Businesses can get customers to notice their brand through public relations (PR).
Public relations or PR marketing can be more effective than advertising. Ask Richard Branson or Elon Musk. They get free publicity for their brands whenever they make headline news. Furthermore, PR communication is credible, with 42% of audiences trusting press releases.
However, not all publicity is good publicity. Many brands suffer devastating financial and reputational damage due to poorly managed PR crises. That’s why you need a PR marketing strategy. A PR marketing strategy also ensures you always put your best foot forward.
This article will show you how to develop and execute a strategic PR marketing plan.
What is a PR marketing strategy?
A PR marketing strategy uses media channels to promote and nurture a positive brand image among target audiences. It does this through media relationships, content marketing, event planning, and crisis management.
Let’s say you’re hosting an event to launch a new product. Press coverage gives the product visibility. Content keeps audiences engaged before and after the event. Crisis management deals with negative press.
The primary components of a successful PR strategy include:
- defining PR goals
- identifying key stakeholders
- creating compelling content
- monitoring PR effectiveness
I’ll discuss these later in the article.
Why is public relations important in 2023?
Social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter allow businesses to communicate directly and instantly with customers. You no longer just rely on journalists or media outlets to shape public opinion or perception.
Because there’s now that ease of interaction between customers and brands, PR has taken on an even more important role. PR helps in:
- Brand awareness – PR introduces your brand to new audiences. The more people recognize your brand, the more they consider you in their purchase decisions.
- Reputation management – By associating your brand with specific influencers or publications, you boost your credibility, and target audiences will likely trust you. PR marketing content, on its own, also helps enhance your authority.
- Crisis management – Customers expect companies to be accountable and promptly respond when something goes wrong. PR helps you anticipate and prepare for crisis events.
A PR marketing plan collates all these strategies that help safeguard a brand’s image and reputation. However, it can be hard to create one because of the document’s many moving parts. The good news is, that some agencies specialize in crafting these. With their established media network, they can also easily disseminate your brand messages, providing excellent PR services overall.
Developing a strategic PR marketing plan
The best time to craft a PR strategy is as soon as possible. Here are five steps to create a winning PR plan, whether it’s for long-term image building or a single product launch event.
1. Define PR marketing goals
You must be clear on what your campaigns should achieve. Defining PR goals helps focus your activities and measure success. Without objectives, you’ll waste your PR marketing efforts.
Here are some possible PR marketing goals:
- To improve brand awareness
- To repair brand reputation
- To build media relationships
Whatever your goals are, be sure they are SMART. That means they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Here’s an example of a SMART brand awareness goal statement: “Over the next nine months, I’ll increase brand visibility among Gen Z audiences by 60%. I will do this by running targeted social media ads on Instagram and collaborating with two influencers on TikTok.”
This PR strategy goal specifies who the campaign is for (Gen Z), identifies realistic and attainable ways to engage the target audience (social media ads and influencer marketing), defines a timeline (9 months), and highlights the metric for success (60% increase brand visibility).
2. Identify your target audiences
PR campaigns don’t work unless you correctly identify your target audience.
Enter audience personas. These are data-driven characterizations of your target audience. They include demographics (age, gender, education) and psychographic (lifestyle, values) data, which give a complete picture of your audience.
Here’s a great example of a buyer profile for a beauty brand. It describes the customer’s lifestyle, attitudes towards beauty, and media consumption habits. From it, you learn a campaign focusing on your product’s ingredients will likely resonate.
You can gather the data for your persona by looking at your analytics. You can also ask your target audience straight for the data via surveys and polls, among other strategies.
Just note that each audience segment should have a PR persona. Journalists, investors, and customers have different needs. For instance, ordinary customers don’t care about recovering fallen stock value after a PR crisis. So, an interview with your new COO to increase investor confidence is irrelevant to them, but not to shareholders.
3. Create compelling content
Different content resonates with different audience segments. For instance, journalists will be interested in data-driven content, while the general public may respond better to highly visual social media posts.
The type of content you choose also depends on your PR marketing campaign goal. You’re not going to instantly repair broken customer trust in your food company with a press release. Instead, you can use behind-the-scenes videos as part of your restaurant marketing plan. They give audiences a deeper understanding of your company to help you rebuild trust.
That’s what Tesla did following safety concerns around its technology.
As part of its PR strategy, Elon Musk takes tech influencer Marques Brownlee inside the Tesla factory. They discuss the technology behind their products and highlight operational safety measures.
To determine the type of content that will resonate with your target audience, go back to your persona. Whether it’s a press release, a video, or a blog post, consider audience preferences, interests, and challenges when creating your content.
You may also look at past PR campaigns—not just of your brand but also of other companies—to determine the best type of content to use given a specific PR marketing campaign goal.
4. Track and measure performance
Key performance indicators (KPIs) tell you how well your PR marketing campaigns meet their objectives. So, your KPIs will depend on your campaign goal. If it’s to repair brand reputation, you might look at audience sentiment and measure positive online mentions, for example.
Here are other KPIs a PR manager may track to measure the success of their campaigns:
- Content views – can determine brand reach
- Number of publications that feature you – measures media coverage
- Number of publications that positively feature you - measures quality of media coverage
- Brand mentions compared to your competitors - determines share of voice
Don’t forget financial KPIs like return on investment. PR doesn’t have explicit money-making goals. However, it supports profit-generating processes and must align with your business goals.
PR process and execution (with StoryChief)
Creating an effective PR strategy is half of the process. The other half is putting it into action. You need several tools to execute a winning PR campaign, but managing different apps is inefficient.
StoryChief streamlines the PR process by centralizing content creation and distribution.
1. Writing: Writing PR article with StoryChief's AI
StoryChief’s AI is a writing and SEO tool that helps your PR marketing teams create content to scale. You can brainstorm, write, and optimize high-quality, original press releases in multiple languages.
The AI and SEO assistant optimizes your content while you write. So, if you post your press release on your site, you can ensure search engine visibility as well. The readability score demonstrates how well it engages readers.
Press releases are great for disseminating general information. However, they don’t sustain engagement. You need inbound content to maintain the uptick in web traffic.
This graph shows that blogs are the second leading digital channels for marketers. That makes them a must-have tool.
Blogging goes hand-in-hand with SEO to improve your rank on search engines. It also helps position your company as an industry leader and allows you to earn valuable backlinks to your website. But for that, you need lots of high-quality blog posts.
According to this content marketing study, it takes three hours and sixteen minutes to write a 1,000-word blog post. That’s a lot of time if you create content for multiple brands.
StoryChief reduces the time you spend brainstorming and creating content. It can generate blog titles, outlines, and paragraphs in minutes. Just specify the type of blog post you want, your tone of voice, objectives, among others, and the tool will take it from there. Check out a sample editorial brief used for this.
With its excellent features, StoryChief has helped customers like Salesflare reduce the time to create blog posts–from three hours to just fifteen minutes!
2. Distribution: Distribute your content to ambassadors and your PR list
Today’s customers consume content from multiple channels. As a result, businesses must use a multi-channel approach for their PR outreach. So, you may want to contact traditional media outlets, influencers, and bloggers to help you disseminate that one PR marketing message.
StoryChief allows you to meet these parties where they are. You can distribute content to the members of the press, influencers, and other people on your PR list in one go. The days of copying and pasting content to send manually to each individual are gone.
Furthermore, the app allows you to take advantage of your business’s most powerful influencers – your employees. With the employee advocacy feature, your employees can easily access your content and repost it on their social media profiles.
3. Social media posting and analysis
Social media frees PR marketers from the restrictions of traditional media, allowing them to create and manage their buzz. With social media management tools like StoryChief, you can create and schedule social content in advance.
Furthermore, the analytics and reporting feature helps you identify areas in PR marketing you could improve. With the tool, you can easily track engagement across multiple platforms.
The StoryChief dashboard even breaks down campaign performance by audience reach, likes, impressions, shares, comments, and leads.
The public relations stakes are higher than ever. Social media now allows businesses to communicate instantly and directly with target audiences. That also means you need to be extra careful to safeguard your brand reputation.
That’s why you need a PR strategy. You learned four steps to craft a winning PR plan:
- Identify appropriate goals to focus your PR efforts,
- Understand target audiences to create campaigns that resonate with them,
- Create relevant content for each audience segment,
- Monitor PR campaign performance.
Hopefully, this article has convinced you why a PR marketing strategy is essential. When coupled with PR tools like StoryChief, you’re guaranteed to maintain a positive brand image.
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