Public Relations (PR) has had many definitions since its conception, traditionally it was seen to be a discipline or a tool used to gain publicity for a client in the media for free.
However PR is far more than this. The landscape of promoting and protecting businesses has changed through the developments of internet based technologies and platforms. So what are the basics for success?
1. Agree with the senior management team what the objectives of the campaign should be and it’s key message/s. It is important to ensure you manage the expectations of what is achievable and avoid making promises which are not realistic.
2. Understand your public, it is great to know who your stakeholders are but these can often combine to create your customer base or in a crisis situation an activist group which can damage your reputation. Be clear on who your target audience of your communications should be and why.
3. Have a selection of creative hooks which you can use to test your campaign. Providing variations of your key message to use with different communication mechanisms can help you discover success quicker and provide focus on your strategy. It will also help you monitor the progress of the campaign and see which methods are working well.
4. Avoid reactive communications even in a crisis situation as these will put you on the back foot. Being pro-active will allow you to communicate in a creative way because you have had time to plan how you can get your key message out to your public. Producing some holding statements which you can use in an emergency situation can buy you some time to create a more proactive approach.
5. If the senior management team are unable to see the success of your campaign chances are they will invest their time elsewhere. It is crucial to measure and evaluate in order to show them that you’ve achieved your objectives. Equivalent Advertising Value (EAV) used to measure how much your free media coverage would have cost if you had paid for the space in the publication or programme is no longer good enough. Senior Management want to see how your campaign has impacted on their business in a positive way whether it be in sales, email enquiries, increase in web page views, etc.
In summary, set your PR plan objectives and decide audiences you plan to engage before deciding which channels to use in a creative way. Finally ensure you measure the correct outcomes of your campaign, saving money is great but generating potential new relationships with customers is more beneficial to your organisation’s success.