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Developing a public relations strategy for your business

Every successful business must plan and implement a public relations strategy that is robust and, perhaps more importantly, flexible. At Beyond Fifteen, we recommend that your PR strategy be planned out on an annual basis, considering the full year ahead and with regularly scheduled review periods where you can change track if your existing strategies are proving ineffective.

For existing businesses, an essential element of a public relations strategy is reviewing the previous year’s PR performance with a keen and detached analytical eye. It is vital to evaluate and understand which activities were successful, and which were not. Assess which pitches and angles delivered the most media coverage, and which activities resulted in less coverage. It can also be a valuable exercise to compare your PR performance with that of your key competitors.

Any good PR strategy has at its core an inbuilt consideration of your organization’s overall business objectives and strategies, as these will inform the key messages you want to get out. Ultimately, all public relations work is about informing your target audiences what you as a business want to achieve. It’s also of vital importance to take a step back and view your planned business activities through the eyes of an impartial journalist. Elements of your overall business strategy might be of interest to you, but will they be of interest to media outlets and, more importantly, the final target audience?

Good businesses plan ahead, and you should use your timetable of business activities – new service offerings, expansion activities, product launches and so on – to inform the timing of your PR activities. Create your own PR strategy calendar to plan your press releases throughout the year. Remember that this should be considered a moveable and responsive timetable, rather than a rigid and inflexible framework. Overall business priorities can and do change throughout the year in response to both internal and external influences, and your PR schedule should be flexible enough to accommodate that.

Finally, it’s also important to incorporate crisis planning and  a carefully curated social media strategy into your overall public relations strategy. Bad publicity can come out of nowhere and, in the age of social media, has the potential to spread far and wide – particularly if your business fails to respond to the situation quickly and appropriately. Ensuring you know in advance how to cope with a PR crisis can help to prevent a sticky situation escalating into a public relations disaster.

For more information on developing a successful public relations strategy for your business, contact us.

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