Messaging development


Seven steps to creating a strategic PR plan

Seven steps to creating a strategic PR plan

Seven steps to creating a strategic PR plan

A strategic PR plan can help you move beyond rushed press releases and piecemeal media placements to get real results from your PR efforts.

To get started, simply follow these seven steps:

Step one: Set a benchmark for your strategic PR plan

The first step in the strategic PR planning process is to set a benchmark and review why you are where you are in terms of brand awareness and marketing performance. Start by benchmarking the strength of your brand in the marketplace with a brand audit, and ensuring you have a clear communications strategy in place.

From here, you can map out previous media coverage, take note of successful story pitches from the past, and consider the strength of existing relationships with journalists, bloggers, and other media figures.

Aside from editorial media, analyse the strength of your web content and social media to get a sense of what is working and what needs to be changed. Platforms like Google Analytics and Hootsuite can help you pinpoint content that is performing well and determine the qualities that helped it to appeal to your audience.

Step two: Define your PR goals and objectives

Setting your PR goals and objectives will be more effective with a clear idea of how previous campaigns have performed and you can decide whether you want to extend PR activity in a similar direction, or find a new approach.

Your overarching goals should be firmly aligned with a business and marketing plan — be this supporting the introduction of new products, expanding into a new area, establishing your expertise, raising brand awareness, or just boosting your bottom line.

These goals should then be distilled into specific and measurable objectives, such as increasing web traffic, getting coverage in top tier publications, or boosting your social media presence by gaining a certain number of engaged followers.

Consider tying your goals to the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

To set measurable goals, you will need to consider how to track the results of your campaign. This might mean looking to specific metrics like the number of articles placed in top tier media publications, orders for a new product or service, mentions on social media, website traffic, or the amount of press clippings that mention your company.

PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning
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Including example PR campaigns, content calendar templates, and audit checklists.

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Step three: Determining the target audience for ‘this’ PR campaign

Determining who the target audience is for your PR campaign is a critical decision.  With your goals and objectives in mind, consider the decision-makers that can turn the tables of fortune in your direction — the individuals, groups and communities that have the power to choose your product or service.

Examine the demographics, psychographics, and digital behaviour of your ideal buyer, and create buyer personas. The more you know about your target audience, the more you can tailor your strategy to be effective.

strategic pr plan target audience
Depending on the nature of your business, you might consider these aspects of your target audience:

1 Location

Are they city slickers or country bumpkins? Knowing where your audience resides will help you pitch stories to the right publications, and tailor online content to the right locality.

2 Media habits

Do they read specific paper publications, or prefer to digest content online? Understanding the type of media your target audience engages with will tell you which media figures are worth pitching stories to.

3 Characteristics

What interests do they share? Knowing what makes your target audience tick can help you identify what sort of messages are likely to resonate with them.

Step four: Create key compelling messaging

With a clear idea of your target audience, you can craft compelling messages to provoke thoughts, words, or deeds.

The brand voice, language, and approach of your messaging will form the backbone of your campaign and guide all the content you create — whether that’s a pitch, press release, or social media campaign.

This messaging needs to reflect what the PR campaign is trying to achieve, and it should be concise, easy to understand and memorable. The messaging should also mesh with other marketing and communications activity including advertising. 

strategic pr plan media channels

Step five: Match your message to the media channel

You need to match your message to the media channel to secure the greatest impact. Once you have your key messaging, you can determine the type of content and preferred distribution platforms.

Find the paper publications and the digital stomping grounds of your target audience, decide which ones you will use to disseminate your message, and begin to build a media list.

Your choice of channel should be based on your target audience. Bear in mind that demographics can change, with audiences across social media channels constantly in flux as the services evolve, and traditional magazines pivoting over time to attract different groups of people.

Thought leaders are respected for their depth of knowledge while Influencers are generally admired for their celebrity.

Step six: Distribute your editorial

You need to distribute your editorial to named journalists who have an interest in your subject matter.  Once you have a small number of focused channels, check the editorial calendars of your target publications — whether mainstream media or digital creators — and consider the pitching deadlines in advance to create a content schedule.

The ideal schedule will consist of content published at regular intervals throughout the year. Consistent media coverage is more beneficial than singular events, creating a steady stream of engagement that draws more leads into the top of the funnel and boosts growth.

Step seven: Measure the success of your strategic PR plan

Don’t forget to measure the success of your strategic PR plan! The final step of a PR plan is very similar to the first: reviewing your objectives and measuring the results of your efforts. Compiling analysis of media activity across different platforms into a single report will then form a clear foundation for the following phase of strategic PR.

To start forming your strategic public relations strategy, reach out to our specialists today. And if you found this article valuable, read our guide to PR Campaign Planning or download the complete guide here.  

Or, if you’d just like to stay in touch – sign up  to receive regular insights on how to make your PR work harder. 

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Blu Wireless Tech PR Case Study

Blu Wireless Tech PR Case Study

Blu Wireless - Tech PR

How EC-PR built brand visibility in key target markets for Blu Wireless and achieved #1 Share of Voice in the UK amongst competitors

Context

Blu Wireless is disrupting the market with ultra-fast and seamless 5G mmWave solutions engineered for emerging connectivity needs – from smart city networks to connected vehicles and high-speed transport. Blu Wireless works with integrators, manufacturers and service providers to deliver the superior reliability and speeds of connectivity needed for the data-intensive applications of the future.

Challenge

Blu Wireless’ awareness in its key market segments was varied. In high-speed transport, it had a relatively high level of recognition but wanted to build strong thought leadership in key target publications. In other key target markets, such as defence, the brand needed visibility and wanted to gain recognition for their expertise in this field.

Approach

EC-PR proposed a 12-month media campaign titled ‘Leading with intent’ aimed at ensuring Blu Wireless becomes visible, valued and understood amongst its target customers (C-suite executives and technical experts such as Senior Engineers) across three core segments – public safety/smart cities, defence and high-speed transport, in both the UK and USA. The main objectives of the campaign were to increase brand visibility through thought leadership and establish a dominant share of voice on key messages.

The campaign was centred around a highly targeted proactive media outreach. This was underpinned by strong customer proof points/case studies, partnerships (Blu Wireless’ collaboration with Liverpool 5G Create), thought leadership content (an insight paper) and carefully crafted media narratives that highlighted the disruptive effect of mmWave technology on the future of the three vertical markets and the pioneering expertise that Blu Wireless could offer. 

OUTCOME

Within a year, Blu Wireless achieved #1 Share of Voice (61%) in the UK among its key competitors, with the next best competitor recording just 16% of the UK Share of Voice. The campaign generated tier 1 press coverage in key verticals, particularly in transport and defence-focused publications, such as Global Railway Review and European Security & Defence.

Blu Wireless’ partnership with the Liverpool 5G Project has also garnered a steady stream of coverage in key IT and telecoms publications, such as Computer Weekly, Government Computing, and UK 5G Innovation Briefing.

The ‘Public Safety Beyond Covid-19’ insight paper featured contributions from five authors, notably from the University of Liverpool/Liverpool 5G Create Project Lead and Connectivity Technologies Ecosystems Manager at Facebook, helping cement Blu Wireless’ authority and visibility in the 5G space.

Blu Wireless logo

EC-PR has become our strategic communications partner that delivers not just robust advice but also challenges us as a business. Their ability to create outstanding thought leadership is complemented with a highly professional, tenacious and transparent approach to campaign delivery.

Ciara Barron

Head of Brand and Communications, Blu Wireless

EC-PR’s in-depth understanding of the telecoms and transport industries has strengthened our thought leadership in these markets. What was particularly valuable to us was EC-PR’s strategic recommendation onto how to build awareness in the defence sector where we have started to see some positive results.

Mark Barrett

Chief Marketing Officer, Blu Wireless

Results

#1

Share of Voice in the UK against its key competitors

61%

Share of Voice compared to its nearest competitor who recorded 16%

Tier 1

Press coverage, such as Global Railway Review and European Security & Defence

Share of Voice in the UK against its key competitors

Share of Voice compared to its nearest competitor who recorded 16%

Press coverage, such as Global Railway Review and European Security & Defence

Scroll up to read case study
technology pr

Technology PR

EC-PR is a B2B PR agency specialising in Technology PR and STEM industries. Read more about our Tech PR offering here.

 

Related PR services

GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

Being in the right place at the right time… We will deliver feature length coverage to your target press… or your money back.

Socura Cybersecurity PR Case Study

Socura Cybersecurity PR Case Study

Socura - Cybersecurity PR

How EC-PR transformed the Socura proposition into a compelling media narrative, delivered outstanding thought leadership and valuable marketing outcomes.

Context

Socura offers a Threat Detection and Response managed service, often referred to as MDR. The service acts as an extension of clients’ in-house capability and is operated by a team of highly experienced security experts. Socura’s analysts work in partnership with the customer to detect and defend against cyber threats.

Challenge

Socura was a new entrant to the highly competitive cybersecurity market looking to establish its share of voice and make its brand visible, valued and understood amongst target customers.

approach

EC-PR proposed a comprehensive PR launch programme that spanned the development of a Brilliant Ideas Bank – a repository of engaging ideas for thought leadership and comment, and an insight paper titled ‘Cyber Security in a Post-Pandemic World’, providing the business with an ‘in’ to discuss with the media and provide the brand with relevance.

The launch campaign also consisted of a highly targeted proactive media outreach that was looking to secure thought leadership article placements, media interviews and brand mentions in cybersecurity and health and care press – two key sectors for Socura.

OUTCOME

The Socura insight paper launch had an immediate and powerful impact on the brand’s share of voice and visibility, including SEO rankings. Coverage in tier 1 tech publications such as Information Age and PCR was accompanied by influencer recognition on social media by the likes of Lisa Forte, a high-profile UK cybersecurity influencer.

The campaign continued with a steady stream of high-quality article placements, including in CISO Mag, Infosecurity Magazine, HealthTech Digital and Tech Native, firmly positioning Socura as a cybersecurity thought leader with a strong focus on health and care.  

Socura logo

EC-PR’s in-depth understanding of the cybersecurity industry has helped secure internal buy-in among our key executives and position them as thought leaders in the market. EC-PR’s strategic counsel has added great value to our PR function and empowered us to become more strategic in our approach to communications.

Andrew Kays

CEO, Socura

We have been totally sold on the value of PR. EC-PR’s expertise, dedication and the ability to transform our proposition into a compelling media narrative has not just built the foundations for our brand awareness and delivered outstanding thought leadership but also generated additional marketing outcomes, such as propelling forward our SEO ranking and social media engagement.

Anna Bancroft

Marketing Manager, Socura

Results

Visits to the
Socura website
increased by

Web-page engagement increased by

Engagement rate per session increased by

Visits to the
Socura website
increased by

32%

Web-page engagement increased by

54%

Engagement rate per session increased by

89%

Scroll up to read case study
Cybersecurity PR

Cybersecurity PR

EC-PR is a B2B PR agency specialising in Cybersecurity PR and STEM industries. Read more about our Cyber Security offering here.

 

Related PR services

GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

Being in the right place at the right time… We will deliver feature length coverage to your target press… or your money back.

IPTEnergised Environment PR Case Study

IPTEnergised Environment PR Case Study

ITPEnergised

B2B PR Case Study - energy & environment
ipte environment pr case study

BACKGROUND

Founded in 2013, ITPEnergised is a world leading consultancy providing energy, environmental, engineering, technical advisory and renewables asset management services on thousands of projects at all scales, in more than 150 countries.

ITPEnergised ITPE logo

Problem

Lack of clarity and consistency in marketing communications with energy and environment target audiences

With an ambitious and visionary Managing Director at the helm, Jonny Clark was focused on growing the business but recognised that to do so, there were aspects of the business that required attention.  Particularly, the absence of a clearly defined communication strategy meant that there was a lack of consistency across the organisation when communicating with its target audience both in how it differentiates itself and why customers should care.

envrionment pr and communication strategy to stand out
With a rapidly growing market and competition fierce, it became clear that a more targeted and focused approach to its marketing and communications was needed to ensure ITPEnergised stood out from the crowd and were in the best possible position to deliver against their growth objectives.

SOLUTION

Communication strategy,  stakeholder research and B2B PR campaign planning

Through the facilitation of its Messaging Lab workshops and in-depth engagement with the senior leadership team, EC-PR developed a communication strategy which included five key components:

1 the value proposition;
2 industry prioritisation;
3 target personas;
4 positioning statements
5 and messaging.

This strategy now forms the backbone, to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward.

To ensure the communication strategy is aligned with customers’ perceptions, EC-PR also conducted validation research amongst a small group of ITPE’s external stakeholders.

 

Outcome

“Thanks to EC-PR’s support, we now have a blueprint which clearly defines how sales and marketing are going to assist us in delivering the business plan, providing us with clarity as to where we need to invest our resources for greatest impact.  We now feel a sense of empowerment and it has renewed passion and pride in what makes the ITPE brand so special.”

Jonny Clarke

Managing Director, ITPEnergised

More Case Studies

GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

We are a PR agency with a difference. Being in the right place at the right time. We will deliver feature length coverage in your target press... or your money back

The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

Personas – an essential element of impactful communications

Effective communication is based on an in-depth understanding of your customer base. You need to know who your customers are and which channels they use to stay informed. You need to uncover their fears, pain points and ambitions in order to engage with them successfully.

To facilitate a better understanding of your customers, we create audience profiles or ‘buyer personas’. These are fictional representations of your customers that help visualise their needs, habits and objectives.

buyer personas are fictional representations of your buyers

We ask your potential buyers some of the following key questions:

  • What is your job title and key responsibilities?
  • Where do you go for professional insight? (i.e. LinkedIn, trade media etc)
  • What are your concerns? What keeps you awake at night?
  • What are the key capabilities or expertise you are looking for in a supplier/service?

This information informs the development of typical personas, that may look like this:

Persona illustration

Do I really need personas?

You really do. Without personas, your communication will be impersonal, completely untargeted and therefore ineffective. Personas guide the development of your key messages. They ensure you are targeting the right people with messages that are compelling and tailored to the specific stage of the buying cycle they’re currently at. They reduce waste and promote marketing/sales collaboration.

Personas are integral to campaign planning as they ensure that at every stage of the journey, customers receive an appropriate type of message that nudges them to the next stage of the buying process.

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Find out more about Personas in our guide: Your 8-step communication strategy

Flexibility and longevity

Personas should be a living and breathing concept, not a document to be produced and filed away. Individual personas should be updated over time, or new personas created, in line with your evolving business strategy and changing market dynamics.

Personas are essential to strategic B2B PR

In our experience, it is particularly important that personas, along with key messages, are socialised within the company to ensure that your marketing, sales and customer service teams internalise them and refer to them to guide their content and messages on a day-to-day basis.

The outcome

On a strategic level, personas are an important tool to ensure your communication is targeted and relevant to your key target audiences. Personas also help align your communication efforts with sales by tailoring messaging to specific stages of the buying process.

On a more tactical level, personas support your campaign planning by helping determine what type of message, content and format should be served throughout the customer journey to achieve maximum commercial results.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our essential guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning

READ this article: Communication without purpose is just noise

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

At EC-PR we are passionate about B2B communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including example PR campaigns, content calendar templates, and audit checklists.

Download

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Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

Our expert B2B PR guide with 9 steps to creating a press release that editors want to publish.

Download

The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

Let’s examine the role of PR in Sales

A well-executed PR campaign plays into all stages of your customer’s journey—putting more leads in your pipeline, nurturing your prospects as they move down through the funnel, and building enough trust to seal the deal.

In this way, PR campaigns can help your salespeople to convert more leads into prospects and more prospects into conversions, therefore boosting the bottom line – just like advertising, direct outreach, and other marketing campaigns that are often more directly linked to conversions.

PR broadens your reach

There’s no doubt about it; the brand awareness buzz that good PR creates can help you capture more leads.

Carefully selected placements and media mentions ignite conversations that help boost your presence in the real world. These help create high-value backlinks and referral traffic, to improve your rankings in the search results – putting your brand firmly on the map.

This boosted presence in the marketplace, ultimately translates to more leads entering the top of your sales funnel—and not just any leads, but leads that are well-acquainted with your brand, and already have a level of familiarity with your product or service.

celebrating the brand awareness buzz from good PR

PR helps position your brand

A well-executed PR campaign can attract more ideal prospects by perfectly positioning your brand in the marketplace.

Whatever the qualities that make up your brand identity—from the cool sophistication of Apple, to the visionary courage of Tesla—a good PR campaign can showcase those qualities, demonstrating to your target audience that your product or service has the characteristics needed to solve their specific problem.

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An 8-step communication strategy to help you win new business

PR shapes your brand story

Among other media strategies, placements in carefully selected publications can evoke these qualities by creating a strong narrative. The power of stories was illustrated in an experiment by Stanford professor Chip Heath, who asked students to give one minute speeches containing three statistics and one story. Afterwards, only five percent of listeners recalled the statistics, while more than sixty percent remembered the stories.

Whether your story is one celebrating your achievements—commercial or otherwise—or promoting your culture and purpose, narratives can hit emotions that resonate amidst endless noise. The strength of this emotional association is what helps you remain top of mind, on their consideration list, and build a reputation that keeps your customers coming back to your brand, instead of your competitors.

In this way, exposure in the right places doesn’t just draw more leads into the top of your funnel, but they trickle down through the sales process, ensuring prospects are receptive to your brand, and likely to trust you enough to feel good about working with you, as opposed to your competitor.

effective PR helps build trust

PR builds trust

Trust in institutions—including businesses, government, and the media—is at a low ebb, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. This erosion of trust is particularly noticeable in the tech industry, where the pace of change has become so fast that many feel left behind—waiting for their jobs to be replaced by automated bots or AI.

PR can help overcome this lack of trust

by creating a strong relationship with customers through what infamous Psychology and Marketing professor Robert Cialdini calls pre-suasion:

“The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. Strategically guiding preliminary attention, to move prospects into an agreement with the marketing message before they ever experience it.”

While B2B PR blogs can help to establish authority, and paid placements in established publications can demonstrate your credibility, appearing in the editorial section of a magazine or newspaper is the gold standard for building trust. Because these articles have been independently endorsed by a trusted third party, their credibility runs deeper than blogs, paid placements or advertisements, helping you to build a great brand reputation and win real lasting trust with your audience.

PR helps overcome customer objections

At the end of a customer’s journey, unforeseen objections can suddenly arise that are guaranteed to make a new salesperson sweat. A robust, strategically planned PR campaign can anticipate and address these customer objections before they are presented—making the life of a salesman a little easier.

According to research from DemandGen, 41 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before even engaging with a salesperson.

Content published on your owned channels, such as social media and website can help overcome common sales objections, including hesitancy over pricing and misunderstanding of benefits.

More effective however, is third-party content.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2014 revealed that third-party “expert content ” was even more effective at lifting purchase considerations than user reviews, with PR boosting familiarity significantly more than branded content.

“On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews.”

By tying this type of content into your sales process, through links in emails or social media, the strength of ‘expert content’ can be fully capitalised on, to help avoid last-minute complications, overcome objections, and reinforce the customer’s buying decision.

So, to summarise; from bringing more primed leads into the top of the funnel, to building trust and overcoming sales objections, a solid PR strategy and campaign plan can make life easier for your sales teams, directly boosting your bottom line and having a positive impact on your brand reputation.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our ultimate guide: Your 8-step communication strategy

READ this related post: B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

look at this infographic: 18 Business Benefits of a Communication Strategy

PR in Sales: We have won new business because of our communication strategy
EC-PR Packages - B2B PR Pricing Guide - front cover

How much does PR cost?

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The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

Our expert B2B PR guide with 9 steps to creating a press release that editors want to publish.

Download