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It’s a New Year and to help get you on your way to getting better public relations results in 2015 here are some steps you can follow to create your own PR plan

1) Begin by Reviewing

Review what PR activity you had the year before. Look at the ideas that worked well and resulted in positive coverage. Take note of which journalists reported in your favor and which didn’t. Take note of any comments left on social media platforms or blogs. Note what was said.

2) Set Objectives

Next, consider your overall business objectives and use them as a basis for developing your key media messages. Make sure that what you say and how you say it reflects what you’re trying to achieve. Your messages will form the backbone of your communication activity for the year. Determine your message by answering the following questions:
– What’s different about you or your company?
– What are you the expert of?
– What makes you better than your competitors?
– What’s your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP)?
– How can you stand out?

Once you know what worked in the past and you know what the objectives that you are trying to meet are and the messages you want communicated begin sketching out your plan to reach those objectives

3) Plan your Moves

– Review your objectives through the eyes of a journalist
– Determine what type of coverage you want – local, regional or major news outlets
– Create a list of everywhere you want to be covered: newspapers, magazines, blogs, trade journals, etc.
– Identify the reporters at each publication who write about the specific topic that you want to be covered for. Find their contact info. This will usually be included with their stories but if it’s not, search LinkedIn, Google, or on the publication’s site. If you’re still stuck, call the publication.
– Create a spreadsheet with all the publications names, corresponding reporters and their contact info.
– Create a news release calendar to plan out the news/blog topic press releases you intend to issue in the next three months. This will give you some initial structure and help you stay focused on generating news.
– Look at editorial calendars of the publications you want to target. Researching them will enable you to identify opportunities to offer yourself as an expert source, submit your own article or pitch a feature on your company.
– Once you’ve set your list of targets, begin contacting publications as soon as possible.Pay careful attention to the closing dates, or you’ll risk losing out on the opportunity.
– Prepare for the future by taking pictures or shoot video of events, as these images could be used on your website and in future advertising materials in subsequent years.

Review your task list and timetable repeatedly throughout the campaign, making adjustments as necessary. PR is a fluid field that requires flexibility and an understanding that things will change. However, if you don’t have a plan in place and you take the “go with the flow” approach to your PR efforts you are never going to get the results you want.