The planning phase of PR and Social Media Management can be invigorating – but it can also be frustrating. Here’s why you need a plan – and how to make it stick.
What a plan can do for you:
The PR / Social Media Plan spells out the stories and content you will use to spread the brand stores – the strategically-placed ‘heart and soul’ of your brand’s key messages – in essence, what you want your target audience to think about your brand.
The plan should map out the various channels that target audiences use (and trust) in order to consume information.
The plan removes guesswork when it comes to stories and messaging, so that you can be focused and highly targeted when reaching out to your audiences.
Finally, the plan spells out and schedules the methods and timing to pitch stories in order to generate impact and awareness for your brand.
The PR and Social Media is a comprehensive document that is aligned with business strategy, sales and marketing objectives.
The Elements of A Successful PR and Social Media Plan
First, in order for the plan to work, your content must be newsworthy. I know, that’s a pain, but it’s true. Whenever you hire a PR consultant who blindly issues press releases about how great you are, and how wonderful your company is (that don’t get coverage), you’re throwing money away. A PR/social media consultant worth her/his salt, is someone who disagrees with you, has opinions, and comes to you with story ideas.
Whether you’re pitching stories to local, regional or national media, or to social influencers and sharing on your own channels, newsworthy content makes all the difference. Take out the ‘I’ and the ‘we’ figuratively in your stories and think about the ‘you’.
Consider whether or not your topic is relevant – is it of interest to your audience right here and now? Set up a brainstorm session with the creative thinkers from your company, not the marketing and PR people – but the people on the front lines doing business every day.
Work with them to develop content ideas that make people sit up and take notice. Story ideas that won’t be ignored. And be honest with your team about what is NOT newsworthy. Stop shaking your head yes, and start shaking your head, NO, until they dig deeper and beyond themselves – to see what the client sees.
Set up a client survey – about what clients are thinking RIGHT NOW about your product category. Create social posts with intriguing questions on what’s happening now – and why they care. Listen directly to the customer and to those who interface with them every day – and you will start to dig into story angles that make news.
Think about and create a formal process with which to develop the PR and Social Media plan internally. Here are 10 steps to consider:
10 steps to creating a PR and Social Media Plan:
- Develop an annual awareness goal (or goals) – what do you want clients and the public to know about your brand?
- Define your target audience – and create a typical audience profile personna
- Create key message
- Map out your brand elements
- Brainstorm and plan – monthly relevant newsworthy story themes
- Identify the medic and social channels to reach your audience – and work internally to create social channels through LinkedIN using your employees profiles combined with your corporate profile.
- Write your PR and Social Media Plan – create a content calendar accessible to the principals of your firm and all marketing participants. View the calendar each week to ensure that some type of message is being delivered to your audience.
- Write – and plan – social and media pitches – start with a two month calendar and re-create every two to three months. Assign individuals in your company to write/help so that it is not all on your shoulders.
- Ensure that you boost your story success by making it relevant, newsworthy, with a telling ‘hook’.
- Measure the success of your PR Plan – using a social and media monitoring tool.
Using these ten steps, your company’s PR and Social Media strategy will set your brand apart from the competition.
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