16 Questions to Ask Yourself about Your PR Plan

With all the changes in technology and the media, it’s hard to keep up with the many activities it takes to succeed. Write down your PR plan to make it more concrete and likely to succeed. Before creating a PR strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s the hook? Without an angle that relates to the concerns or needs of a given media outlet’s audience, your story is likely just fluff (and not likely to be picked up).
  2. What’s different about you or your company?
  3. What are you the expert on?
  4. What makes you better than your competitors?
  5. What’s your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP)?
  6. What can you use (beyond your company or expertise) to help you stand out?
  7. Do you want national or local coverage or both? This can help narrow or broaden your research in the media outlets to target.
  8. Who’s the audience (of the media outlet)? Your angle/story has to match the audience of the media it targets.
  9. Which media outlets are most effective? Target online and offline outlets but pick media that match your own target audience well. Use competitive analysis to see which media outlets are covering your peers and competitors.
  10. Who are the journalists who cover your topic area or “beat”? Develop a list of the top journalists and bloggers in your industry.
  11. When should you send out your information to be timely? Release stories that match a season or a trend. For example, the owner of a gift store (whether online or bricks-and-mortar) might send out “Top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas” lists in March (or earlier for media outlets with longer lead times) in hopes of getting coverage in the weeks running up to Mother’s Day.
  12. How often should you send out press releases? Old-school PR people tend to be concerned about sending releases too often. Still a valid concern, depending on the media outlet and what you’re sending out—a steady stream of fluff does not build a company’s reputation but gets the press releases tossed or deleted. However, since online sites drop your releases after about a month, you should submit a series of releases to keep your information reappearing online. But don’t bug your local paper with a fluffy announcement every day—you will wear out your welcome fast.
  13. Do you have a story that includes a customer rather than just a pitch? Journalists prefer juicy stories that involve real people (including your customers) and tend to dislike straight sales pitches.
  14. Is your story part of a larger trend? If you can connect to a larger trend, you have a better chance of being taken more seriously and having your story picked up or being considered as a source for an interview. Use Google Trends/Insights/Suggest or Google News for research.
  15. What is hot on Google News?
  16. Is your reputation good or bad when you search for your company and product names on Google?

Crisis and reputation management is more important and complicated than ever. Be aware that there are tactics that allow you to fill up the first several pages of search engine results with pages that you promote. But nothing is better than responding to and diffusing rough situations and winning people over so they become brand cheerleaders.

What are some other questions you should ask about your PR plan?

photo credit: Oberazzi via photopin cc

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