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How to Create a Public Relations Plan

When you’re putting together a PR Plan, before you get too broad, you have to be specific. There are some really important things to establish to make sure you’re dealing with reality. First is the budget. You can write an incredible plan to sell a million widgets if your client has millions of dollars, but usually they don’t. The most important thing to know is how much money you’ll have available. Not all tactics are expensive, and when you don’t have money, you spend time. But it’s essential to know the limit at the beginning.

Most PR Plans follow the same basic format:

  1. Overview

    An executive summary of the marketing challenge you’re facing that the PR campaign is designed to help you meet.

  2. Goals

    What you want the PR campaign to achieve for your firm.

  3. Strategies

    The methods by which you will achieve your goals.

  4. Target audiences

    The types of people you want to reach.

  5. Key target media

    The specific publications and programs toward which you will direct your PR efforts.

  6. Recommendations

    Which PR tactics you will use; other ideas you have; and the theme, hook, or angle for each tactic.

  7. Next steps

    An action plan for who does what and when.

Check out this sample plan for Public Relations For Dummies, 2nd Edition:

  • Overview: To create mass media exposure for yet another how-to business book, with a distinct challenge: to get the press to write about how to get press.

  • Goals: As a result of mass media exposure, this book becomes a bestseller.

  • Strategies: Add a creative and newsworthy element to the book, which adds an enticing reason for journalists to cover it, beyond the value of the content.

  • Target audiences: Primary audience: entrepreneurs and owners of small and mid-size businesses who want to incorporate public relations into a marketing program. Secondary audience: experienced PR professionals who have a continuing desire to look at PR in different ways.

  • Key target media: Lifestyle and business print publications, radio talk shows, morning TV talk shows, television and radio news.

  • Recommendations:

    • Hide a clue within this book. The first person to find the clue gets a prize: an opportunity to pick the author's brain for one hour. The clue is a cell phone number in the 917 area code.

    • Send book to reviewers at major publications with personal notes from author Eric Yaverbaum.

    • Look for a breaking story for which the press would be interested in the opinion of a PR expert and approach as “author of Public Relations for Dummies, 2nd Edition.”

  • Next steps:

    • Assign a writer to write press materials.

    • Clear creative concept with publisher.

    • Creative brainstorm to determine logistics of stunt: how to hide clue, deliver prize, and so on.

    • Develop targeted media lists.

    • Set up initial call with publicity department at publishing house to clearly establish who’s doing what.

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