When you first start working as a PR specialist for your brand, developing a 90-day PR plan can help maximize your chances of succeeding in this role.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt was first elected as president in 1932, he inherited the United States’ worst economic catastrophe (at the time), the Great Depression. He began taking action and establishing the groundwork that would decide the success of his first term in the White House with remarkable speed. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the phrase “first 100 days,” which has come to symbolize the importance of the initial 3-month period in a new role.
What is a PR specialist?
No two jobs in public relations are alike. There are as many distinct definitions of public relations as there are of public relations experts. There are also many different types of public relations. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), job functions in this field include media relations, marketing communications, social media, community relations, special events, crisis management, research, and employee communications.
The average PR professional will typically be in constant contact with both internal business leaders and executives and the larger constituencies affected by a company’s product and policies. These include consumers, shareholders, employees, and the media.
A typical day for a PR specialist would include the following tasks: Keeping the public informed about the organization’s operations, addressing press inquiries about a specific topic, pitching the media about a particular corporate effort, or publishing information and news releases externally on behalf of the corporation. Public relations may fall under the category of public affairs at a government agency, and the function will involve explaining policies, managing campaigns, and navigating political channels. Regardless, an excellent public relations professional will spend most of their day communicating with different publics – in print, in person, on the phone, and through social media and digital channels.
The nature of the work is fluid, and a PR professional’s day isn’t always predictable. Unexpected challenges may arise, such as a major crisis, organizational change, or news development. Tasks that commonly arise include monitoring for news, maintaining contact with journalists, scheduling speaking engagements, disseminating talking points and proper messaging, responding to general inquiries, and speaking directly to the press on behalf of a client. All of these would take precedence over existing daily tasks.
General responsibilities of the role
To get your client’s message and name out there, you’ll need a combination of analysis and strategy. In order to understand how and when to pitch and engage the media and the quality of stories that will capture the public’s attention, a PR professional must be acutely aware of current events, industry trends, and influences, both geopolitically and economically, in the news cycle. With the advancement of technology, the rise of social media, and the sophistication of digital tools, communications initiatives can now be more directly measured and linked to business outcomes. This allows public relations professionals to collaborate with marketing and advertising departments while also expanding their traditional responsibilities.
Today’s PR professionals use a suite of communications and marketing disciplines to provide critical insights, develop differentiated positioning, and deliver an organization’s message across multiple channels.
The more traditional PR abilities that are normally required include: reputation and crisis management, media relations, writing news releases, running press conferences, obtaining media interviews, media training, and working as a business spokesperson.
Communication campaigns are more clearly monitored and related to business outcomes due to the spread of technology, increase in social media, and sophistication of digital technologies. This creates additional opportunities for public relations experts. Many public relations professionals have added brand journalism, integrated marketing communications, analytics, and sophisticated community management systems to their work descriptions.
Stages Of “The First 90 Days” as a PR specialist
The focus in the first 90 days should be on acclimating to a new environment and strategizing for small victories. Listening, planning, and executing are the three stages of this phase.
Stage 1: Listening
Once you’ve popped champagne to celebrate your new position and updated your LinkedIn status, the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with your new organization. You must begin with the basics to connect your actions with the company’s strategic goal. Begin by listening and monitoring your surroundings before calling any shots.
Every entrepreneur story you’ve ever heard has a superhero story woven into it. It all begins with a desire to create something better, faster, and more efficient. Sleepless nights followed by a succession of tragic events and serendipitous (and ideally timed) pivots that lead to joyful endings are all part of the entrepreneur’s journey. Take, for example, EVBox. This is a company that first began with a goal to provide intelligent and scalable charging infrastructure for emission-free mobility and has grown to include more than 150,000 charging stations in more than 70 countries. They are currently setting the standard for global sustainable mobility.
Outline your purpose
It all starts with a strong desire to make a positive difference in the world: purpose. What kind of change do you want to see in your company? Having coffee with the founder is an excellent way to find out where improvements need to be made. Your role as a communications specialist is to protect your company’s mission and communicate it to others outside the company. If getting in touch with the founder is difficult, sit down with some of your team’s most experienced members to figure out what the company’s DNA is made of.
Understand the structure
How do things function in this place? Who makes the decisions? Investigate your company’s structure to learn more about your team’s work mechanics. What is the structure of the communications department? What role does my public relations team play? Apart from practical facts such as organizational charts, one way to obtain a sense of reality is to talk to coworkers. Have a casual coffee conversation with these people so that you can learn about their main tasks and working style. Remember to include one or two personal questions. If you establish a rapport early on, your teammates will be more likely to give you the inside scoop on how things function around the workplace.
Determine your strategy
If your company mission is what you stand for and your vision is where you want to go, then your strategy is how you get there. To be successful in your new position, you must connect your efforts with the company’s objectives. Refrain from criticizing and forming opinions on how things are done. Simply ask questions and allow yourself time to develop a well-supported argument: each organization operates differently.
Set your expectations
You should establish clear expectations to ensure that all parties are on the same page. Regardless of how well you believe you understand your responsibilities, having an open and honest discussion with your superior is crucial so that both sides are on the same page. Remember that feedback loops are built during the first 90 days on the job. You will develop positive momentum in your role if you use that time to chart a clear path.
Stage 2: Planning
The focus in this phase should be on preparing your future actions when you’ve acquired a view of your company’s structure, purpose, and strategy. Transitions should be seamless, but they are prone to errors that lead to failure. Fortunately, a little forethought and oversight can go a long way.
Analyze your tools
Begin your preparation by gathering an overview of the useful PR tools in your department and gaining access to them. What should someone in the industry be on the lookout for? First, find out what software your new company utilizes and familiarize yourself with it. To expedite the learning process, schedule a quick call with the company’s software specialist for a walk-through. We should also mention that using a password manager will save you time and effort by providing fast and secure access to everything you need.
Could your company benefit from some new tools?
Another useful thing to consider is whether your organization has a press page. A press page is your company’s public face. It enables you to have a two-way dialogue with the media by making your news easily accessible. A well-developed press page generates inbound press inquiries and increases the likelihood of journalists who have never heard of you before accepting your proposals.
Set your goals
Is there a short-term and long-term strategy in place? What does your role have to do with that? Finding low-hanging fruit is one way to get started. Identify some minor improvements you can make right away that will help you develop your credibility. Inquire with the marketing/communications team about what could be improved. Is there anything they’ve been meaning to accomplish for a long time but haven’t gotten around to yet? Curiosity and initiative will always make a positive impression.
Stage 3: Executing
Start with small wins
The first 90 days were spent laying the groundwork for long-term results. But how do you do it? You are welcome to inquire. It’s all about the little victories, after all. Achieving specified objectives will pave the path for more significant milestones in the future. Small but significant victories will help you generate momentum for positive change and develop credibility with your peers.
Beware! You may find yourself taking on too many chores in your drive to please, strive, and succeed. Staying focused on 3 or 4 precise and quantifiable objectives is the key to success.
Ask for help
You’re just human, after all. Mistakes are bound to occur. Remember that part of being self-aware is recognizing when you need assistance. During the first 90 days, you may make mistakes until you get the hang of it.
Have faith in yourself. If you got the job, this should be sufficient evidence of your abilities. Take the time to ask questions and have faith in yourself because you know what you’re capable of. It’s also important to take initiative. People in the PR industry are often exceptionally enthusiastic. Don’t be afraid to face criticism because you’ll be getting a lot of it at work. If you are open to suggestions and critiques, you will find your place in this market.