What words best describe your agency’s brand?
  7. Who are your main competitors?
  8. How are they perceived in the marketplace?
  9. Do you want to utilize PR for your agency, offer it as a service to clients, or both?
  10. What is the primary way you use or would like to use PR: agency promotion, new business development, as a service to clients or to enhance your integrated marketing communications capabilities?
  11. How would you rate your agency’s PR capabilities on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best and 1 the worst?
  12. How would you rate your agency’s new business focus on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is perfectly targeted and 1 is we’re all over the map?
  13. How effective were your past PR efforts (assuming you had some)?
  14. What PR opportunities can you identify that have not been maximized?
  15. How should PR integrate into your new business strategy?
  16. How does social media fit with your new business strategy and PR?
  17. Where would you like to obtain publicity (i.e. target publications, bloggers, radio/TV programs)?
  18. What speaking events or media interviews would you like to be invited to as a participant?
  19. How will you define PR success?
  20. How will you measure that success?

Going through the discipline of answering these questions, and then developing a written plan based on your responses, will pay great dividends in terms of helping your agency manage its time, resources and activities in the most effective way possible. It also will enable your agency to obtain the targeted, consistent coverage necessary for long-term PR success.

photo credit: atomicity ? via photopin (license)

A Handy Way for Ad Agencies to Segment Audiences

Audiences are not always who you think. When I was in graduate school, I learned a handy way to identify audiences so that you don’t miss anyone, and an effective way to segment them:

Enabling links – publics that set policies or goals and may control assets.
• Board of directors
• Government regulators
• Congress

Functional links – audiences with a direct link between the services the organization performs and the product(s) it produces.
• Employees
• Suppliers
• Users of products/services

Diffused links – individual members of a public who do not belong to a formal organization but share a common interest.
• Community residents
• Minorities
• News Media
• Environmentalists
• Voters

Normative links – publics that share the organization’s goals and values.
• Religious associations
• Professional societies
• Competitors

Diffused links can quickly fuse by organizing to take action (over a common problem or opportunity) and can cause major headaches for you and your organization. Examples:
• Unions
• Coalitions
• Environmental groups

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Ad Agency Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Clients sometimes get confused about the difference of between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. I’ve found the following football analogy helpful:

Objective: To win the game.
An objective is specific and measurable. In this case, winning is the primary objective. A secondary objective may be to enable a player to gain enough yards to break a school record or to score a certain number of points. Goals are broad and intangible, so the team’s goal could be to become the best high school football team in the world. Because there are no world playoffs at the high school level, the goal couldn’t be measured.

Strategy: The other team is bigger, but we’re faster. Therefore, we’ll utilize our superior quickness to achieve the objective (i.e. to win the game).

Tactics: The specific plays we will run throughout the game, especially those that favor quicker players. You also could think of tactics as the action plan.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.