Megan Redzia - 07/19/2021
Before hiring a public relations agency, it’s important to understand what makes a PR strategy successful. No matter the size of your company or industry you are in, there are six components to an effective public relations program. Find out what they are in this blog post.
The structure of a public relations strategy is what generates results. However, many organizations mistakenly focus initial conversations with public relations agencies on the media outlets in which they want to see their name. “Can you get me in the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal?” Any public relations firm can say yes to this question, but that might not help you achieve your goals.
It’s the strategy a public relations agency develops that will lead to success for your organization. We’ve implemented campaigns for organization of all shapes and sizes across all industries. The one thing that remains consistent across the board for these campaigns is the components that make the strategy successful.
6 Components of an Effective Public Relations Strategy
Defining Clear Public Relations Goals
It might sound basic, but this is critical step that we often see overlooked. When a company comes to us after having an unsatisfactory experience with another public relations agency, usually this step was either skipped or not enough time was spent on it. Determining a company’s goals and objectives should be used by a public relations agency to build the entire framework of a campaign.
Public relations goals should directly support your company’s overarching business goals. For example, if your company is seeking to drive sales of a new CPG food product, then a corresponding PR goal would be to generate product awareness and trial among the target audience. In addition to helping set the stage for the PR strategy, goals will also determine how you will measure success and hold everyone accountable.
Understanding Your Target Audience
This doesn’t just mean knowing your product is for parents between the ages of 25-45. You need to really understand your audience. What other brands do they love? What do they hate? What triggers them to purchase a product? Where are they having conversations online? Truly getting to know your audience can lead to the best PR campaign ideas.
If haven’t already conducted this research, your PR team can help build this process into the strategy. It will require collaboration with your internal team members, but that can lead to some of the greatest insights!
Owning Your Message
Every brand has a story. How you translate that story into messaging that will resonate with your target audience is a key element of a public relations strategy. This requires the development of key messages that will be the foundation of all your communications activity – not just public relations.
Key messages should align with a brand’s overarching mission and identity, speak to the interests/preferences of the target audience, and stand out from competitors. The best key messages are ones that meet the following criteria.
- Concise – Each message should only be 1-3 sentences.
- Relevant – This includes being relevant to your target audience as well as what is going on in the world.
- Compelling – You want your messages to inspire action.
- Memorable – Only your spokespeople need to be able to repeat your key messages, but your audience should be able to recall them.
Media Training Spokespeople
Company leaders who you designate to speak with media or conduct speaking engagements will be the face of your company and can influence how your target audience perceives your brand. Preparing these spokespeople to deliver your key messages in an authoritative and engaging way is essential.
Remember, there is always the potential that your spokespeople will need to address a negative situation. Even the greatest spokespeople can use some media training to feel confident handling an interview in the face of a crisis.
When we conduct media training at 3E Public Relations, we focus on:
- Preparing for a media interview
- Dressing for success
- Delivering key messages
- Responding to tough questions
- Body language
- Post-interview conduct
We also conduct a baseline mock interview at the beginning of the training course, and a post-course interview when training is complete to allow spokespeople to practice interview skills and demonstrate improvement.
To learn more about why your spokespeople need media training, read this blog.
Having Patience in the Process
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and public relations aren’t either. Factors like news cycles and targeted media can impact timelines. That doesn’t mean it will take a year before you see a return on your public relations efforts, but we tell clients it can take a few months to start seeing momentum. The initial few months of most public relations programs involve planning, developing content and building narratives.
As public relations pros, we’re dealing with a rapidly moving news cycle. Thanks to social media channels like TikTok and YouTube, flash media storms can happen at any moment. Companies who can remain agile, stay relevant, and get ahead of trends will have the greatest public relations success. This may sometimes mean getting a bit out of your comfort zone, but it is your public relations agency’s job to make sure you stay true to your brand while being flexible.
No public relations strategy should be cookie cutter because all organizations and target audiences are unique. From our experience, however, incorporating these six components into your public relations strategy will lead to a program that gives your organization the greatest return on its investment.
Looking for ways to make your public relations strategy more effective? I’d love to brainstorm ideas! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.