Last week, a client asked me to write a PR plan for his business. It wasn’t a year long plan. It was a short-term PR and marketing plan to accomplish a particular goal. 

From time to time, I get requests like these and go about them in the same way. First, you need to look at the marketing problem and potential solutions (obvious and not). From there, it’s best to ask a series of questions and then follow the guidelines of an established PR Plan. 

If you’re working with a PR and Marketing consultant, they should know most of the answers. If not and actually either way, it’s helpful to write a summary of what you’re looking for and why. 

21 Questions to Ask Before You Write a PR Plan in 2021

  1. What are you already doing in your marketing and PR efforts? What about social media? 
  2. Do you have a dedicated person helping in the marketing and PR role? What kind of experience do they have? 
  3. Are you ready, willing, and able to become an official press contact 24/7, give out your mobile number – and perhaps, become an expert resource in your industry? If not you, who will you designate? 
  4. Are you looking to get media attention for yourself, your brand, or both?
  5. Do you regularly or randomly send media pitches or press releases to promote your business, brand or news? With what frequency? 
  6. Is this story or PR plan of local or national interest?
  7. Who is your target audience? Who do you want to influence and why? 
  8. What demographic information or psychographics can you supply about your ideal audience?  
  9. How will this news or story idea benefit your target audience? 
  10. What current trends influence your desired outcome? They can be positive trends or what you perceive to be negative. Do you have any story links or research that support this? 
  11. What’s been going on in your business lately? 
  12. What do you think is press worthy in your business and why would a PR plan be helpful?
  13. Do you have new data and statistics that you’d like to share, an idea for piggybacking the news, an announcement, new way of looking at your industry, innovative research that will change the way things are done?  
  14. Do you have video to support this? What about an ‘About’ video to describe your mission, company, and why this is important?   
  15. What’s your competition doing in the marketplace? What are their weaknesses and strengths as far as marketing and PR? 
  16. Are there any specific publications, blogs, networking communities, video channels, or social media groups that your target audience reads or watches? Which have given you the greatest return on your investment? Time, money, staff resources, etc. 
  17. Do you know of any social media or Facebook groups that you have not connected with yet that might support your PR initiatives? What about LinkedIn groups? 
  18. Are you using local social media such as Nextdoor or Alignable? 
  19. Are you a member of any social media pods? If not, do you have a trusted community on social media that would support you? 
  20. Do you have a professional website, fully functional and error free that would be an excellent representation of what you do (and why) in a clear and succinct way?
  21. Are you willing to update media contacts on a regular basis and input data in a PR editorial calendar?
  22. Can you commit to building relationships with journalists, reporters, and influencers and not expect instant results – though you want it badly? 
  23. Will you refer interesting stories, other than your own, to reporters? Will you take the time to comment on their stories and or articles to build a stronger bond?
  24. And lastly, will you follow a DIY plan, make notes on what works and what doesn’t, based on where you are now and where you want to go? One of the benefits of owning a business or being an expert is being able to pivot to meet current challenges and offer timely solutions. 

That’s it. 21 PR Questions to Ask or Answer before you write a PR and marketing plan. If you worked with me, I’d probably ask a ton more.

And oh, marketing and PR should be like best friends. They hang out together, but each has their own lives. Think of PR as free earned media. What people say about you, third party, not what you pay for. Pitches and press releases that are strategic, well thought out, and positioned to meet your goals. 

Marketing encompasses PR. And publicity is what you’re looking for.

Here’s to your PR plans in 2021. Ping me if you need a hand. 

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