PR Strategy: Your Guide to Developing a Killer Public Relations Strategy

A strong PR strategy can be difficult to develop, especially if you’re new to public relations, but it’s vital to the success of your business – in the same way that a marketing plan is. There are many things to take into consideration when planning a public relations strategy, including how and where to present your message to your audience.

Not sure where or how to get started? We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of PR and help you develop the perfect strategy for your business.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

What are PR Strategies and Tactics?

You might be wondering – what exactly is PR? And what are PR strategies and tactics?

PR, or public relations, refers to the way a business presents itself to its customers and stakeholders. The goal of PR is to present a strong and consistent brand voice in an interesting way that helps to garner earned media. Marketing Public Relations, or Public Relations in marketing ensures that the entirety of your brand messaging is consistent with marketing strategies and how your brand interacts with the general public.

PR strategies and tactics determine how a brand will interact and communicate with its audience and the media in an attempt to gain earned media. In addition to how a brand will communicate its message, public relations strategies also help to establish when, where and to whom a message will be presented.

Some examples of PR strategies and tactics include:

  • Inviting influencers on social media to a grand opening or an event in hopes that they share their experience with their followers.
  • Creating a press release for a new product and sending it to media outlets and social media in hopes that they will publish it on their platforms.
  • Offering specific media outlets exclusivity when it comes to announcements and stories. By offering exclusive access to your content, you will have a better chance of gaining earned media.
  • Sending out samples to the media or influencers. Sending out samples in advance of a product launch can help to gain positive reviews and may result in the creation and dissemination of related content about your new product or service.
  • Developing a publicity event to gain attention. Using a publicity stunt, such as breaking a local or world record, can be great for getting the attention of customers and the media. This tactic is only successful, however, if the stunt is relevant to your business. Inviting your target audience, influencers and the media to be a part of the event is also helpful in gaining attention and earning media coverage.

Why Should I have a PR Strategy?

A PR strategy is necessary for strong, effective branding and to successfully communicate with your audience. Developing a public relations strategy includes understanding your audience – inside and out. 

A PR strategy will help you to determine where your audience can be found, what media outlets to share your message with and what messaging will resonate best with your target market. With this valuable information, you can ensure your brand message is tailored to your target audience and that it will reach them when and where they are most likely to engage with it.

Planning for Public Relations can also be very helpful in responding to mistakes. There may come a day when a mistake is made on behalf of your company. This is when a PR strategy becomes very important and can help you recover. With a clear vision and voice in place, your PR strategy will guide you in responding in the most appropriate and effective fashion.

How do I Create a Public Relations Strategy?

Not sure exactly how to go about creating a public relations strategy? Here are 9 steps to help you create a strong PR strategy. 

1. Review your historical PR efforts

What have your public relations efforts looked like in the past? Take a look back at any strategies and tactics you’ve used to get a sense of what worked, what didn’t and what could be changed or added. Another great way to gather useful information is to look into your competitors’ strategies and tactics. Consider what worked well for them and what didn’t.

Take a look at what stories are out there about your company and your competitors, who published these stories and how they were received by your target market.

2. Outline your goals

Before you can begin coming up with tactics and strategies for a PR plan, you’ll need to determine what your goals are. What do you hope your business will achieve during the month, week or year? Do you want to expand the presence of your social media or take an entirely different approach?

What measurables would demonstrate whether or not you were reaching those achievements? Answering these questions will help you create a list of goals that can guide your PR strategy. Your goals might include increasing brand engagement and recognition or improving your business’ reputation.

Planning ahead for the next 3 months can help you set and align your PR goals with an overarching strategy. Learn more in our guide on How to Write a 30-60-90 Day Plan.”

3. Learn as much as you can about your target market

In order to reach your target audience with earned media, you’ll need to consider who they are, what they like, what types of messaging they respond well to and where they can be found. Discovering this information about your target market will be very useful in deciding how, where and when to share information about your business.

4. Identify useful media outlets
Prowly (https://prowly.com/en/)

During your target market research, you should have uncovered some ideas as to where your target audience can be found. Use this information to develop a list of media outlets and social media platforms that would be most beneficial to contact and help spread your message.

Tools such as Prowly can help you find the right channels and platforms for your business and industry. 

5. Establish your messaging

Now that you know what your audience likes and doesn’t like, take some time to establish the types of messaging that they will respond best to. What stories and information are they most likely to engage with and share? How will they want to see this information presented? Don’t forget to take into account your PR goals established above, as well as the dos and don’ts that came from reviewing previous public relations activities.

Using differentiating factors that separate your business from others and offering your audience a value-added proposition in your messaging can work well – make sure to consider this when developing guidelines for your messaging.

6. Adopt some public relations tools
PR strategy diy
HARO (https://www.helpareporter.com/)

Now that you’ve identified your messaging, who you’d like to see it and where you would like it to be shared, you can start to explore options for how to go about sharing your message. Many PR tools exist online including Muck Rack, a tool to help you find influencers and journalists to target with your content, and HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a tool that can help you discover opportunities for media coverage.

If you are new to PR or don’t have the time to fully invest in undertaking it properly, you will want to consider hiring someone to oversee your PR for you. By doing so, you can ensure that you will see the best ROI.

7. Outline specific tactics and activities

Now, with your goals, target market, messaging, media outlets and tools established you can create a comprehensive list of tactics that you will use to achieve your goals. Consider specific activities that will need to be carried out. For example, what methods of communication will you use to get a certain message out to your ideal target market?

8. Create a list of responsibilities

If you decide to take on your PR strategy without the help of a professional public relations manager, be sure to develop a list of tasks and who will perform them, along with deadlines. This way you can ensure accountability and that your strategy maintains a steady timeline.

9. Evaluate your results

Don’t forget to review your results. Consider your goals and the metrics you established in order to determine what has been working, what hasn’t been working and any changes you can make to improve your public relations strategy. 

Check in on the success of your strategy in regular intervals, perhaps weekly, monthly or even yearly. Don’t forget to consider feedback from your audience when evaluating your strategy.

Key Takeaways On Creating a PR Strategy

Much like a good marketing strategy, a strong PR strategy can help your business reach its goals. You can create a strategy specifically tailored for your business by following these 9 simple steps:

  1.   Take a look at the PR you’ve done in the past – what’s worked and what hasn’t? How could you improve? Don’t forget to review your competitors’ PR strategies and outcomes to help you get insight into what works best.
  2.   Clearly define your goals and the measurables you’ll use to evaluate those goals.
  3.   Study your target market and learn as much as you can about them.
  4.   Establish the kinds of messaging you will present to your audience. Don’t forget to consider how you’ll present your message (i.e. what form it will take).
  5.   Create a list of  useful media outlets to contact with your messaging.
  6.   Select some PR tools to help you share your message.
  7.   Outline the specific tactics and activities you’ll use to get your message out. For example, exactly how will your share your message with your target audience.
  8.   Create a list of responsibilities so that everyone on your team knows who is in charge of what and when it should be completed so that your plan can stay on track.
  9.   Evaluate the results of your campaign and determine what changes, if any, are necessary for improvement.

Now you’re ready to get started! Just remember – the most important thing is to get to know your audience and what they will respond well to. Don’t forget to listen to them – ask for their feedback and take it into consideration in order to make improvements!

Vincent Lee

Written By Vincent Lee

The Managing Editor at Advesa, Vincent is a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, a lover of cats, and a purveyor of fine roasted matcha teas. When not writing, he enjoys exercising and biking around his beautiful hometown of Vancouver. He is also a strong supporter of the oxford comma.