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Developing a Public Relations Plan

A public relations plan consists of many different forms of publicity working together to make better business. Developing a PR plan and constantly updating and reviewing will help you put all the necessary tools together to accomplish your goals.

The best starting point for public relations planning is to review the organization's mission statement and goals. When planning your PR activities for the year, consider your plan for six months, and expect to revise after three months. Like most business activities, PR requires flexibility and a recognition that things will change over time. However, there are a number of factors that will make a measurable difference to your company’s success if you take them into account at this early stage. Reviewed mission statement and goals summarizes what the organization is and what it's trying to accomplish, and they should provide the focus for every decision the organization makes and every action it takes. This should be especially true of public relations efforts.

Consequently, many public relations plans start with a copy of the organization's mission and goals. The next element these plans include is a mission statement for the public relations unit which spells out what that unit does and how it assists and supports the organization in carrying out its mission.

Here are few fundamentals for PR Plan:

Develop a budget.
Remember, a foray into public relations is not free advertising. Depending on your company’s objectives, your plan may require event funds, guest speaker fees, the purchase of media contact guides etc…

Designate a reliable spokesperson.
This person is on the front line, plain and simple. Not only should they be trusted with primary company
objectives, they need to be comfortable with the media and the community and know the boundaries.

Cultivate a reputation of responsiveness.
For good or bad news, nothing will tarnish a company’s image faster than delay or avoidance. Members of the media are on constant deadline. They will return to you again and again if you demonstrate courtesy, and treatyou with respect if you provide the information they need, when they need it.

Keep your contacts up-to-date.
It’s effective relationship building that reinforces your company’s image and purpose.

Work on a timeline.
This is based on your company’s proactive objectives. If you’ve identified a need to raise company awareness in the community, for example, then your yearly plan should clearly outline how many boards to be a part of, what events require a presence and the projected number of media mentions. From these factors, you can measure results.

The portion of the plan which identifies critical audiences and desired relationships may remain unchanged for years, but the rest of the plan shouldn't. On the tactical level, objectives will be met and new ones will emerge. The latter are added to the plan, and the former removed. Objectives which remain unmet despite the best possible execution of the plans laid to achieve them require re-evaluation and another round of planning to keep them viable.

For fast-moving, high tech organizations, plans need to be checked and revised on an almost weekly basis. For others, quarterly is often enough. And, for still others, an annual review is almost too often. The speed with which the organization and its operating environment change is a better gauge of how frequently its plans should be updated. The critical thing is that the plans change often enough and sufficiently enough to adequately reflect the changes in the conditions they're trying to describe. If you have to blow the dust off a public relations plan to use it, the odds are it won't be worth using.

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