Every company or organization has a unique story to tell, and a public relations strategy can help you tell a powerful brand story. It’s critical to develop strategic PR to raise brand awareness and promote engaging content that customers want to read. But first, let’s go over the core components of a PR plan, why you need one, and how to construct one.
What is a PR strategy?
A public relations strategy aids your company in organizing its public relations (or media relations) activities and making strategic decisions about how to interact with its target audience. If you implement your strategy correctly, it can help control your organization’s public impression. Creating and implementing a public relations plan can help brands generate press interest in their products or services and earn media coverage with stories that resonate with their various audiences.
PR, often known as “earned media,” can be used to increase website traffic, engage and connect with target audiences, build community ties, and promote brands in a more natural and trustworthy way. It’s critical to use media channels to attract more potential customers or clients while raising brand recognition.
Business goals and activities are easier to discuss with target audiences when you have a sound PR strategy. The strategy directs [often multichannel] communication of the key message, maximizing efforts and raising awareness. This impacts branding and marketing and shapes the organization’s perspective during a crisis. Organizations that are successful in conveying their aims to the public and highlighting their subsequent successes are more likely to be viewed positively, even while facing a setback.
Components of a PR strategy
Before we dive into the process of creating an effective PR strategy, let us look at some components of a sound strategy.
Hosting events for media contacts is an excellent way to cultivate meaningful media relationships. Journalists are more likely to remember your brand if they can interact with you one-on-one. An engaging brand experience is memorable, and it increases the likelihood of both journalists and potential clients remembering you with a smile.
Take media representatives on a visit to your workplace to meet the crew, or create a festival so they can watch customers enjoying your product. Stories are built on the concrete, human side of a brand, and journalists will remember a good brand story for years to come.
2) Crisis communications
You must create a good relationship with your stakeholders while things are going well so that you can maintain those relationships when times are tough. Most brands will run into a few crises at one point or another. You’ll need both the protocol and the personnel to negotiate turbulent seas during a crisis. This is true regardless of whether the crisis is serious – for example, your CEO making an insensitive remark – or you made a mistake with your content – for example, a humorous spelling error.
During a crisis, having strong relationships with the media will be crucial. You’ll need a good company spokesperson, solid media ties, skilled personnel, an explicit protocol, and suitable briefing materials to keep your brand intact during the crisis. Having a plan to respond quickly and win back the public’s trust is critical to your brand’s survival.
3) Internal PR
Strong brands set out to build positive relationships with all members of an organization, not just the general public. This means you’ll have to work just as hard on your ‘internal PR’ as you undoubtedly will on your external communications strategy. Creating internal communications processes, in the form of newsletters, events, and training, can be an excellent place to start.
Journalists are considerably more willing to cover organizations with happy employees because their brand story is more trustworthy. Furthermore, especially in times of crisis, your internal communications directly impact your external communications. Your employees may feel anxious, confused, or make assumptions about the situation if you don’t communicate adequately with them.
Maintaining transparency with your employees will help them maintain their status as crucial brand ambassadors, so make sure to keep them informed. Regular check-ins with employees ensure that they are aligned with the brand narrative. Most importantly, keeping in close contact with your employees will boost employee satisfaction as well as their confidence in the brand and the management.
4) Thought leadership
Humans are tribal by nature. To gain the respect of your colleagues, the general public, and the media, you must first demonstrate a thorough understanding of your industry, as well as the requirements and values of this industry. In order to build solid media partnerships, you need to have influence. Thought leadership allows you to increase your impact by presenting your knowledge, unique ideas, and unique approach to your profession.
Once you establish yourself as a major voice among your peers, it’ll be easier to find space for yourself at the center of industry discussions. In order to develop a reputation as a thought leader, you must not only share your perspective but also identify specialists within your firm and get their thoughts out there.
There are many methods to showcase expert ideas, from op-eds/bylines to presenting at conferences and events to brand journalism (such as company blogs), online newsrooms, and your own social media platforms.
5) Digital public relations
Your online reputation is undoubtedly one of the most significant, with roughly 5 billion people accessing the internet every day. Building a digital presence may help your brand become well-known, and maintaining your SEO is critical to outperform the competition and avoid negative press.
Build domain authority with the help of your company’s SEO specialist to get greater control over what potential clients find when they search for you. One negative story or comment can be immortalized on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) or a social media timeline without your action, becoming a significant part of your brand’s history. Paid placements are another way to boost your SEO. However, use caution when employing these techniques. If you’re in the middle of a catastrophe, it is preferable for someone looking for you to receive a measured reaction from a spokesperson. This is better than making a botched attempt to cover it up, like an advert that’s obviously been created for window-dressing purposes.
There are plenty of effective digital strategies that you can use to improve your online reputation. Ensure that your product and brand messaging are consistent across all channels. Work with your marketing staff to ensure that your social proof (such as product or service reviews) is always positive. If they aren’t, talk to your customers to figure out why.
People are significantly more likely to trust the opinions of similar people than they are to trust the thoughts of a faceless corporation. You can use your online newsroom to build a positive and engaging narrative for your media coverage while enhancing your inbound PR, an important aspect of reputation management.
6) Integrated Marketing & Communications (IMC)
PR and marketing have long had a symbiotic relationship, and the places where they intersect will only grow as digital activities progressively take over communication. Marketing will earn you rapid victories and boost sales, whereas PR concentrates on aspects that demand long-term investments, such as connection building and reputation management.
Whether or not a firm has a consistent brand narrative may make or break it. It’s critical that you collaborate with marketing (and, yes, sales) to ensure that you’re all on the same page with your brand and product messaging. You’ll need a strong company purpose and vision to serve as a strong foundation for all of your messaging for this. You can create brand reputation and sales together, brick by brick, by working closely with all internal organizations.
7) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The ‘winner takes all’ approach that formerly ruled brands is now giving way to one that prioritizes the greater good. Businesses that do not take significant steps to reduce their carbon footprint or contribute to a better future will not survive the next 20 years.
It’s critical to allocate a significant percentage of your company’s resources to address some of society’s problems. The COVID-19 epidemic resulted in several fantastic examples of how people’s expectations of brands have altered. More specifically, 71% of consumers agreed that if they believe a brand prioritizes profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand for good.
Your brand will quickly become obsolete if you do not demonstrate social responsibility. Keeping your reputation intact requires ensuring that your brand is active in this sphere. Moreover, you need to continuously indicate how you are backing up your awareness of your responsibilities with tangible action.
How do you create an effective PR strategy?
1) Start with a goal
Starting a PR campaign without a clear end objective in mind can be difficult, especially for sales-driven businesses with specific quarterly and annual revenue targets. Depending on the most logical approach to judging your achievement, these goals can be quantitative or qualitative.
Whatever the aim is, keep in mind that it must be explicit, measurable, and have a deadline for evaluation. “To get from (one position) to (another position) by (date)” is a standard goal-setting equation that you can adapt to your situation.
2) Confirm audiences
Different audiences tend to spend time in different places. Consider the target audience for Brand A, a popular coffee shop predominantly found in college towns across the United States. Brand A focuses its PR efforts on online media like BuzzFeed because it targets college-age men and women who spend most of their free time on their mobile devices. By confirming they’re going to the right places to meet their audiences, PR pros can better identify targeted media outlets, which will pave the way for more targeted pitches and interesting stories to share.
3) Tell a compelling story
Communicators can more easily determine and share the brand’s story once the audience and targeted media outlets have been defined. The story should incorporate important statements that relate to the brand’s values and mission and the brand’s current or desired reputation as a result of the PR campaign. Consider creating a newsroom that mixes each of the target audience’s important themes into bite-sized or easy-to-skim stories with the goal of captivating website visitors and encouraging them to stay on the site longer and see numerous pages.
Remember that stating who or what the brand is isn’t enough; the brand must execute its claims and ideals outside of publications and press releases. When the sentiment of an article is reflected in ratings reviews and social media updates, it becomes a fact in the eyes of the consumer. Consumers can usually identify when a brand isn’t authentic or doesn’t live true to its brand principles. Take a stand and be who you claim you are, or you’ll be ousted on social media faster than you can apologize.
4) Get creative
Consumers today get their news and information from a variety of places, including social media, blogs, and podcasts. A solid public relations approach goes beyond traditional journalism to woo target audiences where they already acquire their information.
However, a strong PR plan still relies on establishing relationships between the PR professional (brand voice) and the media contact at its core (amplifier). A good relationship can make the difference between a journalist reading an email or hitting delete before they’ve even opened the email. This is true regardless of whether you’re working with a small market fashion blogger or a reporter from The New York Times.
To establish a solid relationship with the appropriate media professionals, it is essential to compile a media list of individuals that best fit your business. You can achieve this on your own, or you can hire PR agencies like Pressfarm to do the task for you.
Do you need help executing your public relations strategy? Pressfarm’s team of account managers, writers and PR specialists can create world-class content and design a strategy to push it out to leading journalists in your field. With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts and an eye-catching media kit, you can create an impression in your niche. The team at Pressfarm can go one step further and distribute this content widely, in addition to doing targeted pitching for your brand.
If you’d prefer to do your own media outreach, you can use our custom media lists as well as our media database of over 1 million contacts to connect with journalists. Check out our packages and start generating publicity for your brand today.
Having an effective PR strategy is not solely about creating newsworthy content; you need to consider many factors and develop a multi-faceted approach so that your brand can stand out from the competition. When done correctly, all components of a PR strategy should get a company the media coverage that works for the business.