Without public relations, businesses are not getting the most out of their marketing campaigns, charitable work, new innovations, and more. To some degree, it’s a bit like the tree falling in the woods analogy. If no one hears it, did it really make a sound?

As you plan out your goals for the fiscal year, both large and small, don’t forget to plan a correlating PR strategy. Without a PR strategy, you’re missing opportunities to build a positive reputation and grow your market.

The question is, how do you develop a PR strategy? What steps should you take in order to ensure that your public relations campaign is effective?

Read on to learn everything you need to know to develop a strong, success-bound PR strategy this year.

Know Your Purpose and Timeline

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First thing’s first: establish what your PR strategy will encompass and how long it will run its course. Are you showcasing a new product line this year? Do you want to give back to your community in tangible ways?

Make sure you understand what your PR strategy is going to cover. It may broadly encompass every major accomplishment your business sees this year or it may focus on a specific set of milestones or events. Make sure you know how long you want this process to take so that you can set clear, tangible goals.

Set Incremental Goals

Now, it’s time to set goals for your PR strategy. The first goal should be looking back at previous PR strategies you’ve used in the past to determine what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of myths and pitfalls when it comes to the world of PR–click here to find out more.

Other goals can include launching products, creating press releases, hosting events, and so on. In the last step, we allowed you to keep things a little vague. Here is where you want to get really specific about what each incremental goal is and when it needs to be completed.

Sketch Out Your Target Audience

Who is all of this for? Whose attention do you have that you want to keep in the future? Whose attention have you failed to acquire so far that you want to capture this year?

Here’s a key tip: your target audience is never “anyone and everyone with buying power.” It’s best to understand your target demographics and break them down into segments. The closer you can get to speaking to your target audience(s) directly, the more successful your PR strategy will be.

Don’t Forget About Your Competition

Chances are, your competition is out here developing their own PR strategies. You’re going to want to keep an eye on what they’re doing at all times and try to stay two steps ahead. You may even want to have a few backup plans in your pocket, in case your competition beats you to the punch on one of your specific PR goals.

Bullet Point Your Key Messages

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The primary purpose of a PR strategy is to take the narrative of your business endeavors and your overall image into your own hands. Now that you’re taking that control, what is it that you want to say?

Write down your key messages. They should be clear, concise, and maybe even a little bit catchy. If someone were to skim, for example, your press release, what is it that you’d hope they’d take away from the whole thing? Whatever it is, your key messages should be present in the news, on the radio, and on your social media page–and it should be memorable.

Set the Specific Tactics of Your PR Strategy

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Oftentimes, business owners want to jump directly to this step without paying any attention to the first five we’ve mentioned here. The reality is that while creating PR strategy tactics is the over-arching goal here, your tactics won’t have substance if you don’t take your time setting a timeline, writing down your key messages, and so forth.

So, what kinds of tactics should you be considering? PR tactics vary from industry to industry, but there are a few things you should always aim for. These include:

  • Press releases for new products, major structural changes, events, or charitable donations
  • Shareable social media posts for new products or events
  • Interactive or engaging posts on social media (e.g. crowdsourcing opinions in a poll)
  • Social media or blog posts from influencers who review your products

Additional tactics include TV or radio spots, in-person events or announcements, and more. Your tactics should be timely, relevant to your goals, cost-effective, and measurable.

Aim for Measurable Results

What do we mean by “measurable?”

A good PR strategy achieves the goals you set for it. Maybe that’s increasing sales on a specific day or increasing your consumer base by a certain percentage. Ultimately, you want to know how effectively your PR strategy accomplished what you intended so that you can learn from it.

Tracking social media engagement, analyzing traffic on your website, documenting third-party coverage, and recording any growth in sales are all ways that you can measure the results of your PR strategy. It’s best to do this throughout your timeline so that you can switch gears if your original tactics aren’t quite working.

Make Sure Your Falling Trees Are Heard

Why is a PR strategy so important for businesses both big and small? Without a PR strategy, you may be accomplishing your goals without seeing a ton of payoff. Make sure that when your trees fall, your target audience is around to hear them!

Looking for the latest news in the business world? Want more tips and guides that will help you boost your performance this year? Take a look at our business section to stay up to date.

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