Most communications officers know what public relations mean, but rarely do they fully understand everything that should be covered when planning a company’s PR activities for an entire year to come. It’s not only the media, stakeholders or even social media influencers that need to be watched. It’s also about deciding how the company should be seen in the market, region and society. In the end the question is simple: what does your company stand for?

Creating and maintaining your public relations is actually one of the most important tasks in the company. It shouldn’t be dumped on the freshly hired assistant but handled with strategy and skill by a seasoned PR professional. A company cannot survive without good relations with the society it operates in, with its competitors, NGOs, political decision makers, labor unions and other relevant interest groups.

Good public relations and a positive reputation help companies in difficult situations. Only strong, durable brands survive crises.

The following checklist will help you build a solid public relations plan for your company:

  1. Don’t cut back on hours with your Situation Analysis

Always do your homework. Even if you’re an experienced company employee. Figure out what kind of impact your company wants to make next year. Which groups do you aim to persuade or charm? Are the needed actions possible in your current market situation or societal status? When economic stagnation comes knocking on your door it makes many things much more difficult. With a proper situation analysis, you can paint a clear picture of the current climate and scenery of your company’s business and its messages.

  1. Define your company purpose

Put in the words what your company aims and stands for. Make it crystal clear. Without purpose there is no sense of direction – and thus no real impact.

  1. Define the goal

No goal – no go. Always have a clear goal for your PR activities. How else would you be able to see if you have succeeded or not?

  1. Objectives split your goal into measurable units

Define KPI’s that you can use for measuring your success level and adjusting your plans and actions for the coming years.

  1. Remember to define your target audience every year

You’d be surprised how frequently both your target audience as well as target media can change.  Nowadays the target media could easily be an influencer instead of print media. Your investments in social media could be bigger than ever due to a new popular channel.

  1. Take time with the right key messages

One size does not fit all. When you’ve defined your target audience and media it’s time to compile the right key messages. Keep in mind what’s right for some, might be completely wrong for others. But this is why the digital age is so great: it enables us to use several messages in different channels and allows us to tailor messages according to the recipient.

  1. The right content in the right form

While traditional text content is not by any means outdated, we now also have other ways to convey our message to the chosen audience. Consider a video or a podcast instead of a press release. Surprising has value in itself.

  1. Don’t be stingy!

Companies invest hundreds of thousands to new products and services. When allocating money for the launch budget and PR activities it’s definitely not the time to start saving up and cutting costs. Remember, you only have one shot at a successful launch! Make sure it’s well thought out and the activities are big and visible enough. This is also the right time to utilize those well-built, good public relations that you’ve put effort into earlier.

If you wish to learn more about creating a PR plan for your company, or you are looking for some templates to follow when creating your own PR plan, visit the PRGN website / Tools & Templates section and download our PR plan template to help your work. And if you need further help drafting your PR plan and making it work, see which of our member firms may be the closest to your market or field of expertise here:

Paivi Holmqvist
Paivi Holmqvist
Managing Director, hasan communications
Päivi Holmqvist has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Gothenburg, Sweden and a MBA in Marketing from University of Jyväskylä, Finland. In 1994, she started her working carreer in the publishing industry at the leading book publisher in Finland, WSOY, first as an editor of non-fiction books following project manager in direct marketing and, finally, as a PR officer. From 2007, she worked as account director at Miltton, one of the biggest PR agencies in Finland, moved after four years to a large marketing communications agency, Zeeland Family, to the role of business unit director and finally, in 2016, she moved to hasan communications, a company of hasan & partners Group, as managing director. Päivi is a passionate communicator, who thinks that Public Relations are a key factor to company success.

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