Planning your PR - checklist

Multitasking doing the crossword and being on the phone

PR activities can help spread the word about your business for much less money than traditional advertising. This checklist explains how to promote your business through the press.

  • Decide which audience you are trying to influence: customers, potential employees or the local community.
  • Clarify your objectives; most PR aims to build your reputation with customers and increase awareness of your business or products.
  • Establish your timescales and budget; consider alternatives (advertising, for example), particularly for short-term objectives.
  • Decide who will be responsible for PR; establish how other employees should deal with press enquiries.
  • Consider whether you should involve a PR agency, particularly if you have a budget or want exposure in national media.
  • Provide any necessary training in producing effective press releases and handling the media.
  • Identify media which reach your audience and which are likely to give you coverage (eg local press, trade journals, niche websites).
  • Investigate their requirements: the types of story they cover, their style, and their publication deadlines.
  • Identify contacts and build relationships: for example, by inviting them to events or offering to provide useful introductions or industry information.
  • Plan a sustained flow of press releases and other PR initiatives over a period of months or even years; do not expect immediate results.
  • Identify any natural opportunities for PR: for example, product launches, new premises, new employees or business milestones.
  • Consider creating PR opportunities: for example, holding an open day, commissioning a survey, running a competition, fundraising or sponsorship.
  • Investigate other opportunities, such as writing guest articles or blogs, supporting local events, becoming an active member of a business group, joining committees, going to conferences, writing a regular opinion or advice column or offering yourself as a public speaker.
  • Regularly review your efforts: consider which of your initiatives have generated worthwhile publicity and continue to create more opportunities in that vein.

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