By: Gabby Moulis
When talking about public relations strategy most people think of it as the vague basis for all forms of public relations. In reality, strategy is the heart of planning for a public relations campaign. In order for a campaign to work, a team will need a strategy to implement its goals and objectives through tactics. This seems simple, right? One just has to simply think of a plan to make things work? Despite popular belief, strategy is actually much more complex, and it is an essential part of a PR campaign.
After all the research is completed and a target audience is determined, strategy is the next step. According to Strategic Planning For Public Relations, Ronald Smith describes the three steps of strategy as, “establishing goals and objectives, formulating action and response strategies and developing the message strategy”(Smith et al., 2013, 14). In order to develop a strategy for a campaign, one must follow these steps to success for a client.
Defining objectives is crucial in strategy formation. Smith describes a public relations objective as, “a statement consistent with an organization’s positioning and emerging from the organization’s goals” (Smith et al.,2013, 100). Objectives involve an organization’s desired awareness, acceptance and action for its target audience. Because they seem similar at first glance, these three ways to formulate objectives can be quite confusing; however, this is not the case.
Awareness objectives involve spreading information and knowledge. Acceptance focuses on your key public’s attitude and interest towards your organization (Smith, et al., 2013). Your desired response from your target audience, such as their opinion on your organization, is the action objective. For example, Empower Public Relations created the action objective of receiving more donations from sponsors for Capital Area Special Olympics.
When formulating action and response strategies, schedules, such as a media timeline like the example below, can be created to help stay organized.
These tables can be media or budget related depending on the client’s needs. This is a tedious task; however, clients and team members will be grateful when it comes time to implement these strategies.
The message strategy is how a client wants its objectives to be presented to the public. Developing a strategy is essential to a successful campaign, and most people are not aware of the complex decision-making that comes with it. In its basic form, strategy is intense planning. It is the calm before the storm of implementation.
Connect with Empower’s Co-Strategy Director, Gabby Moulis