How To Create A PR Plan For New Businesses

Create PR Plan

Public Relations (PR) is an important skill to acquire and develop as a business owner. When starting a new business, one of your first steps should be establishing a strong PR plan. 

When well-executed, PR can do wonders for your business!

This guide will provide you with the foundations to help start you on the journey of creating a stellar PR plan for your new business.

1. What is Public Relations?

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

But what does that actually mean?

PR is about getting your company’s name out there and creating a recognizable and favored brand.

To do this, PR focuses on crafting and sharing stories about your business’ successes, promotions, and products through a variety of mediums, such as interviews, public events, and features from third-party outlets.

That’s why the key is networking.

Additionally, PR strives to reduce any negative publicity your business may experience, which is the “damage control” aspect of it.

When making your PR plan, it is essential to understand the difference between PR and advertising.

The main distinction is that PR relies on unpaid, earned media while advertising relies on paid, purchased media.

So what does this look like?

Well, PR is getting your business featured in an interview or quoted by a third-party.

Advertising, on the other hand, is paying for an ad for your business that is only featured in “paid media” sections of websites, newspapers, or magazines.

And there are pros and cons to both.

For example, PR is typically much less expensive than paid advertisements, but you will have limited control over the final version of what is released.

Additionally, there is more work involved in PR to persuade the media to pick up your story based on your messages’ relevance and importance.

Consider these differences when creating your PR plan, and determine if and when advertising may be more beneficial for your business.

To recap, PR is about developing positive relationships with local and national media outlets, businesses, and the public to increase awareness of your business. It also serves to mitigate damages of negative publicity.

2. Target Audience Research

The first step to making a first-rate PR plan involves carrying out target audience research.

You want to focus your research on familiarizing yourself with how your target audience consumes news. Look into:

  • Which news outlets do they find credible?
  • What are their preferred sources of news?

As you answer these questions and conduct your research, allow it to influence your tactics.

If your findings reveal that a majority of your target audience reads or watches a particular news outlet then you should try to establish media relations with that news outlet.

Your priority should be your audience, so make sure you know them like the back of your hand!

3. Objectives, Goals, & Tactics

Once you thoroughly know your target audience, it’s time to start writing down the goals and objectives of your PR plan.

Objectives focus on the “big picture” idea of your PR plan, while goals are the steps you need to take to achieve those objectives.

For example, say you’re going on vacation. Your main objective is to have fun and relax, and so you set goals such as going to the beach and getting a massage to accomplish that.

Also, strive to develop objectives and goals that center around your mission and vision. 

By focusing on these principles, you ensure that what you produce for PR remains cohesive and consistent with the essence of your business.

Now let’s get started with objectives.

You want to focus your objectives on long-term aspirations that will take longer than a year to accomplish.

Objectives might include establishing your expertise amongst your audience and crafting your brand’s image.

While your objectives should be specific, remember that they are still general ideas about your business as a whole. All of them should set your business up for future success.

On the other hand, your goals should work to accomplish these objectives.

Create them according to the SMART goal method, which focuses on making goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

A SMART goal example for establishing your expertise is to secure two interviews by credible third-party sources in one year. 

You will then need to determine the tactics, or actionable steps, you can take to fulfill your goals.

This includes planning how to use your readily available resources and how you aim to expand this list of resources.

Your target audience research will come in handy because you can make informed decisions when choosing which tactics to employ.

4. Timetable & Budget

As you develop your objectives, goals, and tactics, you will need to keep in mind your timetable and budget.

These two aspects of your PR plan will allow you to remain organized, disciplined, and focused during your various marketing endeavors.

A timetable is a tool that allows you to look into the future.

It helps you envision the steps you need to take to further promote your business, and, more importantly, when to implement them.

Knowing when to execute certain aspects of your PR plan is the key to success.

For instance, even if your business’s focus isn’t related to female entrepreneurship, consider publishing a post related to this topic on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (November 19), especially if this is one of your target audience’s interests.

This way you engage this portion of your audience during a time when they are hyper-aware of the topic without dedicating too much time to it.

Besides a timetable, you will need to create a budget.

Even though PR relies on unpaid, earned media, it will not always be free. To set your business up for success, you need to keep in mind the initial costliness of PR plans.

However, PR is a significant investment in your business and will contribute to its future prosperity; it’s critical to develop a comprehensive budget dedicated to it.

5. Evaluate & Refine

While it may be tempting to implement your plan and then forget about it, remember that you have to continually evaluate your progress and refine your plan accordingly.

For that reason, include a few spots in your timetable to assess if you’re advancing on your plans in a timely fashion.

If you discover that a specific objective no longer applies to your business, or you’ve accomplished a goal sooner than expected, don’t be afraid to refine your PR plan.

It makes sense that things will change as you further develop your business and implement your tactics. What matters is how you address these changes by updating your PR plan.

Refinements are a sign of progress!

Creating a PR plan is no easy task, but a well-crafted one will help steer your business to the land of success!

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Create PR Plan

Sarai Lopez is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Spanish and Communications with a focus in rhetoric & culture. She loves learning, sharing her knowledge, eating just about any sort of chocolate dessert, and listening to all genres of music. One day she hopes to create a children’s animated series as well as open her very own bakery.

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