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How to Adapt Your PR Plan in a Digital Era

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Updated By: Dominique Bohler on Tue, Apr 24, 2018

Recently, I've been doing some digging into the perfect digital PR plan, and let me tell you, there are lots of versions out there. I've seen everything from traditional word document press releases to paid sponsorships for Insta-famous influencers. It's no wonder people have a difficult time defining their PR strategy and the things it should include. 

If this sounds like you, this blog will give you some guidance and support in your PR efforts. If you're interested in learning how you can bring together traditional and digital PR tactics for your next PR strategy, keep reading! 

Traditional/Digital PR Plan Example:

In general, most of the articles I've researched outline similar steps needed in order to execute a successful PR plan. If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be these steps: 

  • Research - Use this step to determine what was successful for your PR department in the past. Look into the previous year's media coverage to determine which media outlets, reporters, influencers, and contributors took time to cover your company. What worked and what didn't'? 

  • Business Goals - What does your business want to accomplish in the next year? Use this step to discuss and define the goals that your leadership team. Is increased revenue in a particular region a goal? Is an increase in clients a goal? 

  • Objectives - Determine the ways PR can help in reaching these business goals. Keep these high level and focus on things like reputation and relationship efforts or tasks. Things like "Build regional awareness" or "Generate sales leads in the Midwest" are great objectives to start with. 

  • Target Audience - Who do you need to be talking to in order to execute your PR objectives? These audiences could be different for each objective you create. This might be specific media outlets, influencers within a business vertical, or journalists in a certain region. Identify who they are AND their key players so you can create a strategy to target them (see next step).  

  • Strategy for Objectives - What's your plan of attack for the objectives you previously outlined? Take a high-level approach when defining the efforts you need to execute in order to tackle your objectives. Don't worry too much about identifying the step-by-step approach to achieving these (this comes in the next step). Your strategy should connect the dots between all of the steps previous to this one (i.e. target audience, objective, and business goal).
    • For example: We will generate "Strategy Effort A" by sharing "Strategy Message B" with target audience "C" to support objective "D" which will impact business goal "E".

  • Tactics for Strategy - Here's where you get into the nitty-gritty. Start by outlining how you plan to execute each step in the strategy. For example, if your strategy includes generating positive press coverage, you might identify SMART online media outlets to target, utilize their editorial calendar, and begin building relationships with influencers/contributors who have a connection to it. This is the step where digital plays the biggest hand. Some of the most common digital PR tactics being used in today's digital era include:

    • rawpixel-com-252130-unsplashCreating optimized digital press release using keywords
    • Utilizing an online newsroom as a personal media outlet
    • Building relationships & engage with influencers
    • Monitoring trending content & pitch to editors
    • Managing online reviews, comments, and conversations
    • Utilizing social accounts and blog for building credibility
    • Targeting webinar and podcast hosts for speaking opportunities 

  • Timeline - Based on the size of your goals/objectives/strategy and the number of tactics you have created to support these, you can determine a timeline. This will be your "guide" for your plan. I say this loosely because as we know, PR is definitely a fluid practice. You have to be ready to do some adapting as tactics start to take-off or become unproductive. 

  • Budget - This one is a biggie. If you don't have the dollars to support the time and work going into the tactics outlined in your plan, you'll find yourself in trouble. Make sure you have a clear vision of the time, materials, and resources needed to support your PR plan from start to finish (and communicate them with your leadership time). 

  • Success - You've already identified the goal you are trying to reach; however, it's essential you acknowledge the "little wins" to help you reach your goal.  Which metric aligns and supports your objective or goal the most? Which proves the biggest ROI for all of the time and work you have spent on PR tactics and efforts? 

    Here are a few metrics or KPIs to think about adding to the assessment of your PR plan:

    • Total media coverage, impressions, and reach 
    • Types of coverage (i.e. radio, magazine, blog, print, television, etc.)
    • Media coverage sentiment/tone
    • Total brand mentions on digital (i.e. blogs, online media, social, etc.)
    • Influencer engagement 
    • Social media account sentiment/tone
    • Social media reach, shares, and growth 
    • Website traffic 
    • Website rank 
    • Backlinks 

Key takeaways from digging into different PR strategies and plans: your strategy and plan will likely evolve over time and adapt to the success and challenges it faces. And, when things aren't working, don't be afraid to try new tactics!  Just be sure that they align with the other elements of your PR plan strategically and support your business goal.

If you're interested in learning more about public relations plans and strategies, check out my other blogs here or get in touch with me on Twitter - I love new friends @DvBohler.

Sources: Huffington Post, Pulse Marketing Agency, Entrepreneur, Agility PR solutions, EverSpark Interactive, and Power Digital Marketing

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Dominique Bohler

About The Author

Dominique Bohler

I have a passion for communicating, coffee, and creating meaningful relationships. Each and everyday I make it my mission to chase one of my many curiosities and tackle it head on (usually with a dirty chai latte in hand).


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