Our extensive guide covers everything to know about PR planning and campaigns in 2022, from what a strategy is, why they are important, and how you create a successful PR strategy. Some examples are provided too. If you’re looking to execute the perfect public relations plan, this is perfect guide. So let's get started.
Public relations strategies are there to assist the organization with the implementation of its PR campaign. The initial planning considers target audience, priorities and strategic decisions. Matias Rodsevich, founder and CEO of PRLab, defines PR strategy as “the practice of prioritizing decisions, personalizing actions, taking into consideration different target audiences, and having clear goals that guide the process of a PR campaign in a structured manner.”
It is always a good moment to develop a PR strategy, and every brand needs to do it as soon as possible. PR planning is significant when it comes to having a clear idea of where you want to go with your campaign and what you want to achieve. Having a strategy provides a goal, helps you stay on track to achieve it, and ensures you know how to achieve it. In this section, we will go through the most important aspects of having effective media relations strategies, how they can help in various subsections of your campaign, and all the unknowns it prepares you for.
Generating leads is typically a goal focused on by marketing teams and their campaigns. However, launching a PR campaign will inevitably contribute to the increased generation of leads. As the process continues, you will get more publicity, and your brand will keep appearing in media outlets, social media platforms, and other sources. The public will see your brand more and more, which will lead to an increase in customer base, purchases, and brand recognition. With the right PR strategy, you can make the most out of your stories and brand recognition. What you must keep in mind, however, is the structure in which you want to execute the publicity.
Brand awareness is one of the most important aspects of a PR strategy. Having one before the launch of your campaign is paramount to increasing the chances of attaining high brand awareness among your target audience. Brand awareness emerges in any type of PR (whether positive or negative) as the public starts recognizing and learning about your brand, what values it holds, and how the organization contributes to innovation within its industry. With a proper strategy, reaching the maximum potential for brand awareness is achievable and leads to the backbone of the marketing for the company. Once consumers learn about your brand through PR.
Your strategy will dictate how your brand approaches public debates and discussions that are trending within your industry of expertise. The more you speak up, leaning on your expertise and industry knowledge, the more likely it is to build credibility and authority within your industry. Thought leadership is a great example of this, as a name and a face get attached to your brand, making the brand more human. You will gain more trust among your target audience, who will start seeing the potential in your work and values.
Having a thought-out PR strategy will ensure that your brand gets the timing right in order to get the most attention paid to what you want to share. Whether it’s a milestone, successful funding round, a breakthrough, an innovation, an idea, or just a story of your brand you want to share. The more attention and better timing you have, the more investors will be attracted to the idea of your brand. This increases your security for the future as you have secured the trust of people who see the potential of your product or service.
Industry experts will be watching your successes and mistakes. The strategy you use can work in your favor by ensuring that the experts become advocates, especially for those attracted to your business and those that resonate with your values, beliefs, and ideas. This, however, requires a PR strategy that provides you with the best timing and positioning when it comes to your specific industry of expertise and the knowledge to know exactly where and who to go to to get published.
A solid PR strategy is one that foresees potential dangers to your image. Negative PR can always strike, and it is difficult to avoid the event of bad publicity. Instead, it’s smarter to be prepared to tackle that situation, which is exactly what a PR strategy can help with. Preparing for such an eventuality and creating effective statements and messaging to combat this is an essential crisis management practice. PR strategies evaluate everything surrounding the crisis management process and help campaigns run smoother. Whilst it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of negative PR, it is possible to prepare for counter-action should it occur.
In the process of launching your PR campaign, you will need to reach out and engage with journalists and media outlets. Knowing exactly who you will engage with is important to focus on the ones relevant to your industry and who can help you deliver. A PR strategy will help you establish the kind of content you’ll be releasing and what kind of media outlets will be best for spreading that content. After doing that and pinpointing specific publicists, this part of the strategy will aid you in the styling of your content. This way, it is more appealing to the outlets that matter the most, and it increases your chances of forming a long-term relationship with that journalist that will benefit both of you for future campaigns.
You will need specific measurements and metrics in place throughout your campaign to know how well you’re doing and to get an overall measure of the success of your campaign. Whether it’s a return on investment, web traffic, customer base, engagement, mentions, etc., you need a clear method of evaluating your campaign and its impact on your business. For that reason, a PR strategy is necessary to establish this criterion and to have a clear and concise overview of your campaign’s main objectives and any secondary goals and aims. Often it is important to use media monitoring tools to keep track of statistics relating to your online presence, activity, and web traffic from target audiences. That is a good indicator of the impact of a PR campaign.
Types of media are generally dependent on the methods you use to secure the publicity for your brand and the content you promote. Generally, there are three types of media - owned, paid, and earned media. It is important to understand that each of these types is important to your brand’s reputation and publicity, and they are also connected with each other. One type of media can link back to another, and vice versa. This makes the three media types equally important for your brand’s image. The differences are generally in how you communicate with different stakeholders in getting media coverage. We will talk about how you prioritize the actual type of media now.
Owned media refers to media content owned by the company itself. You can produce and publish stories on your own platform. It is the easiest type of media to manage since it’s yours, and you have no responsibility to adapt to other requirements and styling formats. However, it is also the most delicate type of media. Your brand is reflected in the way you produce and release your owned media content, and since you want your brand to be highly esteemed, with trust and expertise, you must be wary of your owned media.
This is where new potential customers will evaluate your brand. This is why you need to keep your owned media updated and relevant. Examples of owned media include your website, blog posts, social media posts and stories.
Paid media is rather self-explanatory. It is every type of media content you have paid to secure your position there. Paid media includes pay-per-click, paid ads, sponsored posts, paid influencers, social media ads, etc.
The thing about paid media is that, generally, it is a business transaction. It has nothing to do with the quality or type of your content. You pay, and you get featured. However, because it is paid to advertise, it is the most effective way to get to your audience and ensure they will see your content. Paid media is comparatively more intrusive, which is why you’ll know people will see it.
And this is exactly why you need to make sure your content is in its best possible shape and form because you want to attract as many people as possible. You won’t have to do extra work to qualify for the publicity (you simply pay for it), but you’ll have to go the extra mile to appeal to your target audience. Examples include Google ads or social media advertising.
Earned media is about earning your position under the spotlight in the public’s eyes. It relates to all types of mentions, shares, word-of-mouth, reviews, recommendations, and more. Because it is earned, it is by nature the hardest to secure, but because of that, it is also the most important one. It cements your ability to push out quality content, and that is evident in the “earned” part.
High-quality content that has qualified for publicity for free has the highest potential of resulting in increased trust and loyalty of the target audience. Additionally, earned media contributes to the idea that your brand and thought leadership has knowledge and expertise in the industry you’ve engaged in. The most important thing to know, however, is that the three types of media are connected, and if you benefit from one, that one can take your target audience to another type of media, which you need to have at a top-notch state as well. Examples could be someone mentioning you on their Instagram or even a reshare of a post you’ve made.
Your PR objectives will tell you whether your campaign is succeeding and having the desired effect on the public and your brand’s image. The most important thing in this aspect of a PR strategy is for these goals and objectives to be measurable. In other words, you need to be able to choose indicators that your campaign is successful, which can be quantified, put into numbers, and reported.
The most noteworthy tactic that has been used for decades falls under the acronym “SMART.” The acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, which takes us to the second part of this section.
“Specific” focuses on the target audience and how to connect with them through specific outlets. “Measurable” refers to breaking down goals into subgoals that can be tracked. “Achievable” pertains to the realistic nature of the goals. “Relevant” is the aim to connect whatever your campaign is to the big picture. “Timely” defines your PR goals and how to measure them. It refers to setting realistic timeframes for the release of your campaign in a way that catches the exact timing within your company, and the overall industry. For more information, check out this detailed page on PR metrics that matter.
Union offers a cloud platform that allows for easy and manageable omnichannel communication through single APIs covering SMS, Voice, and conversational messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Unifonic needed to share their unique important funding news far and wide to secure international media. A specialist PR team at PRlab were employed to cover three important regions to target a global market. It was important to use the right tone and messaging. The appropriate media lists were compiled, and the relevant news sites, blogs, and journalists were selected.
On the first day of launch, 10 pieces of news and coverage were secured. In addition, the publication was gained in Bloomberg and Forbes.
Doritos had a PR strategy for the company’s campaign in 2006, which harnessed immense success and succeeded in its aim to attract the most out of its target audience.
Doritos was focused on the experience of engaging with the audience in a way that made them feel heard. Listening to the feedback of your target audience and adapting and adjusting accordingly is one of the most important aspects of doing PR.
Their collaborative idea revolved around the audience as the focus of the campaign. Doritos gave the ability for fans to be able to create their own customized Super Bowl ads, which would then compete in the USA Today Ad Meter. If any ad were to rank #1, the ad creators would receive $1 million.
This already shouts “great idea”, as it stimulates the creation of an immeasurable amount of advertisements, all of which are unique, creative, and different from each other. Additionally, the company made sure to keep track of what it is that the audience enjoys more. A multilayered PR strategy with brilliant execution and approach, as well as results.
This last example of a PR strategy involves American Express, which was in collaboration with Facebook. The idea of American Express was to promote small businesses and at the same time stimulate people to engage with their brands.
In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday (SBS) by supplying 200,000 cardholders with $25 to spend and simultaneously put the spotlight on small businesses, mostly operating on a local level, in order for them to promote their companies. The collaboration with Facebook further increased publicity for small businesses, as well as for American Express and Facebook itself, and the entire campaign showcased how large corporations can be mutually beneficial.
Positive public opinion was that SBS significantly improved the community and had a positive impact on small businesses, as 9 out of 10 consumers were satisfied with the campaign and its effect. If you’re interested in more witty examples, check out this extensive list of PR campaigns.
And we mean everything. It is important here to lay down solid foundations for your collaboration.
Researching the environment in which you want to create your PR strategy and campaign is the most important aspect of every endeavor. You need to research your target audience. Who is it that you want to impact with your campaign? You need to segment them according to customer profiles and the media they read. What are those people’s behavior patterns, values, likes, and dislikes? These features will steer you in the direction you need to go in.
Before you start pouring resources, you need to know precisely what resources you need. Research your industry to know how you will be positioning your campaign. You need a firm market overview; news, events, trends etc. Media outlets' research is necessary to filter out the ones that don’t qualify and only keep the ones worth spending time and resources on pitching for.
Research your competitors. This helps with positioning and can help you understand the gaps and the areas you can discuss.
Goals and objectives can vary depending on the focus of your campaign. Whether it is to spread awareness, send a message, promote a new product or service or make an announcement. Make sure you create objectives by leaning on the concept of SMART because these goals will be connected to your measurement of success. It is advisable to create more specific subgoals. Smaller objectives put the micromanagement of your campaign into perspective. You can keep track of these during your campaign.
Objectives need to be clear and concise, and appropriate to your current campaign. Everyone involved needs to know and be clear on the aim and how to achieve this. What will be the key messages you want to communicate?
The content calendar includes all elements needed to successfully pitch and gain coverage as part of your plan. It should break down your tasks for the project. It should help inform your social channels and content mix. The calendar needs to be integrated into your strategy, providing you with key dates, where content will be published, and by when. This will help you achieve consistency across projects and tasks. It can also be used to keep track of ideas so you know what does and doesn’t work. It can also help manage and keep everyone up to date and on the same page. Relevancy is key. It is vital to keep track of relevant news, for instance, by reading Twitter in the morning. You should have access to sources ready for inspiration. You should aim to get into a rhythm for doing this.
You have to set clear week-to-week milestones to help identify when activities are to be completed or when a campaign should be launched. Milestones are influential because they demonstrate forward planning. They help to act as a single point of reference to teams that may be multi-functional. The sequence of the milestones also helps teams to align on priorities. The milestones act as deadlines. Working through them helps teams understand resource dependencies.
The good thing about milestones is that they are visual, so they can be articulated easily in a slide. If you were to remove the individual tasks from your planning document, the milestones would be able to give you a high-level view of critical elements. This is useful for the PR agency and the client to understand the campaign workflow. Example milestones may include new content creation, planned company announcements, and publication of a white paper.
It's essential to know what the KPIs look like and how to monitor success, and the tools needed to do so must be identified in your strategy. When the campaign is rolling, you need to know how it’s performing.
It is advisable to use several media monitoring tools to note the differences in web traffic and overall numbers regarding target audiences and their interest in your brand. Using several is necessary for cross-comparison and insight. You can adapt and change things about your business to bring the most value to your brand.
PR tactics are defined as activities or actions an organization does to influence the public perception of its brand in order to build and form loyal relationships with its customers. They are the tools or actions to do this. This is different from the PR strategy, which refers to the overarching way you intend to do this.
Media outreach is one PR tactic that involves you reaching out to different media outlets and journalists to spread your business's key message and what your target audience can expect. This tactic is essential because it saves you time and resources in the future when you have to pitch your ideas and stories to journalists for them to publish you.
That is why you should carefully filter out the ones that are irrelevant to your industry or business and pay more attention to the outlets that are suitable for your company and area of expertise. This increases your chances of getting published and gives you an idea of how to format your content to have those exact outlets deem it worth publishing.
Backlinking is one of the best cost-efficient tactics to spread the name of your brand in a way that reaches the most people with great impact and effect. The practice of backlinking revolves around connecting with journalists, bloggers, and other media outlets, proposing articles on the topics that your brand excels in, and in return, receiving a reference to your website and your business.
The mutual benefit comes from the fact that journalists get the content for the specific industry they’re interested in from an expert in that industry. At the same time, you receive publicity and brand recognition.
In addition to guest articles, there exist platforms and tools that allow journalists to gather questions in whatever industry they are researching at the time and ask for answers from people with relevant knowledge and expertise. When you answer, you provide your expert opinion on your topics of interest, and if the author publishes your answer, you receive a backlink to your brand’s website.
In the previous point, we mentioned that you receive backlinks to your website. Apart from that, there are a couple of other ways that help your target audience find your website and visit it with the idea of engaging with your brand. This PR tactic is especially important if you want to score those people as loyal and trusting customers. It is also one that is easily neglected.
Keep your website up to date. Make sure to monitor your website’s performance regularly. Insights, such as which pages are more visited and which are underperforming, and what parts of your material are paid more attention to, are essential to keep track of. With this knowledge, you can adapt and constantly change your website, making it more appealing. When you change the parts that underperform, you provide more reasons for your customers to stay. Their experience with your website decides whether they will stay and how your relationship will form.
Press releases refer to a shared announcement between you and journalists before the publishing date. The embargo means the journalists agree to hold off publishing until the agreed date. They are forbidden to break this. The advantages are that it gives journalists the time to prepare their material fully. It also helps ensure the accuracy of the story and helps build stronger relationships with contacts over time. Offering journalists exclusive quotes or interviews will strengthen their stories and mutually benefit you both.
This is important in the world of PR. It relates to the wider societal considerations a company can take into account. Emphasis is given to ethical business practices, the environment, and charity. It might involve things such as the firm paying more than the minimum wage, being careful where a company gets its products from, making sure these products are ethically sourced etc. Environmentally, it could involve a company seeking to reduce its carbon footprint or using recycled products. A business could regularly support and donate to a charity with a link to what they do or even set up their own.
No one ever counts on a negative PR crisis hitting. But it is unwise to completely ignore this possibility, which is where a PR strategy comes in again. Having a good crisis communication plan before it hits is hugely beneficial for damage control and maintaining your reputation with as few losses and as little damage as possible. Some tactics for crisis management include writing a statement to acknowledge the crisis and that you intend to look into it, making appearances to reassure people, specific media training for those involved, and offering public transparency.
It is heavily advised to have an agency take care of your crisis communication plan and strategy. Agencies prepare you for potential crisis situations and train your representatives and public figures, as well as your thought leaders on how to act and react when a crisis hits. That way, you will have a prepared plan that will serve you the security that even in the unlikely situation of a crisis, you can react with speed and efficiency and mitigate any potential threat to your reputation.
Using media monitoring tools is a great way to understand what people say about your brand. There is a range of tools which search through social media, blogs, and news sites and identify mentions of brands. These are a few of our favorites.
HARO is a platform that connects sources with journalists and is good for backlink building. The platform provides a single place for reporters and journalists to gather information in the industry. Journalists writing an article can ask questions and send them out, requesting that they are answered. An expert in the respective field will then provide their expertise and knowledge by answering the query, which the reporter could then use in their article to increase authenticity and legitimacy. The benefit for you is that if your answer is picked, you receive a link to your website, helping to promote your brand.
Terkel is very similar to HARO. It is always advisable to use more than one journalist communication tool for backlinking in order to increase your chances of getting links. By using both platforms, you can get twice the publicity.
Your website’s domain authority is a number that reflects how well your website is performing. The number of people that visit your website, the number of web pages within your site, the time customers spend on your website, plus a lot of other metrics are all used to calculate your domain authority. The higher your domain authority is, the better your website’s performance will be. With Moz, you can keep track of that number and adapt and manage your website if you notice it is underperforming.
Ahrefs is another great tool to track your website’s domain authority. It also provides detailed performance statistics for your website. It is best to use more than one tool to evaluate performance. Using both Moz and Ahrefs can give you extra insight, which is useful when you notice differences in the data provided.
Google Alerts can be used for brand monitoring. It is easy to set up, just type in your brand name and decide how often Google should alert you when your brand name is found online. You can also monitor competitor brand names, or in fact, any keywords you like. You will get an email to tell you something has been found that matches what you are interested in.
Google My Business is essential to create legitimacy for bricks and mortar businesses. You can enter your location, contact information, and opening hours. You can also set up review and feedback options, information about your products, and more. Creating a Google My Business account could mean your business is listed in Google Maps
Respona helps you respond to people you’ve engaged with. Ultimately, this will increase your outreach numbers. It works irrespective of the context of the outreach. Whether you are reaching out to teams that cover marketing, public relations, sales, media relations, or any press release distribution. Respona is the tool that helps you vastly increase the number of follow-ups and emails you send on a daily basis.
Cision offers various software packages and tools for PR professionals to enhance the brand of clients. You can monitor your online presence, as well as make use of advanced PR analytics and reports. The tool is a great way to engage in a data-driven approach when practicing PR tactics and strategies that boost a brand’s reputation.
Critical Mention is a media monitoring tool for TV, Radio, News, Podcasts, and Social. If you are running a multi-media campaign, this is a great one-stop-shop
PR Fire deals with the distribution and pitching of your content to journalists and media outlets. The tool helps you manage pitches. It offers reports on your content’s performance and where it needs to be adjusted to fit the needs and criteria of your target media outlets and journalists. It’s a great tool for managing media relations online.
PRWeb is a tool that falls under the ownership of Cision. It is one of the best alternatives to PR Fire. It specializes in providing a place to manage and structure your press release distribution. If your pitches and distribution are increasing in numbers, and it’s getting hard to track, this PR tool could be an option for you. It could bring structure and clarity to the process of reaching out to media outlets and journalists.
Meltwater was voted the #1 Media Monitoring Software of 2021. It’s a recommended tool for companies to implement a strong data-driven approach to improving brand exposure. Its services include the ability to follow the media coverage in the news, social media, blogs, online journals, etc., for over 300,00 news sources.
Mention is a rather self-explanatory tool. As the name suggests, Mention helps you track your presence online and provides you with data on which media outlets or other platforms have mentioned your brand or given a backlink. It can also help you with identifying trends in social media surrounding the industry you’re involved in, which can help you adapt your content with commonly used keywords in order to appeal to the public and make yourself easy to find.
Finally, MuckRack is a media relations tool. It provides a way to pinpoint specific media journalists that are invested in your specific industry. This allows you to reach out to them. This could develop into a long-lasting relationship. It offers a media database, monitoring options, pitching services, and reports to keep you updated on your performance and places for improvement.
PR is a dynamic industry that is ever-changing and unpredictable. Check out our PR Trends 2002 to see what is hot now. A PR expert knows how to keep up with the shifts in trends when creating PR strategies and campaigns. The knowledge and expertise necessary to stay up to date with everything is a huge plus that significantly increases the chances of success of your PR campaign. Let’s look at the most note-worthy shifts that the PR world has experienced.
This should not be a surprise. Digital improves audience size and therefore wins in the battle between digital vs traditional media. Digital allows for more effective time management, campaign performance measurement and quicker turnaround times. A lot of traditional PR approaches to print media have evolved into digital. Print is still important. However, it has a specific niche audience. If a brand uses print media, TV, outdoor and digital, then digital will probably win in terms of return on investment.
This links to the above. It's a lot rarer these days for news outlets and publicists to receive pitches directly. Instead, for ease and privacy, stories are submitted via an online profile or similar channel. Editorial teams can be more and more specific about their requirements. There are often unique guidelines on how to pitch. Journalists don’t want their email inbox flooded with irrelevant pitches, so using systems like HARO improves efficiency.
Quite simply, customers trust other customers more than they trust brands. Social media allows customers to tell a story. However, brands can leverage this channel by carefully engaging using curated content. Social integration is more prominent in PR strategies. Linkedin is now a go-to place to hear from company executives. Thought leaders are also more likely to incorporate LinkedIn as a way to leverage their social channels and elevate their brand presence and establish social ‘proof’.
PR is no longer a one-sided affair where an agency does all the work. There is now much more collaboration between the agency and the client. PR agencies seek to understand client brand perceptions and work with them to achieve this resonance across their communication.
In a world where everything seems to be operating on a surface level that appears to be shallow, PR has adapted to focus on values and ideologies, which companies can show they actively support in order to make themselves noticeable. It is crucial, however, to truly support the causes you say you support. Having a shallow understanding of values can lead to less authenticity and make your target audience feel like it’s only a PR trick to generate customers. True values, morals, and the responsibility to actively support and spread these notions are what are important and a focus in PR today.
Hopefully, you’ve understood that having a comprehensive PR strategy is essential for any PR campaign. There are a multitude of details to pay attention to and practices to keep in mind. These include the importance of research, the different kinds of media out there, the importance of clearly set goals, and measuring your goals to assess whether or not your tactics and strategy are working.
Either way, a good PR agency can keep track of everything necessary for the successful launch and execution of your campaign - from the generation of goals and objectives to the report on how the content and its publicity have impacted those aims.
In 2022, PR has drastically changed both in focus and practical application, and it is the duty of any good PR expert to always stay ahead of the status quo. Trends have shifted heavily to the digital landscape. There are also changes in how pitches are communicated and in the implementation of collaborative efforts between firms and PR agencies. There is also more reliance on the impact of real-life experiences, market shifts in social integration, and the use of tools to track your progress and performance. These are all necessary for those that wish to devise an effective PR strategy in 2022.
This guide should give you a place to start in order to create the best strategy for your brand, personalize your approach, and secure long-lasting and fruitful relationships along the way.