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How to plan your PR

Checklist

  1. 1 Decide what audience you are trying to influence, whether it's customers, potential employees or the local community.
  2. 2 Clarify your objectives; most PR aims to build your reputation with customers and increase awareness of your business and products.
  3. 3 Establish your timescales and budget; consider alternatives (advertising, for example), particularly for short-term objectives.
  4. 4 Decide who will be responsible for PR; establish how other employees should deal with press enquiries.
  5. 5 Consider whether you should involve a PR agency, particularly if you have a large budget or want exposure in national media.
  6. 6 Provide any necessary training in producing effective press releases and handling the media.
  7. 7 Identify media which reach your audience and which are likely to give you coverage (eg local press, trade journals).
  8. 8 Investigate their requirements: the types of story they cover, their style, and their publication deadlines.
  9. 9 Identify contacts and build relationships: for example, inviting them to events or offering to provide useful industry information.
  10. 10 Plan a sustained flow of press releases and other PR initiatives over a period of months or even years; do not expect immediate results.
  11. 11 Identify any natural opportunities for PR: for example, new product launches, new premises, milestone events.
  12. 12 Consider creating PR opportunities: for example, holding an open day, commissioning a survey, running a competition or sponsorship.
  13. 13 Investigate other opportunities, such as submitting articles or letters for publication, supporting local events, or offering yourself as a public speaker.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • set clear objectives
  • target suitable media and build relationships
  • create a sustained flow of PR opportunities
  • produce effective press releases

Don't:

  • expect PR to have a short-term impact
  • use PR when other promotional methods would be more effective