What Is Strategic Planning for Public Relations?
At their heart, all public relations campaigns are about planning and strategy. After all, without a good strategy, it would be impossible for a PR expert to ensure that they were having the right impact on an audience with their marketing solutions, or that they were releasing press content at the right time. The “strategic planning” part of public relations is what sets it apart as a critical component of building a business and managing a company reputation.
Strategic planning starts with setting a goal for a PR campaign. Once a vision of success is established, PR companies can then work alongside their clients to carve out an effective route to that end target. Strategic planning ensures that press releases go out just at the right time to cause a social splash, and that reputation management strategies have components in place that allow businesses to respond quickly when disaster strikes.
What Does Strategic Planning Involve?
In most cases, strategic planning with a PR company will involve a number of long-term and short-term goals. The ever-changing nature of public opinion, and the transforming marketplaces that today’s businesses work in mean that strategies need to be able to adapt and evolve according to the current circumstances. Most companies create a plan that covers the next six months, then they set a schedule to review their plan within three months – accounting for the latest changes.
PR requires a great deal of flexibility, and an understanding that things change over time. However, that doesn’t mean that assessing and planning can’t be a useful part of any PR strategy. Usually, strategic planning asks a company to look over the past year and what they’ve accomplished in terms of PR activity. If the business received any media attention over the last year, the results gleaned from those campaigns can help a brand to determine which media outlets and angles worked best for them, and which they might want to use again.
An audit of previous PR strategies can also help company to come to terms with campaigns that didn’t work well with them and let them know where their reputation might need some fixing before they move on with the next step of their strategy.
Creating a Plan of Attack
With strategic planning, companies can look back over their failures and successes in the PR space and come up with new ways to connect with a specific target audience. Most professional PR companies are experts in the art of strategic planning. They know how to align the business objectives of their clients with strategies for sharing key media messages.
Once a company knows exactly what it needs to accomplish in the year ahead, and any hurdles it might need to overcome, they can begin to implement a plan of attack, with the help of their PR firm. The PR agency can even place milestones in the calendar for achieving certain goals. A strategy can also include emergency response ideas for when something goes wrong in your marketing plan, so that you’re never left without a safety blanket.