A blog from Laura at Spin Sucks made me chuckle today. It's about why her dog hates your PR plan and you should read it, it's very good. But it reminded me that while some of her customers have plans that don't really achieve anything, there's a lot of businesses out there that don't have a bad PR plan, because they don't have one at all. And I get it. There's a lot going on in your business, especially if you have staff.
The number one reason why you need a plan is largely so you end up telling the stories in your business that are important to you, you tell them well in a strategic manner (no knee jerks please), and you gain some traction against your business goals using communications as a tactic. Comms and PR with no plan is like using a chocolate teapot. Don't do it. Messy end.
Sometimes it's not a time or priority issue, it's because you don't know where to start. I know this, because a quick glance at the searches for comms and pr plans in Google, indicate that "Comms plan how", "PR plan template free", and "What's a PR plan" are of a reasonably high level each month.
The bore of doing a Google search to find some insight is that what's on offer is usually either a Government based resource which isn't great as it's a completely different model, or something from the United States which is kinda worse because it's not relevant to New Zealand, or it's something tailored for a specific business and it's just too confusing to pop your own details over the top. And maybe some PR plans you've seen, are fuelled with a single tactic of running to media any chance you get, instead of focusing on integration. So today, you can learn (if you want) how to drum up an integrated PR plan for your organisation - super quick.
1) Pick a story in your business you'd like to share and a minimum of three ways it can be told. A blog, a video, an infographic, a white paper, a webinar, a case study, a podcast, an EDM - pick three. One of the three needs to be a blog on your website, so you have a reference point for metrics.
2) Identify the audience you'd like to hear about your story and make sure that your audience is receptive to at least one of the formats above you've chosen.
3) Write, produce, do the story. Get it peer reviewed to make sure all formats are good.
4) Set up your metrics. The goal is to tell your story, but ideally you want people to engage with it and if that engagement brings them back to your website, they might want to read more about you, sign up to your list, and holy smokes, maybe even buy from you. I know, smart huh? Now if you have a good metric snapshot to start with, you'll be able to see whether or not anyone was interested in your story, which will inform whether you tell those types of stories in the future, or if you need to completely change tack.
Likes on Twitter and Facebook aren't going to cut it sadly, but as an entry point without getting all Gung-ho on it, include things like your website domain authority, your current website visitors, and where visitors have come from to get to your site. If they are predominantly social media traffic, then you'll know to spend a bit of time perfecting your post there. If they are mainly from search, then you might want to consider some paid Google ads if your domain authority is average and you can't compete for page one organically.
Go here to read my blog on metrics, to learn more about it.
5) Media relations. This is a fun one. Typically media relations just meant engaging with mainstream media, but actually, if you've got media relations skills, then you should pitch some of your content (point 1 and 3) to other blogs as guest content. You need to carefully consider whether your story has legs for a mainstream media audience before pitching it to a busy journalist. Business wins business and is happy about it is not something a mainstream journalist will be interested in.
6) Publishing. If you have content going up in other areas get the date they are being published and the link so you can publish your blog with links out to various sites. Your blog will be summing up your story briefly, supported with examples in other places. If you have secured mainstream media coverage, edit your blog post and include this link when it's out.
That's it. If you've gone through these steps more or less, you've planned and executed one story. Take a look at your metrics. What are the differences you can see? Did you have more visitors to your website? Did you have more views of existing content? Did anyone sign up to your list? Analyse what new things have happened, make your tweaks for the next story, rinse and repeat.
Lou Draper is Managing Partner of Draper Cormack Group and a public relations veteran. Originally from Auckland, she is now living, working and breathing public relations, personal brand and content curation in Wellington City.