Happy spring everyone! After a long, cold winter, I don’t think spring has come one day too soon! One of the best things about spring arriving is that new seasons bring about new opportunities. In PR, these opportunities could include launching a new product line, developing a news release schedule for the upcoming months, or making contacts with different members of the media at spring functions. Taking advantage of these PR opportunities helps companies set themselves apart from the competition, shine a positive light on their company, and ultimately increase profits. There are several things to keep in mind while you’re developing your spring PR plan.
Public Relations can be defined many ways. Often, PR can mean different things for different companies. The PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process between organizations and their publics.” The first word is very important, “strategic.” Unfortunately, that aspect of a PR plan can sometimes be underdeveloped due to the everyday race to get things done. An underdeveloped strategy can limit the effectiveness of a PR plan and reduce the return on your investment.
The RACE model can be used to help you develop a strategic PR plan. RACE is an acronym standing for Research, Action planning, Communication, and Evaluation. Research is an important step in the beginning stages of any type of marketing campaign. Some good things to know in the initial stage of a PR plan include target audiences, demographics, what those audiences like, how they like to communicate, and where they go to get information. This could be TV, newspapers, magazines, social media, etc. The next step is action planning. Here, a strategic plan is developed from the research that determines what information to communicate and the best ways to reach the desired audiences with that information. The information needs to be newsworthy. It needs to be able to capture the attention of the desired audiences and contain content that they can find value in. A truly strategic plan aligns the communication not only with the goals of the PR plan, but also with the core values, mission, and vision of the company.
The third step in the RACE model is communication. This involves getting the information and content developed in your action plan to the appropriate and most effective media outlets. Media contacts and contact lists can be very valuable resources in this step to help you distribute information efficiently. The final step is evaluation. It is important to track the results of your PR campaign and analyze its effectiveness. Determining a ROI is a good way to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan. To do this, you must monitor all the press generated by your campaign, estimate a value for that press, and compare the value of the PR to the expenses associated with generating that PR.
The RACE model can be a helpful guide for developing a strategic PR plan. However, it is important to keep in mind that PR is a dynamic process. It requires constant attention and focus. For the best results, all four of the steps in the RACE model need to be executed continuously and simultaneously. For more information on the continuous PR process check out Jim Shoemaker’s blog at The PR Cycle of Life.