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
Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

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

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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.

What Does A PR Campaign Consist Of?

What Does A PR Campaign Consist Of?

What Does A PR Campaign Consist Of?

Planning on writing a couple of articles, whizzing them off to an industry magazine and thinking your PR campaign is complete? 

Mention PR to the uninitiated and they may just associate the word with news articles and press interviews, but there is a little bit more to it than that.

Read on to discover what a great B2B PR campaign should consist of and how you can make your campaigns stand out from the crowd.

Why Run A PR Campaign?

You could run a PR campaign for several reasons – to achieve a general business goal, launch a new product or service, raise brand awareness, revive older products, or show off your new brand. The possibilities are wide and varied but there should always be a purpose.

All the reasons to run a campaign will likely have the overarching goal of engaging more customers with your business. From brand awareness to thought leadership – the underlying goal is to attract clients and grow your business.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow

The PR Planning Process

What activities should you undertake as part of the campaign planning process?

Without a doubt, the most important part of your PR campaign is the planning, or preparation. A thoroughly researched and well-planned PR campaign is a successful campaign. For best success, these are the components each campaign plan should include:

The customer journey – how do your customers reach you? You need to understand the journey your customers go through before they are ready to buy from you. Depending on what stage they are at in their journey, customers will consume different types of content or respond to different types of calls to action.

A marketing asset audit – once you have completed your customer journey, you need to establish where you are missing content, where there are gaps in the journey, or where processes can be improved. This missing content represents opportunities to influence and guide your customers towards your brand.  Remember – you want to make it as easy as possible for people to make informed decisions about you, or your products and services.

A target persona map – target persona maps help you delve even deeper into the mind of your customer and understand what turns them on (and off!), how and where they are likely to encounter your messaging and what the triggers would be for them picking up the phone or making an order.

The plan – by now you should have a deeper understanding of what your customer journey looks like, what makes them buy, where they ‘hang out’ and what work needs to be done at your end to improve any touchpoints. Now it’s time to plan what your live campaign will look like! This will involve choosing which media channels you will use, what activities you will carry out, key milestones, and who is responsible for what.

The media environment – once you have your persona front and centre of your plans, you need to consider and benchmark the competitive media environment. What are the prevailing and emerging BIG issues you need to have a position on; what are your competitors saying on these issues, which topics do you have a unique point of view on that will advance or challenge the debate and how will you evidence that point of view.

The content – now comes the fun part! Create a content calendar and work out what media needs to be developed, what the format will be, and how it will be distributed. A content calendar is not a campaign in its own right – but it can be used to support the campaign narrative.

Planning A PR Campaign

Now you’re familiar with PR campaign planning, are you ready to start? Your essential guide to executing a successful B2B PR campaign plan contains everything you need to get going.

What Does A PR Campaign Consist Of?

Your PR campaign may contain many different activities and channels and, depending on where your target customer goes for information, you will need to consider a mix of paid, earned, owned, and shared media.

Paid media – choosing a paid media channel will depend on your target market but two commonly used tools are paid social media adverts (Facebook ads, for example), and Google Adwords (Pay Per Click/PPC)

Earned media – is what others are saying about you. You pitch your business or content to bloggers, influencers, websites, and industry publications in a way that makes you worthy of talking about.

Owned media – the content you created, own, and publish on your own channels. For example, a blog you publish on your website. Or a podcast you promote via Facebook.  

Shared media – shared media is basically social media. Technically, your content may still be owned but it will be reposted, adapted, and even repurposed by others. The trick is staying on top of this and how others are engaging with your business and content.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow

Who Is Responsible for Your PR Campaign?

PR campaigns can be assembled by either an in-house team, overseen by a marketing manager or director or undertaken by an external specialist agency.

If all the above sounds like a lot of work…yes, it is but if the process is followed correctly, your margin of error is vastly reduced, and the likelihood of success is increased. That doesn’t mean it will be easy though.

For that reason, you may choose to engage a PR agency. The professional experience, advice, and practical help a PR company can bring to your campaigns will be unrivalled. It’s also worth looking for a PR agency with experience in your sector or at least specialising in B2B PR activities.

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.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download our comprehensive guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning for all the templates, examples and tools mentioned in this article.

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice – 18 Benefits from a communication strategy

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including valuable example PR campaigns, templates and tools.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

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