Have you started your business planning for 2017 yet?
No major if you haven't. Some business owners usually do that on the mini-break between Christmas and New Year, so you've plenty of time if that's how you roll.
While we can't write your entire business plan, we can help with PR planning. And that my friends, should be a reasonably big section of your business plan and if it isn't, then you need to make it so.
PR is not messing around with press releases, sending them to a cast of thousands in the hope someone will care about your news, PR is how you talk to the people that matter. That could be customers, stakeholders, and media. It could be influencers, industry colleagues, staff, and your favourite Aunt who loves telling everyone about your business and what you're up to.
So if we look at PR as "What you are going to say and when" it makes a bit more sense why you'd want to place some weight on its importance.
Here's how to get it started super quick, so you can get back to your holiday cocktails.
1) Editorial calendar aka content plan
An editorial calendar or a content plan is the central hub to your PR plan. It's the place to write down and schedule all the evergreen content you know your audience will enjoy that isn't time sensitive. This could be industry news, new and exciting things you're doing in your business, expertise to strengthen what you'd like to be known for, guides that are useful to people - that sort of thing. It could be in the format of blog posts, a regular mail out, or other types of content you know your audience respond well to.
When the flexible, evergreen content ideas have been panned out, (you can get help with doing this), you need to focus on things you envisage that will be time-sensitive. If you're an accountant, you might like to consider notifying your audience when various tax returns or provisional payments are due. If you're a charity, adding your appeal week and supporting content around that time could be useful.
By this point, you should have a content plan that is half-full leaving the remainder for all the current news and events that you can't predict will happen. In the case of last month's natural disasters, you know that important communications regarding your operations are far more important than your evergreen content, so the gaps are for you to shuffle around the flexible topics for things that are more urgent and time-sensitive.
2) Where does media fit in?
Some of those topics of yours could very well be topics that mainstream media is interested in. I'll be honest, business gets business and is happy about it, is not a story the media are interested in. So before you get stuck in crafting a media release it's likely to be a waste of time.
So, if we keep in our minds, that mainstream media is not going to be interested in the majority of your stories, we need to reach out to different types of media. Guest posts are it, my friends! Make a list of all the company and industry blogs relevant to your business and pitch your individual content idea to them. You'll need to learn about their blog site, figure out if you think there's a match and if they say yes, ask if they will link back to your own website. If their domain authority is higher than yours and they agree to a link back, that's some good ranking gold for you. If not, feel free to pitch the story anyway as they could have some interesting traffic that could be useful for you.
If you're in a tech business, you can submit all of your news to sites like What is IT Wellington.
For any of this work to have a purpose, you need to set up some seriously measurable metrics. Google analytics makes it real easy to figure out whether the work you're doing is driving more eyeballs to your content and whether that is having a positive effect on your business. In order to do this easily, make your website as the benchmark. Out of all traffic that flows to your website, how much of it came from:
1) guest posting on other blogs
2) social media channels
3) mainstream media
4) other platforms and channels you use to share your stories
Knowing what's popular will give you insight into what you should focus on the most as that's what your audience is telling you they like.
1) Content plans are the best, easiest way to sort your PR for next year
2) Reach out to other media types not just mainstream
3) Measure everything
(Disclaimer: What is IT Wellington is run by Draper Cormack Group)
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.