Articles Tagged with objectives

What do you want your PR to achieve?

#SillySeasonPR #3

What do you want your PR to achieve?

Have you ever heard people say “We need to do some PR”?

My question is: why?

Everything we do in business costs money; even time has a cost, as we could be spending it on client work, making product or selling. We need a reason for doing anything, not just PR.

When people say they need to do some PR, it usually means sales have dried up and they know they need to something but don’t know what.

What is your objective?

Like anything else in business, PR activity should have an objective. This could be to:

  • raise awareness of your business, products or services
  • educate potential customers about products/services you provide
  • start customers thinking about your products, eg installing new heating in the summer in readiness for winter
  • buy a specific product/service relevant now, eg ice cream during a hot spell
  • promote an event
  • demonstrate your expertise as a leader in your industry
  • publicise your success, eg expansion, new staff, award wins, new premises
  • demonstrate to the community what a good business you are to work for to attract new employees

What do you want your PR to achieve? #SillySeasonPR

#3 #SillySeasonPR actions

Usually, your aim should tie in with your business plan.

PR can support this when you identify what call to action you want readers to take, such as:

  • visit your web site
  • phone or email you
  • visit your premises
  • book a place at an event
  • check to see whether they need to renew/replace a product they have, eg worn car tyres
  • make a purchase

Identify what you want to achieve so you know what action readers need to take to achieve it and what ‘call to action’ you need to include in your press release.

That’s your #SillySeason PR task #3.

Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: PR planning and improvisation

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business.

Let’s get out of our heads

Lately I seem to have spent too much time in business meetings and on committees, discussing and making plans.

Now planning can be valuable – it helps us identify what we want to and can achieve, recognise our limitations and spot possible risks and how to deal with them – but it can also be a powerful excuse for putting off action:

“We can’t do that until X does this, Y does that and Z has been completed.”

Planning takes place inside our heads, a comfortable environment where we control the results: A leads to B, which leads to our goal of C. Once we take a plan out of our heads and put it into the real world, F, G, H and Q can intervene, some of them completely unexpected.

It’s much safer to run a plan in our heads than risk it all going wrong when put into action, but this means we won’t achieve our objectives.

I’ve never been happy just to sit on committees as I like to see action. So that’s my focus at the moment: getting plans out of my head and into the real world to achieve what I want and maybe encounter adventures along the way.

How about you?

Posted via email from z2zine

What can I say about my business?

When everyone else already seems to be saying everything that could possibly be said about business, there are times when the choice of going outside and enjoying the sunshine can appear preferable to thinking about something original to say about your own business.

However, no business survives without customers and most of us have to promote or advertise our products and services to attract those customers.

So what can you say that hasn’t already been said a million times before?

Ideas rarely come out of thin air, so it’s good to start with your business plan and objectives, as all communications should be based on these. If you’ve got a communications plan, this should also give some ideas of what you want to achieve.

Start by listing topics based around products, services, launches, events, achievements, changes or industry developments. If your business is seasonal, do you change your products every quarter? If your business is linked to events triggered within your industry, list key changes about to occur or important dates. If you have product launches or events, list these too.

When you’ve made your list, start to fit these to dates when you need to blog about them, issue a press release, update your web site or produce a new brochure. If you don’t already have a communications plan, this could be the basis of one.

Announcements don’t need to be major, although the appointment of a junior employee is unlikely to hit the broadsheet newspapers and you should have realistic expectations of what each piece of news is capable of achieving. That doesn’t stop you aiming as high as possible, especially when you do have a really good story.

Also, you may have a great story without knowing it. Ask colleagues or contacts what they think about specific issues. If they’re excited about them, will your audience also be interested in them? What appears uninteresting to you could be exciting to your audience.

By creating a store of ideas, which you can add to regularly, you’ll never be short of an interesting topic to write or talk about.

After yesterday’s blog, have you thought about how well you check your written material?

z2zine tomorrow: Think before engaging typing finger!

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Realistic communication objectives

When we’ve got missions and goals, objectives and aims, how do we go about setting achievable targets? Many businesses want to increase customers and sales, but what is realistic?

Perhaps the best target is one that is achievable, but requires effort and persistence to achieve. After all, if something’s impossible, it’ll just knock us back so that we don’t feel like trying again and if it’s too easy, we could lose interest.

How do we start to set realistic objectives?

Take our imaginary business owner, André Preneur, whose company is stagnating. There’s lots of things he wants to do: broadcast a viral video on YouTube and generate 2 million views, sell 200 copies of his DIY marketing course every week and get in the business sections of all the broadsheet newspapers. So far, he’s done nothing towards any of these, not even made his video, and he’s got 2,000 marketing courses packaged up and not one sold. What can he do?

The answer is: a lot.

But he’s unlikely to achieve his objectives without having done any preparation at all. Viral videos take a lot of planning, creativity and persistence, as do selling online and getting into national newspapers. They are all achievable, but they won’t happen without planning and effort.

Perhaps what he needs to do is set his targets on what he can achieve with the time and resources that he has available now. If he has 100 visitors to his web site each day, could he double this easily? If he gets five sales from his web site each day, could he double this? These are realistic targets that can be measured directly from web site statistics and sales data. Are they too easy? Possibly. If they can be achieved in a number of days, then they’ll prove what’s possible and can be modified.

When the first targets have been achieved, new targets can be set. Can web visitors be doubled again or trebled over a similar period? Can sales be increased by the same amount?

And what about that viral YouTube video? Is that just a dream? Anyone could achieve it if they put in the time and resources required, but we have to ask ourselves if we are prepared to do this and also what the return would be for the business. How would mass viewing of a video be exploited by the business to increase awareness or sales?

No target is too big if there is a realistic opportunity to achieve it and we are prepared to apply what’s required. On the other hand, it can be good to build confidence by achieving modest targets which can be increased if we hit them too easily.

Finding the right balance of challenge and achievement is important so that we set targets that don’t doom us to failure but encourage us to continue developing.

After our last blog, are you measuring your communication success?

z2zine tomorrow: Finding your focus

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Measuring your communications success

So we’ve developed a communications plan and are putting it into practice by working towards long-term goals and taking short-term actions daily, but how do we know if anything’s working?

Like anything we do in business, it’s essential to measure success, especially where we’re putting a lot of time or money into an activity.

Our business plan will suggest appropriate targets to us, but we have to work out how to tell if we are meeting these.

There are many different ways of measuring the success of communications. One of the simplest is to ask people, such as asking customers how they found out about your company or product. You can do this in person or on the phone or develop a more comprehensive survey for people to fill in.

You can also develop specific response mechanisms so that customers respond with a unique code printed in an advert (letting you know they saw that advert) or access a special web page so you can count how many responses your activity generated. While simply measuring increases in responses or sales tells you that your communications are working, it won’t tell you why it’s working or which activities work better than others. If you advertise in three publications, it’s useful to know which one generates a bigger response as you might wish to increase your advertising in that one and stop advertising in the other two. You can use this in any form of communication, not just for advertising and marketing.

By discovering what works best, you can focus on successful methods and stop or improve less productive activities. Your planning and use of communications will become more sophisticated and you will get more value from your communications budget.

After our last blog, are you taking action every day?

z2zine next Monday: Realistic communication objectives

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Know why you’re communicating

Last week we looked at developing a communications plan, but it’s very difficult to plan when you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.

Your business plan should remind you of your objectives. If you don’t have a business plan, it’s worth developing one before you start an ambitious communications programme so that you have definite, measurable aims. Either do this yourself or consider working with a business adviser to write your plan.

Objectives can vary from specific, such as selling a certain quantity of one product, to general, such as raising awareness, which won’t necessarily result in immediate sales but will help to build your reputation.

Every communication should have a purpose, even just to inform people. A television retailer could give free advice on the analogue to digital TV switchover in the UK: it won’t increase sales immediately, but will position the business as a specialist that can provide dependable advice. It will help to ensure that it is the first name a consumer thinks of when they need to buy a new television or set-top box, so should ultimately result in more sales.

So set objectives for the short, medium and long term, either general or specific and think of ways in which you can measure your success in achieving them.

After our last blog, do you know the tone of voice you want to represent your business?

z2zine tomorrow: Writing those first words

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Marketing your business plan into action

We’re getting more enquiries from businesses needing to do something fast . . . a sales letter, a blog, revised web site text. Unsurprisingly, businesses in every sector are having to work harder to attract and retain clients, and their marketing tools need to be in good shape to help them do this.

Before we can write a sales letter or blog, we ask questions so that we understand clients’ objectives and usually the answers are in their business plan, if they have one. A useful business plan is one used to direct the business, not an academic exercise to please banks or lenders, which can often bear little resemblance to reality. Even a brief plan of a page or two can be effective.

A good plan will remind a business about its core objectives, key markets, required level of sales and other important targets. In a challenging marketplace, it’s useful to review your business plan and objectives, and modify it to reflect changing circumstances. For example, with the difficulties being experienced by sectors such as financial services and car manufacturing, should an existing focus on one of these be switched to another sector? It’s also possible for difficulties in a specific sector to open up new opportunities and the business plan can be adapted if you want to take advantage of these.

Businesses with an understanding of current market conditions and an up-to-date business plan can monitor their progress easily to see what is working and how they are doing against their targets. They can also see what is not working and stop or modify unsuccessful activities.

When you have clear objectives, know your target audience and understand what they want, it’s much easier to develop marketing tools that will put your plan into action and help it succeed.

It’s hard to find a good copywriter

Last week we were approached by a prospective client to whom our copywriting service had been recommended by a colleague. They were keen to discover what we do, how we write and whether we fit in with their requirements. During our initial conversation they said: “It’s hard to find a good copywriter.”

This is interesting, considering there are thousands of freelance copywriters available.

So what makes a good copywriter?

In our view, a good copywriter understands the clients’ objectives. What does the client want their readers to do: call their phone number, visit their web site or buy something? The copywriter must also understand the identity of the audience: businesses or/and consumers; young or/and old; male or/and female; plus a thousand other variables.

With this understanding, the copywriter writes in a style appropriate to that audience, using the language these specific readers like to hear, and which they can understand easily.

Not every copywriter is able, or wants, to write for every audience; they all have personal preferences and specialities. While it is generally easy for a copywriter to write about almost anything, that is not to say that a copywriter specialising in one field will be able to write about another field with the same success.

Then there’s the client-copywriter relationship. As with many services, there needs to be a good working relationship to enable the smooth flow of ideas.

And, finally, a good copywriter must be able to write good copy.

Robert Zarywacz

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