Quite frequently, when people hear of a PR plan, the assumption for some is, it is a general plan and you only have to fill in the blanks.
However, my experience has taught me that for every activity that needs PR support, there has to be a specific PR plan in place and preferably approved by the client. These are the reasons why;
Setting Objectives & how to achieve them
Like all good plans in general, a PR plan will help you set your objectives and at the same time clearly define how you intend to achieve those goals. Now as professionals while supporting our clients, we encounter many projects in the pipeline that will need support. Truth be told, the way Project A will be executed is not necessarily the way you will execute Project B. This may probably be because a company is targeting different audiences with different products which bring me to another important aspect.
Identifying your audience
When preparing a PR plan, the first thing that comes to mind is who you will be communicating to.
Which stakeholders would you like to reach out to? Is it government officials, financials, millennials? And once you have identified your target audience, what communications channels will you use? How are you going to engage them? Let’s not forget the aspect of messaging in this segment which should be tailored to a particular audience.
All this should be considered. I have experienced clients’ events that were executed and not necessarily in the right channels to engage audiences.
For instance, you might want to promote a lifestyle product through lifestyle channels and financials through business segmented channels.
If you are looking to achieve specified goals, the audiences and purposes here are totally different and cannot be mixed. Remember, for a country like Uganda that has very few mainstream media outlets, being meticulous is very crucial.
When I started this piece, I mentioned somewhere that the PR plan must have been approved by the client.
I find this one of the most important factors of all. It is very vital for you the PR professional and the client to be in agreement on what is going to be executed for a particular project. This among other things helps avoid potential disagreements especially when working within timelines. The Plan also helps counter expectations from both you and the client. When that plan has been approved, everybody should be able to abide by it. Not because there is no room for flexibility but because you have got to think of the other projects you are working on concurrently with this particular project.
This is equivalent to accountability. You will be able to constantly check on your proposed deliverables in line with the timelines set in the PR plan. You will be able to assess yourself accordingly and when drafting your PR report, it is easier to measure your achieved PR AVE to the one proposed in the plan.