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Latest industry views and advice

October 1

How do you begin planning public relations and other communications activities for your business? Manchester-based B2B PR and content marketing agency, Metamorphic PR, looks at the vital, early steps in the process:

How to plan public relations and communications is a question businesses should be asking themselves, be they Google or an SME that allocates a small, dark corner of its annual revenue to communicating with customers and other stakeholders.

While it’s something that’s easy to sideline in the midst of scrambling to hit targets, budgeting , planning and meetings, it’s a part of the business plan that shouldn’t be forgotten. As part of 2014 business planning, PR and communications should stake a rightful place on your agenda.

In the UK, as the economy shows signs of life – like Hollywood’s Egyptian Mummy rising from the tomb – business owners and managers should once again turn their attention to the who, what, how, when, where and why of good communications; if they don’t, you can bet others (the clever ones) will.

For companies reviewing PR and communications, it can be a chance to scrutinise in earnest what has been achieved in the previous 12 months, how it needs to improve and whether a more fundamental overhaul is needed. For those using agencies, that doesn’t necessarily mean cutting the agency loose; a frank and open discussion and commitment to fresh ideas might be less costly and time consuming than staging a pitch process. However, some client/agency love affairs aren’t meant to last…

Whether your PR planning involves an in-house PR/marketing team, incumbent agency or new kids on the block, you need to be clear on why you want and need PR/comms. That can involve going back to basics and being specific about what outcome you expect from the investment. And so, before anyone has the notion to write a press release, call a journalist or set up a Twitter account – or any of the countless activities that businesses think they should be doing – a good place to start is:

  1. What are the overall business objectives you want/need PR and comms to support?
  2. What is the communications strategy – in other words, “how” will you use PR and comms in a way that improves the odds of meeting your desired objectives?
  3. Who are the crucial audiences you need to reach? Who do you run the risk of neglecting, be they internal or external audiences?
  4. What methods will you use to measure whether your activities are successful or how you need to recalibrate your campaign activities?

The time, effort and concerted thinking that goes into this stage of the PR planning process is invaluable. With the seemingly endless array of activities you could be doing – and often with no specific end in mind – setting objectives (clear, realistic and measurable), devising a communications strategy and being clear about audiences and success criteria will give definition and focus to your PR and communications programme.

Next time – how to formulate a communications strategy…

If your business needs help with its PR and marketing communicationsplease get in touch via this online formemail or that quaint tool, the telephone, in big red numbers at the top of the page.

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