There are different ways to develop a PR plan or campaign. Every organization designates these elements in different ways according to their needs. However a good plan or campaign should have the following elements:
Situation: This element explains the importance of why a PR campaign is needed. It summarizes the relationship between the public and an organization. A great example is McDonald’s and the allegations of rats in one of its branches in Arizona. Organizations might be going through bad publicity by some kind of mistake and here is where they need to step up and make a PR plan to change that image and relation with the public. The situation, on a PR plan, is the most important element because it explains the client why you need to rebuild that relationship with the public and why money should be spent.
Objectives: Having a great PR plan and knowing that it will be successful to increase awareness about your organization is not enough. Usually your client or employer will have to see the need to spend money on your “”idea” or proposal. This is why having clear goals and objectives is key to the plan; otherwise it might be rejected by the client. You have to make sure you understand what are you trying to accomplish and make sure these objectives are measurable for evaluation.
Audience: Knowing whom you’re writing for is a key to the success of a plan. If you write for the “general public” is not going to work. If you write thinking the media is the audience, is not going to work either. The media is used as a channel to send your message to your final audience. The message should be delivered to a specific audience. Perhaps employees of an organization are a specific audience as well as students of a college or university.
Strategies: If you have clear what your objectives are, it will be easier to develop the strategies. You have to make sure that it is something relevant to your audience. If the strategy does not reflect the audience’s self-interest then the plan won’t succeed and you won’t be able to accomplish your objectives. Also you need to make sure that the message is delivered in simple terms as a key selling proposition.
Tactics: The tactics is basically what the public see, hear or watch. It can be a poster, a commercial on the radio, or an ad on the TV. It’s usually materials produced by PR writers.
Calendar: Knowing the right time when to launch a PR campaign is critical. You can’t come up with a Christmas message in July or have the public file their taxes in September. A campaign must be conducted when the key message will mean the most to your audience.
Budget: Nobody works for free. Therefore, making sure you have the right money to pay everyone involved in the campaign is important. Also make sure you have an “extra” budget for those out-of-pocket expenses. These can be printings, video production, actors, travel, etc. When you submit a plan you have to know how many people you are going to work with. This is important because you don’t want to run out of money when the plan is not even finished yet.
Evaluation: During this process is when you see if all the time and money spent was worth it. Were your objectives accomplished? Usually the “before” situation has already being documented through marketing studies, so all you have to do is a post-campaign survey.