Why Setting a PR Strategy Makes all the Difference

Public relations has the power to build platforms of perception, influence, credibility and prominence. At its cornerstone is strategic planning, which provides a foundation for all actionable communication activities. It also establishes clear-cut goals and builds upon realistic expectations for each client to guarantee success while simultaneously increasing brand awareness.

 

At Dittoe PR, we firmly believe that a one-size-fits-all approach to strategic planning does not exist. They’re built on similar formats of interrelated components, but take different forms, serve specific needs and possess varied purposes. That’s why we work with each client closely to determine the best action plan to meets their business goals and objectives.

 

For those still skeptical on the importance of strategic planning, here are a couple of reasons why setting a PR plan makes all the difference.

 

Analyzes the situation.

Before assembling the plan, the team should complete an audit of the client’s needs to help craft the strategy’s foundation. This process incorporates research to understand the current marketplace landscape as well as the client’s previous PR and marketing efforts and results.

 

When drafting an insightful situation analysis, make sure the client’s position in the marketplace, marketing strategies and public perceptions to market conditions are clear and an analysis of stakeholder communities is included. This will help outline the various tactics when determining the best strategies to implement on behalf of the client.

 

Defines goals and objectives.

It’s impractical to begin activating on any PR ideas without formulating a clear strategy, so the next step is to outline SMART goals. These goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

 

After the goals are established, consider the actions plans, ideas and objectives to help work toward these goals. These strategies should include methods of communication, key messages and other activities related to reaching your goal. This also means outlining various tactics to secure media coverage, such as newsjacking, evergreen story ideas, thought leadership campaigns and more.

 

Helps understand audiences.

Knowing your target audience and determining which group to communicate with is important for an effective PR plan. For instance, if your client’s core group of customers are baby boomers, there is less productivity targeting them through channels like Instagram. It would be more effective to communicate to this audience through print newspapers or television segments.

 

In addition, it is helpful to discuss the audience with your client as it can critically affect campaign results. If the client has multiple types of audiences, you’ll need to ensure that messaging, tactics and channels are tailored for each group to ensure the plan is executed effectively.

 

Reaffirms scope of work.

Scope of work is extremely important as this allows clients to understand the roles and responsibilities of the PR team. Each tactic included in the plan should reaffirm how it will be executed and who will be responsible for accomplishing this goal. In addition, this also helps define success for your client and better protects the PR team from unrealistic expectations or out-of-scope demands.

 

Establishes measurement and KPIs.

Successful communicators do not wait until the end of campaign to evaluate. Therefore, an approach to measurement and reporting should be set during the planning process and taken into consideration regularly throughout a campaign in order to monitor and assess.

 

Reporting could include media relations analysis, event management metrics, social media engagement and so much more. PR professionals should also compare a client’s coverage to competitors regularly to determine growth in overall Share of Voice.

 

If possible, integrate business results such as sales, engagement results and website traffic to connect communications objectives with business objectives. This allows you to evaluate and adjust as needed to keep strategies driving toward goals.

 

Strategic PR plans executed by professional and results-driven PR teams make all the difference. If you think your business could benefit from PR, contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.

How to Navigate A PR Crisis In Six Simple Steps

Bad reviews. An executive scandal. International data breach. A product malfunction. These are all examples of a PR crisis that many businesses have had to overcome, and they won’t be the last.

 

In today’s age of social media and innovation, the likelihood of a business facing a PR crisis continues to soar. While no one expects you to be perfect, how you respond can either give you a much-needed image boost or significantly damage your brand, alienating your customer base.

 

When a crisis does arise, use these helpful tips to navigate through the storm:

 

Appoint a response team.

Every business should already have a response team in place before a crisis hits to help ensure the right people are speaking on behalf of the company. This allows the organization to respond faster and speak with one voice, which can be difficult to achieve when multiple people are speaking on the company’s behalf.

 

The response team should be small and include the CEO, the company’s top PR executives and legal counsel. If the company’s PR executive does not have sufficient crisis communication expertise, consider retaining an agency with that specialty.

 

In addition, when a PR crisis occurs, each member of the response team should understand their role and responsibilities to help avoid confusion as well as any cross-over of duties.

 

Brief your team.

Once the strategy has been determined, relay the protocol to all persons who could be approached to speak on the company’s behalf. This means informing all employees, stakeholders, board members, etc., of who is to be speaking with the media and how they can direct any inquiries.

 

Craft your message.

Once the facts about the incident have been gathered, the team should agree on how to frame the response. When it comes to the response, think about the most transparent way to address the situation and what your company has done or will do about it – without placing external blame. In the response, be honest and open with your audience.

 

Once the message is crafted, it needs to be delivered in a timely manner. The sooner you apologize and admit the mistake, the sooner the public will forgive you. A prime example of a crisis being resolved correctly is how Starbucks handled their recent scandal by apologizing in a public statement, taking responsibility for the occurrence and making it clear that it won’t happen again.

 

Identify and address the affected parties.

Once the message has been crafted, identify the people who should know about the situation. This may include employees, stakeholders, business partners, customers and media. Audiences who need to be informed will depend on the context of the situation, but regardless of who’s receiving the message, you should make sure it is sent out in a timely manner.

 

Monitor the situation.

Assessing the brand’s image is especially important following a PR crisis, so keep an eye on inbound and outbound communications to address follow-up questions or concerns.

 

It’s also important to also track what people are saying about a company online. One way to do this is by establishing a monitoring system that quickly uncovers negative trends before they become a bigger problem and migrate to the media.

 

Dittoe PR uses TrendKite to track and monitor media coverage for clients, which allows us to look at the company’s media coverage, share of voice, sentiment, social media amplification, competitors’ coverage and more.

 

Review and learn from the situation.

Once the crisis is over, conduct a post-action review to determine how well your staff and management handled the situation. During the review, discuss what you could have done differently and what changes are necessary to prevent a similar situation.

 

What not to do.

When you come face-to-face with a PR crisis, stay away from these tactics:

 

  • Lashing out: Even if a media outlet or opposing party has said something false about your company, it is never a good idea to respond negatively or blame the complaint for the situation.

 

  • Offering no comment: Not having answers to potential questions is the worst thing you can do during a crisis. If you don’t have enough information to give a solid response, say so and assure that you will issue a statement when you have more details.

 

  • Responding too quickly: Handling a PR crisis is all about timing, so don’t give an answer prematurely before you know all the facts. This may cause you to contradict previous statements later could further damage your reputation.

 

 

  • Dwelling on the situation: A period of bad press is often just a hiccup on your path to success, so don’t let it completely distract you from continuing daily business responsibilities.

 

  • Avoid assembling a plan: Almost all crises can be avoidable with the right planning. Don’t wait until the last minute to assemble a thorough crisis communications plan.

Finding a Work-Life Balance in a Hyper-Connected World

Balancing your personal life and your work can be challenging for some, especially in the always-on world of PR. There will always be a situation that warrants a rapid response, a reporter to pitch or a strategic plan to assemble. While the PR world is exciting and ever-changing, it also seeps into our personal life and can make establishing boundaries extremely difficult. If you’re struggling to separate work from your personal life, here are a few ways to help step away from your desk and return to the office refreshed.

 

Stay organized.

While it may seem counterintuitive to add a little work time into your weekend, taking the time to organize for the week ahead can make all the difference for achieving a healthy work-life balance. Taking less than 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon to think through your top priorities and getting organized for the week ahead can make all the difference.

 

Wake up early.

Waking up early can be tough, but make it a daily habit. Take  an extra hour in the morning to do something for yourself before you plunge into your daily routine. For some, it might be meditating, reading or watching the news. For others, it might be getting a head start on laundry or cooking a healthy breakfast. Whatever you choose to do, do it for yourself. This will help start the day off right.

 

Exercise.

Experts agree that increasing physical activity has a multitude of benefits for health and stress management. Not a fan of the gym? That’s fine. Find a new physical outlet that gets your heart racing such as boxing, yoga or cycling. Life and work will both reap immediate benefits of physical activity in the form of stress relief, endorphin release and increased functional capacity.

 

Don’t be afraid to take breaks.

Lunch breaks were created for a reason. Take advantage of this time to pencil in an activity to rejuvenate and get ready to tackle the second half of the day. For instance, many Dittoe PR employees enjoy using this hour to go to the gym, run errands or take their dog for a walk. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to take the time to treat yourself.

 

Disconnect.

Balancing work life and home life is not always simple, especially when getting pinged by email notifications day-in and day-out. Try putting your phone away while with friends, family or significant others to make it a little easier to avoid the distractions. This will help emphasize the importance of relationships with loved ones but also allow you to stay more focused at work by not dwelling on missed plans or quality time.

 

Establish a no-work zone.

Another way to disconnect is to establish a work-free zone. As someone who is newly married with a husband who also works around the clock, work-free zones have been a perfect solution to ensure we’re not working all evening and to focus on each other. A work-free zone bans you from checking email, taking business phone calls and doing office work on the computer. By setting up a safe haven, you have a dedicated time and space for connecting with your loved ones and escaping the demands of work.

 

Don’t compromise on sleep.

Most people fail to realize the importance of sleep. Instead of treating it as a luxury, make it a necessity by establishing a sleep schedule. This will help produce a healthy body and make it easier to be more productive at the office, allowing you the ability to (hopefully) leave on time.

 

Communicate when workload is excessive.

A work-life balance can fall to pieces simply because an increased workload. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to communicate the volume of your workload to teammates or leadership team. Through these conversations, find ways to reduce the impact by extending the deadline or bringing on other teammates to delegate the work.

Interested in working at Dittoe PR? Check out our Careers page here to see if you would be a good candidate.

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