Friday, August 3, 2012
Developing a PR Plan
Developing your own public relations (PR) plan is an important ingredient in your total marketing mix. It helps expand your reach into other areas, reinforcing any advertising you may have done or are planning to do. Your PR plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should lay out some basic directions for you to follow.
A PR plan should be a well-developed part of your ongoing work as a freelancer. Good public relations requires organization, discovering who your target market is—in other words, the public in your public relations—, and how you can be of benefit your target, and how you can best tell them about what you have to offer. Your target will shift depending on what you’re trying to promote. If you’re promoting your work as a magazine writer, then your target will be magazine editors. However, if you’re promoting a new ebook, then your target will be your readers since you’re offering your book direct to them.
Use your own enthusiasm and energy to not only create your plan but keep it together. The first step is brainstorming. Think of all the usual groups that you might approach—college students and teachers, teenagers, religious groups, art groups, service clubs, social service agencies, etc. You’ll no doubt come up with many others, such as government officials, Chambers of Commerce, social groups, study clubs, senior citizens, ethnic groups, professional organizations, even friends of your local library. After you've made a list of targets, combine them with your objectives to develop your own unique strategy.
Basically, any thoughtful campaign you use to make your abilities known to a new market or to remind an editor of your talents, will have three objectives: promoting good will, supporting ongoing publicity about yourself and your skills, and obtaining new and better assignments.
Examine the situation as you would any writing project. First, analyze what you think would best suit your objectives. Once you know that, research your markets for overlooked areas and contacts. Thoroughly check details and statistics involved before you make your pitch. And finally, consider your resources and how best to apply them. Naturally, your objectives must be geared to the results you wish to obtain and how much you can afford to spend in time and money to get them.
If you’re promoting yourself to magazine editors, for example, create a schedule for reminding them that you're still available. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Occasionally, send a copy of an article you've published to other editors simply for their enjoyment. You never know when one of them may ask for permission to reprint it. Create a “What’s New” page on your Web site and send out E-mail announcements with a link to it.
If you’re writing and publishing books, try to get your book reviewed—hopefully, a positive one—and send the review to editors or other interested parties. Stories about you in newspapers and in online blogs are a great form of free PR. The same goes for speaking engagements. Keep copies of letters or emails thanking you for your good work at conferences or other speaking venues. Also post them on your Web site, so visitors can read what others are saying about you.
Keep up-to-date background material about your work circulating everywhere. Never assume information about you gets to the right or helpful source without your guidance.
And finally, a PR plan is only as good as its effectiveness. Note what works and what doesn’t, then adjust your plan accordingly.