Most startups and small businesses might be hesitant when it comes to developing and managing their own PR, but with some time spent understanding the processes involved, it is possible to manage your PR effectively.
Your PR campaigns and activities should be part of your overall business plan as PR is the function that crafts and manages your reputation which will ultimately increase trust in your products, services, and your brand.
Here are some steps to guide you through setting up and executing a PR plan or campaign:
- Develop your key messages: Your key messages are the core ideas you want to communicate to your audiences. Take your time in crafting these messages as they will serve as the basis for all your communications. Crafting your key messages is also a great way to focus your communication strategy and ensure that your PR activities stay on point.
- Identify your target audiences: Your target audience is made up of people who are, or could potentially be interested in your brand’s products and services. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your products and services are for everyone – even if your product or service has wide appeal, you still need to identify your core target audience so that your communications can be tailored to them. Start by asking yourself questions such as: what am I selling and what makes it unique? Who would want to buy this product? Why would someone want to buy this product or service from you? Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy. Consider demographics such as age, location, gender, income, education, marital or family status, occupation, ethnic background and so on. Once you answer these questions you will have a profile of who your target audience is.
- Set clear goals: When crafting your PR campaign, you need to set clear objectives and goals. In other words, what results do you hope to achieve from your PR efforts? For example, do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want to increase awareness of your products and services, or do you want to raise awareness of a certain aspect of your company, such as a charitable program or other corporate social responsibility activity? Try to be as specific as possible when identifying goals, break larger goals down into smaller goals to make them more manageable.
- Identify your strategies and tactics: Now that you’ve set your goals and objectives, the next step is to actually outline the steps you will take to achieve your goals – your strategies and tactics. For each of your goals, establish strategies – the broad approaches you are going to take in order to achieve the goal. For each strategy, you need to develop tactics which are the tools that will be used to help you meet your overall goals.
- Set a timeline: Creating a timeline and setting milestones sets a clear path for your PR activities that will keep you on track. It’s always better to create small milestones for your big goals – breaking big goals down into smaller goals makes them less overwhelming and more manageable.
- Create a budget: Consider what you have for your overall marketing and PR budget, as well as what portion makes sense to allocate specifically towards your PR goals.
- Identify metrics to evaluate your PR campaign: One of the most important, and often overlooked, component of any PR plan is specifying how you will evaluate your efforts. Set evaluation methods and metrics for all of your communication activities. Factors you could measure include: number of articles in key publications, reach (amount of readership/ page views of publication), website traffic, social media engagement, and the list goes on. Start by looking at each of your goals and identify a metric to evaluate each one.
Overall, putting together a PR plan can seem like a daunting task for your startup or small business, but broken down step by step, it can be achieved and you can harness the power of PR for your business!