Well-executed Public Relations is one of the most cost-effective and successful ways of communicating with your target audience; but, in order to give real context to your message, you need great PR and that starts with a core PR strategy.
When we talk about strategic PR, what we mean is PR based on tactics, which are strategic when they are grounded in research and planning. In order to achieve a client’s objectives, PR needs to be linked to researched communication objectives – otherwise, you may only end up creating noise.
This is not to say that ad-hoc communications aren’t valuable – in fact, there should be space for responding to the national mood, the media, unexpected changes to the company or the environment it operates in – but this alone cannot form the basis of a strategic PR plan.
A PR strategy should spell out how it will contribute to achieving a client’s overall and specific goals. In other words, the purpose, focus and direction of the communication strategy should be laid out.
Core components of a strategic approach include:
• Researching the company, looking at their messaging and their target audiences. This should include identifying stakeholders (both internal and external) and assessing the quality of existing stakeholder relationships and group perceptions.
• Defining measurable communication and relationship objectives that support and help to drive the business vision, mission, and purpose.
• Content creation and storytelling that contributes directly to communication and relationship objectives.
• Selecting appropriate media and social media channels for distribution of content.
• Planning campaigns which support the corporate business purpose and supporting strategy to meet communication and relationship objectives.
• Horizon scanning to identify issues and risks and preparing relevant crisis communications.
• Putting into place monitoring and evaluating programs to measure ROI.
Methods of achieving client’s objectives vary, depending on the business. Typically, PR includes press releases, white papers, newsletters, social media campaigns, blogs (both internal and external), case studies, public speaking, and pitching interesting story ideas about your business to journalists in target media outlets – whether that be regional, national, international or industry related – and key influencers.
The best public relations planning is grounded in strategic thinking, something which is at the very core of what we do here at Chalk + Ward. A considered PR strategy based on business objectives will add greater overall value, and the publicity it generates will provide a higher output with results that help to drive the business vision compared with an ad-hoc PR approach which simply would not deliver to the same level.