Wacky Wednesday in the PR House: Series 1, Part 1: Creating an Effective PR Plan

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
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We all need to have a plan. A plan to do the laundry. A plan to exercise. A plan keep in touch with friends. A plan for your PR campaign. We need plans. Some of them are more trivial that others – a plan for your PR is not one of them. In order to be effective with your PR (public relations, in case you didn’t know), you have to set the ground work and come up with a solid plan. Otherwise you will be spending time, and money, working towards goals you aren’t aware of and success you cannot measure.

I’m going to give you the basic elements you need in your PR plan and elaborate on them.

  • Executive Summary (no, this isn’t for the President)
  • Situation Analysis (does your cupcake have a cherry on top?)
  • Problem/Opportunity (don’t worry the Cops aren’t coming…)
  • Target Audience (put the bullseye on their backs)
  • SWOT Analysis (again, no one has called 911)
  • Message (RESPECT…find out what it means to me)
  • Goals (we aren’t climbing Mt. Everest, at least not yet.)
  • Objectives (didn’t we already decide on Mt. Everest?)
  • Strategies (one step at a time…)
  • Tactics (use only hefty-duty snow boots!)
  • Calendar (before 2015)
  • Budget (there is no price too low, or too high)
  • Evaluation (if we don’t make it to the top…can we take a trip to Mexico, instead?)
  • Take Action (I’ll book the flights)

You are probably saying to yourself … “what is this wacky lady talking about?” No need to worry, panic or go back to surfing the internet, it’s about to all make sense.

Let’s tackle the first 3 items every PR plan should have.

  • Executive Summary (no this isn’t for the President): What do I mean this isn’t for the President? Clearly this isn’t for the man himself. The executive summary in your PR plan should be a brief overview of the whole plan. It should highlight the key points and summarize what is to come in the rest of the document.  This should be the first element of your PR plan because it gives an overview of what will be explained more specifically in the other elements. Even though this should be the first element, its not always the one you write first. Go ahead and write down some of your ideas, but know that you will be editing & revising this once your whole plan is complete. If you’ve got a busy day today, skip to the next two items and worry about this one later.
  • Situation Analysis (does your cupcake have a cherry on top?) Not every cupcake has the cherry, but they all have icing. Your situation analysis is exactly what it sounds like – a analysis of your current situation. You need to describe in detail (please be specific) what is going on right now in your market, where is your company at, what is the climate in which your PR plan will take place, etc. Dig deep and really understand what is happening in your market and explore from there.
  • Problem/Opportunity (don’t worry the Cops aren’t coming…). Trust me I haven’t called them about our problems because we still opportunities. In this part of your PR plan, you want to outline the problems you are facing and what opportunities lie ahead. Here’s an example: You have come out with a new line of jeans that are made for mature women. A problem might be that mature women don’t like to wear jeans. An opportunity for you is that you can show them how your jeans will make them want to wear jeans again because the fit and style of the jeans are made for their body types.
  • Target Audience … gotcha! The bullseyes will not be placed until  next week.

Whew… that is a lot of detail for you to take in and process. Good news is… you’ve got time. Sit down, read (then re-read) and start to put your PR plan together. Your homework for this week is to start on your Executive Summary, write (in detail) your Situation Analysis and the Problems & Opportunities you are facing. I’ll be back next week with even more knowledge for you to digest. (Make sure you don’t eat a big lunch next week, so there is plenty of room!)

Wacky Wednesday in the PR House is a multi-part series that will be brought to you weekly (on Wednesday, of course). Over the next few weeks I will help you develop your PR plan. After that, Wacky Wednesdays will still be days for advise and knowledge on how to make your PR, marketing and advertising efforts better. Stay tuned… there’s more to come!

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