When it comes to public relations, it’s important to be both reactive and proactive. Sure, it’s good to be able to think on your feet and handle a crisis or new event when it comes along, but a well-developed strategy goes a long way in keeping your brand’s awareness high throughout the year.
Having a strategic plan for your public relations means you can create content to promote your brand throughout the year and be ready if you do see an immediate crisis.
Here are our top five tips for being proactive with your PR:
Create a calendar
Schedule out what services or products you want to promote during certain weeks or months. This will help you plan your messaging and make sure you have the product availability for when you do your push.
This will also help you ensure that you are continuously working on something to promote your brand and keeping your content as fresh as possible. Review your public relations calendar with not only your team but with all public touchpoints so that the messaging will always be the same.
Special days, special promotions
There are several holidays and observances throughout the year – and this is a great way to plan and make sure you are ready to promote your business in a fun and creative way. Everything from National Pizza Day to National Dog’s Day, you’re sure to find a celebration to tie into your business. Do you have photos you can share? Do you have messaging you can pitch to the local media?
Even more serious topics like drowning prevention month and medical awareness months can be an opportunity to partner with your community for education purposes through sponsorships, or through personal stories from your team on how your services can help or you were impacted.
Keeping on top of these events goes a long way in making sure you are part of the conversation, rather than just running sales or events around the big holidays.
Pitch ahead of the game
Pitch ahead of the game
Tying in with the special days and observances above, a proactive PR plan will include pitching story ideas to the local media, including “experts” from your business who can speak on relevant topics.
Here are some examples of this:
- During back-to-school time, a chiropractor’s office might pitch an expert to talk about backpack weights and tips to prevent kids from carrying too much.
- When it comes time for New Year’s resolutions, gyms often encourage their trainers to talk about routines or nutrition.
- When summer is about to hit, a local daycare could promote expert activity ideas that parents can do at home with their kids.
- When an unexpected pandemic hits, many businesses might pitch their stay-at-home solutions for the upheaval in everyone’s lives.
While not all these pitches lead to direct sales, they create brand awareness and leverage your business as an expert in its field. So, when a potential client needs what you offer, your business is at the top of their mind.
Pitching experts as part of a PR strategy also is a proactive way to help your team become reactive to hop on any current news or trends that may occur. If they’ve already quoted as experts in their field, it will be easier for them to comment on short notice. Also, your experts will be on the contact list of journalists for when they have a breaking story and need someone quickly.
Prepare for an emergency
While sometimes you must be reactive in your public relations due to a crisis or emergency, some proactive strategies can go a long way in making sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way.
Here are some strategies you can put in place.
- Make sure you have a communications plan – who does the talking, who approves messaging, etc.
- Have access to make immediate updates to the website, social media, voicemail messaging, customer e-mails, if necessary.
- Identify what your primary means of communication to your customers will be during a crisis and make plans to funnel all other channels to that main source.
- Double-check that all media and community leader contacts are up to date.
By creating a crisis management public relations strategy, you can ensure minimal impact on your brand’s image during a disaster.
Take time to research
Sometimes with reactive PR, you are just throwing your message out there, hoping things will stick. But when you take time to properly plan, you can target the right message to the best group of potential clients.
Some questions that can be answered through PR research and planning include:
- Who is my target audience? What demographics would be most interested in my products?
- Why is this product or service important to them? How will this make a difference in their lives?
- Which type of communication does this audience respond best to?
- What are the latest marketing trends for this demographic?
- What are my competitors doing successfully?
- What do we offer that sets us apart from our competitors?
Figuring out the answers to these questions while building your PR strategy not only helps avoid throwing money at marketing strategies that don’t work but ensures you can connect target a specific audience that will be the most interested in what you have to offer.
So, while reactive PR is usually a necessary part of business, being proactive should be as well. Both parts of the spectrum are essential in making your organization a success.