Various businesses have used public relations strategies to infiltrate the market and increase target audience interest. Today, the scope of practice has been slightly expanded. A PR strategy can be viewed as a guideline or framework through which a company and public relations professionals design strategies to increase brand awareness, shape public opinion, strengthen customer loyalty, and generate leads.

The essence of public relations strategies can shift depending on business needs and requirements, so there is no right or wrong way to design it.

Let’s go through several steps for developing a comprehensive PR strategy.

1. Market research

To develop a solid PR strategy, you should conduct research and gain a thorough understanding of your brand, including relevant trends, media narrative, and audience sentiments. Begin with a basic SWOT analysis:

STRENGTHS – what the brand does well, distinguishing brand characteristics that set it apart from competitors, resources available to support brand growth, leading products/services.

WEAKNESSES – areas for brand improvement, things competitors do better, superior products/services, clarity required around distinguishing brand attributes, complicated messaging

OPPORTUNITIES – untapped markets, emerging markets, or new needs for a brand’s products/services

THREATS – emerging competitors, declining product/service demand, industry conflicts, negative audience sentiment

At this stage, it’s also critical to examine how your brand communicates via various channels and platforms (including your website, social media profiles, and media field).

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2. Specifying PR Goals

Outline the objectives you intend to accomplish. This is where SMART objectives come into play. Your public relations objectives should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound.

Most importantly, your public relations goal should be linked to your overall business goal. Achieving your PR goal should help you achieve your business goal.

 

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3. Defining your target audience

Your target audience is not limited to prospects and clients only. It can include stakeholders, employees, and members of the general public. Individuals or groups of people can be your target audience, as can businesses or communities. Successful businesses understand their target audience and can tailor their message to them.

Ask yourself these questions at this stage: 

1. Who would be interested in my business?
2. Who could have the greatest impact on my business outcome?
3. Where would they learn about positive and negative news about my business?
4. Who would act and buy my products and services?
5. Formulating key messages

One of the most important aspects of developing an effective public relations strategy is your message. Begin by asking yourself the following questions to help you develop your key messages:

What do I want the public to know about my company?

• What is the vision or mission of my company?

• What exactly is my elevator pitch?

• Why should the public be interested in me rather than my competitor?

Remember that key messages can vary significantly depending on the target audience’s needs and interests.

4. Choosing PR tactics

PR tactics and tools include press releases, social media posts, events, direct mailing, video production, blogging, media relations, and influencer marketing. The most important thing, however, is that they support your brand positioning.

5. Measure results

For different communication channels, we use different metrics.

For social media you could implement:

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Referrals
  • Growth (Likes, followers, etc.)

For events you could measure:

  • Number of sponsors
  • Attendee’s feedback

For a website you could choose to measure:

  • Traffic (new & repeat visitors)
  • Page views
  • Referrals

There are other important metrics such as:

  • Brand mentions
  • Feedback from influencers

Good marketing starts with having interesting and educational content, but overall, it’s clear that a public relations strategy helps in strengthening the company and brand identity. Additionally, businesses with stronger brand identities not only distinguish themselves from key competitors but also establish themselves as a reliable brand that customers and employees can readily identify with.

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