Components of a Written Public Relations Plan

Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Public relations is all about putting our best foot forward by creating a positive public image. It all starts with an effective public relations plan that includes well-defined objectives, a target audience, and good communication tactics.

What Is A Public Relations Plan?

Simply stated, public relations planning is the development of a blueprint for positioning a company or a celebrity in the best light possible. This means setting up objectives, identifying a target audience, and communicating the image using strategies and tactics that work.

Components of a Public Relations Plan

Writing a winning public relations plan boils down to just four important things:

  • Objectives
  • Target audience
  • Campaign messages
  • Media strategy

Let's take a look at what goes into each component. Public relations objectives are the overall goals for the plan. There shouldn't be too many, maybe 3-5 goals. Too many goals may create too broad of a plan, making it difficult to hone in on what is important. For each goal, include not only the vision but the intended result as well. Here is an example:

We intend to increase interest in our products by 20% by broadening our target audience over a one-year time period.

Speaking of target audience, choosing the target for the public relations plan comes next. A target audience is simply a specific group of people who share common interests.

Once a target audience is chosen, it is time to develop the meat of the plan. This comes through in the campaign messages. These are the things we want the target audience to know. They are meant to persuade and influence our target audience to act or think. Here is an example:

Our evening gowns can be seen on the famed red carpet. To the right audience, this sends a very strong message about status, luxury, and popularity of the dresses.

All the planning in the world doesn't measure up to anything without getting the word out to the streets. This is done by implementing a media strategy. This can be as simple as a presentation to colleagues or an all-out television and radio campaign. It really depends on the target audience and their preferences.

Now that the components have been identified, there is still one more consideration -- the presentation itself.

Presenting To Different Audiences

The public relations plan can be written for customers, fans, and even colleagues. With each audience, the plan must be communicated so that those on the receiving end understand its meaning and intent.

Internal public relations are all about employees, colleagues, shareholders, and suppliers, to name a few. On the flip side, external public relations refer to those outside of the company, such as customers, clients, and the community at large.

When developing a public relations plan for the internal audience, it's best to communicate the purpose of the plan and how it benefits the internal organization. Be sure that the internal audience understands how they fit into the larger picture.

For example, management may need to communicate the possibility of layoffs in the future. Although this is not the best news for employees, it is still important to position the company in the best light and to calm employees.

As the plan unfolds, keep everyone informed by communicating frequently. This can be done through email, in face-to-face meetings, newsletters, and staff meetings.

The external audience works differently. It's more formal that the internal audience and has special needs. External partners do not need to know the inner workings of the plan as much as they need to know how the plan will achieve their goals.

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