There is no point in having a good product or service if no one knows about it. This is why a Public Relations or PR team is absolutely essential. The PR team is built specifically to help you get the message out to your target audience about your company, its products, and services. However, you cannot let your PR team operate without a clear direction or vision of the message you want to reach your target audience. Sadly, this is often a mistake that most businesses make.
It is a well-known fact that PR and marketing activities can not only be tricky but also very expensive and you need to be able to put your money to good use. Isolating the PR department from the rest of the company is also one of the worst mistakes that most small businesses make. To make sure that your PR team or department is working the way you want them to and is doing a good job of improving your brand image, building brand loyalty and creating brand awareness, you need to have a PR strategy. Like with the rest of the company, the working of the PR-side of the business should follow the guidelines in the strategy.
However, creating a PR strategy requires a lot of introspection and insight. You need to be able to figure out exactly what the true personality of the company is, before creating a PR strategy. Here are a few things that you need to consider before you begin formulating a PR strategy for your company.
#1 Think about your core message
You cannot truly have a PR strategy without figuring out the core message of your brand. If you do not know what you want to convey to your customers about your brand, then how can you have a PR strategy that revolves around it. What are the strong points of your company? Where do you see the company heading in the next few years? What is the ultimate goal of your company? What are the key differentiators of your company and its products or services that you wish to convey to your target audience?
Think about all these questions. Answer them, and you will have the core message of your company. Getting the answers to these questions will also help you identify the brand identity of your company. The core message of your brand should be consistent and must be shared with all the marketing teams in your company so that your target audience gets a consistent message from your brand.
#2 Who is your target audience?
Apart from the core message, the other most essential thing that you need to consider before creating a PR strategy is your target audience. Which are the kinds of people who will benefit most from your product or service? Who are the kinds of people that you want to attract to your company and will respond most to your brand and its product or services? For example, a high-end luxury automobile maker has a very different target demographic than a company making SUVs. This will also help you figure out how to identify and reach your target audience.
You should also be able to create a customer profile. Having customer profiles will help all the marketing teams create your marketing campaigns in a manner that will appeal to the right people. What kind of books does your ideal customer read? What are his/her priorities? What age group does he/she fall in? All these types of questions will help you tailor your PR campaigns very well to your target audience.
#3 What media outlets to opt for?
In the olden days, Public Relations personnel stuck to traditional forms of media like print. However, nowadays there are various ways to reach out to customers and you can reach out to a large section of people, on an international level, pretty easily. You and your PR team have to research local, national and international media outlets and figure out which ones are best to reach out to your target audience.
What kind of magazines or newspapers does your ideal customer read? What websites does he/she like? What kind of articles do they enjoy? All this will help you select the right media outlets for your brand and its PR campaigns.
#4 Be realistic
You may think that there is nothing better in this world than your product and that your product will change the way people live. However, your competitors and customers may not think so. You may have a nifty and useful product, but that does not mean it has no competitors in the industry. One of the biggest mistakes that companies commit in their PR campaigns is making exaggerated claims and sell their products too hard. Customers are smart, tech-savvy and knowledgeable. They are also realistic and able to understand the pros and cons very easily.
You need to clean up your PR narrative and the strategy should ensure that your company is being honest and forthcoming about your brand and its products or services. Your PR narrative should highlight the differentiators of your brand instead of making tall claims.
#5 Not all kinds of press is good press
The old saying goes that all publicity is good publicity, but this is not true. When you have a reputation to maintain, and a responsibility to be trustworthy to your customers, bad publicity can effectively ruin your brand. This is why, before creating your PR strategy, you need to think about the types of news that you don’t want to be associated with. Customers will respect you if you do not sensationalise news items or look to gain from scandalous news about other people and brands.