Articles Tagged with planning

PR planning and improvisation

#SillySeasonPR #4

PR planning and improvisation

Planning your PR enables you to make the best of available opportunities.

You know what’s happening in your business, your schedule for launching new products or services and the dates of events you’ll be hosting or attending. Use all this to plan your PR activity.

When do you need to get news to publications about your product launch? What can you say about an event you’re organising? What photos or video can you create in advance to make the biggest impact?

Planning your PR early on gives you the time to come up with ideas and ensures you contact journalists before their deadlines. It also gives you the time to get all the information together, get quotes from key people, prepare images and other material, so your PR is packed with interest.

Many businesses leave it too late and send out press releases after the deadline and often after the event, when it’s old news. This material tends to be hurried, incomplete and ineffective. Often, it’s a waste of time and money.

Do it properly if you’re going to do it at all.

PR planning and improvisation

Expect the unexpected

Even when you’ve planned everything down to the smallest detail, the unexpected can turn your plans upside down.

That’s why it’s good to have a flexible attitude. If something is cancelled or changed, can you still use it for your PR?

If a sudden opportunity arises, can you bring your PR forward to take advantage?

Having planned and created your material in advance, this can often give you a structure with which to improvise.

In these situations you have to act fast. Waiting to get everything perfect could mean you miss the opportunity.

That’s how the combination of planning and improvisation enables you to make the most of all PR opportunities.

Plan for the future and adapt your plan on the day.

That’s your #SillySeason PR task #4.

Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: What is there to talk about?

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

 

Every PR action must have an objective

Have you ever been in a meeting where someone says “we must do a press release”?

Why? What’s the point?

We must know what we want to achieve before we start researching, interviewing, writing and distributing a press release.

Planning should identify business objectives. Focus your PR campaign and press releases on achieving these.

They could be to:

  • generate more sales
  • publicise an event
  • raise your individual profile
  • attract investor
  • launch a new product
  • establish a brand identity

When we know what we’re aiming to achieve, we know our time and effort will be well spent.

 

Plant PR as a tree in your business forest

Plant PR as a tree in your business forest | pressmeIn my work as business journalist, I often get calls from people who have started a business and need to attract paying customers fast. “We need to do some PR,” they say.

Most businesses have overheads: rent or loans, electricity, phone and internet, vehicle costs and more. These costs need to be paid irrespective of whether any customer sales are bringing in money. Most forms of promotion take time to deliver results, so starting to think about PR when a business or product has been launched is too late to deliver immediate sales.

PR is best planned much earlier. When it is part of the business plan plotting the launch, a PR campaign can be based on the business data and objectives set out in the plan. These will help to answer questions such as: Who is the target audience? What do they like? What need will drive customers to purchase?

Incorporating PR into planning embeds it in everyday business processes rather than leaving it as an afterthought. This makes it a habit so that ideas and actions for PR are generated naturally and not as a separate, time-consuming chore. Targeting, scheduling, delivery and measurement can all be worked out logically and not left to last-minute guesswork.

When the time is right, the activities planned can be put into action fast. The business will also be more prepared to take advantage of PR opportunities that arise without warning.

If a business is a forest, PR should be one of the varieties of tree planted at the beginning. From a distance it might not stand out on its own, but it will take root and add to the impact of the whole.

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

Finding your focus

When you look at the extensive range of communications you could get involved in, it’s easy to feel swamped by it all. Keeping in touch with customers, employees, suppliers and associates can take a lot of time and effort and there are so many things to do: web sites, newsletters, emails, phone calls.

Everyone has finite resources so it’s useful to focus on what can be managed rather than attempting, and failing, everything.

For many businesses, a web presence – even just a brochure web site – is the bare minimum for creating awareness. That’s not to say that the majority of your customers or target audience don’t prefer other means of communication, so the main focus should be on what really counts.

Just keeping everything up to date is a start. An out-of-date piece of information on our own web site was pointed out to me today and we’re amending it so that it is correct. This will happen for most businesses and there’s no point in worrying about it as long as you take speedy action to put things right as soon as you can. This shows how important it is to review material regularly.

Once you start planning and managing your communications, it does get easier as each activity will require less time to keep it going than was needed to get it started.

So focus on what’s really important to your business first and gradually widen your activity as and when you’re able.

After our last blog, have you achieved the right balance of challenge and achievement?

z2zine tomorrow: Up-to-date details

Follow us on twitter @z2zine

Starting conversations

So much can start with a conversation. In fact, no business can survive without conversations to communicate with its suppliers, employees and customers.

Communication is the basis of all business.

Whatever your business does, you have to communicate with banks or lenders to obtain finance, with staff to enable your business processes to operate smoothly and with customers so that they buy your product. A conversation ensures communication is two-way, enabling you to receive feedback from the other person, which can help you to improve what you do. One-way communication, when you tell people whatever you want, can risk deterring supporters and suppliers, upsetting staff and driving customers away.

z2zine today looks at a different aspect of communication every day to see what businesses can do to converse more effectively. Better communications can lead to better business, so there’s a big incentive for us all to develop and improve our conversations.

But where do we start?

Take André Preneur, an imaginary business owner, whose company is stagnating. He’s got a stationery cupboard full of brochures designed and printed six months ago, a web site that was launched two years ago and an order book that’s not very full. What can André do instead of sitting in his office with his door closed, worrying about how to get new orders to pay his suppliers’ invoice and his employees’ wages? He doesn’t have much of a marketing budget and he’s already placed adverts in local directories. What else is there?

The answer is: a lot.

And it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Just updating the web site is a start. Is the information current? Are prices correct? And what about those brochures? Do they promote products or services new to customers? When was the last time customers were contacted? Could they be sent a brochure to jog their memories, excite their interest and continue the customer conversation?

Simple examples, perhaps, but there are many things that every business can do to keep conversations flowing.

And it’s not just with customers. Conversations with employees need to continue as well. When markets are challenging, businesses depend on their people more than ever before, so treating them well is important, especially if additional flexibility and co-operation are needed.

What can I do today?

Conversations require effort to develop over the long term, but there are also quick, easy actions we can take every day. One thing we can do straight away is to make sure everything is up to date. So how about looking over your web site, deleting expired offers and old events, checking prices and current offers? And how about your printed material and stationary? Are addresses, prices, offers all current? Do you have new products you’re not promoting, but need to promote? And if you have boxes of brochures doing nothing, how about distributing them, either by mail or by your sales people or customer service staff?

All these actions are a start. Once begun, it’s much easier to continue conversing.

 

Do you need a customer or employee magazine?

We are just sending to press the 8-page magazine for The Business League, which we have written, edited and laid out.

I’ve worked in corporate communications for some 20 years and am experienced in creating lively, informative magazines for companies, clubs and organisations.

It’s something we enjoy doing and we take away all the hassle of compiling articles, interviewing people, etc.

Please get in touch if you’ve thought of producing your own magazine, but been put off by the thought of all the organisation, planning, writing and production. We will make it easy for you.

Robert Zarywacz

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