Planning a strategic PR effort requires some work upfront, but it’s well worth the time. Start by following the steps below. Let’s take a deeper look at the six core elements that every strategic PR plan must include:
1. Set your PR goals
2. Do your research
3. Identify and understand your target audience
4. Set the objectives (and PR plan timeline)
5. Choose PR tactics
6. Measure results
1. Set your PR goals
Outlining your PR goals is a good place to start when creating your plan. You should think about success looks like and what you want to accomplish with your PR efforts, be it:
- Increasing your fund inflows
- Raising awareness after launching a product (a new fund or ETF)
- Improving relationships with the stakeholders your company does business with
- Entering a new geographic market
- Improving employee productivity and morale
Once it’s clear what your PR goals are, it’s time to take the next step.
2. Do your research
You will want to conduct research and gain a thorough understanding of your goals in the context of the competitive landscape. A good place to start is with a simple SWOT analysis.s.
- STRENGTHS – things the company does well, distinctive brand attributes that set it apart from others, unique proposition
- WEAKNESSES – areas of improvement for the brand, things competitors do better, superior products/services, clarity needed surrounding distinctive brand attributes, unclear messaging
- OPPORTUNITIES – underserved markets, untapped audiences, emerging markets, or new needs for brand’s products/services
- THREATS – emerging competitors, downward trends/need for products/services, industry conflicts, negative audience sentiment
At this point, it’s also crucial to look more closely at the many platforms and channels your brand uses for communication (including your own website, social media profiles, and online newsroom). This is what is referred to as a communication audit—a 360-degree assessment of what and how you communicate to every audience that is significant to you. Read more about Asset Audits for your company here.
Consider the following queries.
- What’s your website like? Is it easy to find, easy to read, easy to navigate? Are the colors, layout, and design legible? Is there anything you think is really important that’s missing? The same goes for your online newsroom
- What’s your social media presence like? Do you have one? If so, how much engagement does it get? Be sure to also see our Social Media Post guide here.
- Were you in the media recently? Was the media coverage positive, negative, or neutral in tone?
- What about the messages in your newsletters, mailings, signs, fliers? Are they the things your audience is interested in? For example, studies have shown employees prioritize what’s going on in the firm much higher than things like anniversaries, birthday announcements, and service celebrations.
3. Get to know your target audiences
PR professionals need to be familiar with a brand’s primary audiences. Age, gender, region of the world, and income are good starting points for basic demographic data, but understanding more qualitative characteristics—such as providing a product that appeals to investors and developing an effective “elevator pitch” to introduce the product to the right audiences—is crucial for developing a PR strategy.
These insights should also factor in which media outlets to pitch. This refers to the press contacts and media vehicles your consumers and potential consumers (target audience) use, see, read, or visit. Keep in mind that while you can strategically target the right media outlets for your specific investor audience, investors are not the only people who may ultimately see your message. Craft your story in a way that speaks to your audiences’ interests and needs, but be careful not to unintentionally exclude other possible readers, such as clients or employees.
Make sure to come back for part 2 of this planning guide.