Public relations is not just blindly writing press releases or pitching journalists, but a comprehensive strategy designed to promote your business. The following steps should help you determine whether or not your company has developed a comprehensive public relations strategy.
The goal of public relations is to effect consumer behavior. The first step of your public relations strategy should be take into consideration your potential customer base and what you want them to do: buy more of one of your products, ignore a chain store in favor of your small business, embrace your business opening up a new location in their town. Be as specific as possible when determining your goals for changing the behavior of your potential customer base: “We want a 25 percent increase in sales for [Product X] in [Region Y],” rather than “We want an increase in sales.”
Your customer base is not one large, undifferentiated mass. It’s a highly specific aggregate of many different demographics, each with specific needs and wants. When building a comprehensive public relations strategy, determine which of these demographic groups will react most favorably to your stated goals: Which demographic groups have previously show an interest in your products or services? Which new demographic groups do you hope to reach? These demographic groups should be your public relations priorities.
In order for your public relations strategy to effectively reach these priority demographics, you need to study their background, habits, and preexisting opinion of your company, product, and/or industry. This research can be an in-depth process, or you can choose a sample group from your priority demographics and conduct interviews.
What key messages will most effectively energize your priority demographics and get them to pay attention to your public relations strategy? What are the unique qualities of your company or product? Your key messages should be a handful of concise statements that are directly related to getting your public relations strategy across as effectively ass possible.
The next step is getting your public relations messages out to those priority demographics. Aside from pitching your public relations strategy to journalists, TV producers, and other members of the media, you can try:
— Develop logos, signage, and art with a consistent, striking look.
— Train employees on how to advance your public relations strategy and key messages.
— Hold events open to the public related to your public relations goals; visit public events and trade shows operated by other companies and organizations to get ideas.
— Involve your company in charitable causes and local volunteer work; encourage employees to get involved as well.
— Apply for awards programs in your industry
— Develop an email or print newsletter
— Build a web site, blog, or message board devoted to your public relations strategy
Create a timeline for your public relations strategy. Set clear goals and responsibilities.
Regularly evaluate the success of your public relations strategy. Design it so that changes can be easily made if it seems one aspect is not working correctly.
You can’t always be in control of your company’s public image, but you can help direct and shape the publicity you receive with a comprehensive public relations strategy.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.