Arttia Creative – Guest Blog Post
Our guest blog author is Kathryn Dishman-Baird.
Award winning entrepreneur Kathryn Dishman-Baird is Director of Public Relations and Social Media Consultancy KD Communications.
Kathryn Dishman-Baird, Director, KD Communications
When it comes to promoting your business, a clearly defined, cohesive PR plan can make a real difference to how your brand is perceived in the marketplace. It can help you nurture existing stakeholder relationships, attract new audiences and generate leads that can potentially convert into sales.
So how can you create an effective PR plan?
Whilst it may seem like a daunting prospect, it’s surprising how easily this information will flow once you start the planning process.
Here are six steps to follow to ensure you create the best plan for you.
Take time to assess your PR activities over the past year – think about what worked well, what didn’t and what you can improve on. Ask yourself some key questions (like the ones listed below) and challenge the decisions you’ve made.
- Did it fit in with the overall business strategy?
- Did you reach your goal?
- When measuring your activity was the engagement levels what you wanted?
- Have any leads been converted into sales?
If your objectives have changed over the past year then your plan will need to as well so it reflects your new goals. If you haven’t previously measured your activity then start the process with a fresh perspective and use your brand values as a basis for creating your persona and style.
2. Identify your communications mix
Everything you do needs to reflect what you’re trying to achieve, so picking the right mix of channels to communicate your key messages is very important. How do your existing and prospective customers want to hear from you? It could be via the press, case studies, blogs, videos and social media or networking events. Do some research to find out where your target audiences are most active and build your plan around those channels.
A good way to do this is to monitor your target market – look press, social media channels, and competitor activity. Think of what your ideal client looks like and look at what they do and how they engage with their audiences, this will give you a good insight into how they work and how you make your PR attractive to them.
3. Establish your own editorial calendar
Begin mapping out content that you would like to release over the coming months using the platforms used by your target audiences. List key dates and timings for press releases, blogs, vlogs, events to attend, newsletters and social media updates, maximising the opportunities available from the channels you use. This will be a work in progress and subject to changes throughout the year, but is a great starting point to keep you focused.
4. Ask your target media for their features list
Media outlets like to plan ahead. Use this to your advantage by researching potential opportunities that will benefit your business. The aim is to position you as an industry expert so offer yourself as a knowledgeable source, contribute towards a feature or even suggest one yourself.
This can be an excellent publicity tool for your business so make the most of it and incorporate the features of interest into your plan. To achieve this you will need to build good relationships with journalists working at your target publications, so make contact with them as soon as possible and arrange to meet them. Let them find out more about your business as they may have PR opportunities that will fit your brand.
Begin mapping out content that you would like to release over the coming months using the platforms used by your target audiences. List key dates and timings for press releases, blogs, vlogs, events to attend, newsletters and social media updates, maximising the opportunities available from the channels you use. This will be a work in progress and subject to changes throughout the year but is a great starting point to keep you focused.
5. Make use of free tools available
Blogging and social media have revolutionised the communications industry and can add real value to your business if used correctly. So how can you use these free tools to engage and motivate your audience? Choosing the right platforms is important – if your audience doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter then you shouldn’t either. Invest time and effort focusing on key channels and use them to promote your content. This is an opportunity to create a persona for your brand so make sure it’s the correct one and use it wisely by publishing relevant, timely content.
6. Plan for a crisis
It’s important when developing your plan that you create procedures for any potential negative public reaction to your business. It could be that your name is mentioned in a negative article or comments are made online that reflect badly on the brand. Think about every eventuality and develop responses that ensures your reputation remains intact. Share this with everyone in your organisation so you all respond in the correct way and test your processes to help iron out any potential holes before implementing the plan.
Once you’ve followed these 6 steps you should have a plan to take forward with processes in place to measure activity on a monthly or quarterly basis. When delivering your plan it’s very important to keep on top of your activity to find out if it’s having an impact on your audiences and your reputation. Your market place can change very quickly and with that so will the needs of your target audiences. Make sure if this happens that you change your PR activity to coincide with those changes so you don’t lose your profile.
Planning and re-positioning your PR activity can be an exciting time for your business. Not only will it help generate new ideas, it will also reassure you that you that everything you push out into the public domain will generate positive messages about your brand and is aligned with your overall business strategy. This in itself will help you deliver an effective PR plan that is aimed towards driving tangible results and growth.
Connect with the author.
Director, KD Communications
I would love to meet you on Twitter. Follow @KD_Comms for all of my updates and feel free to share this post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.