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Large yellow light bulb next to a large blue megaphone on a dark pink background. How to create a PR Strategy blog post

How to Create a PR Strategy in 2024

TJ Kiely

Nov 15, 2023

A well-planned PR strategy can be one of the fastest ways to grow brand recognition. Rather than publishing content and crossing your fingers, you should have an action plan to help you reach specific goals. With good PR, you can influence buying behaviors and consumer sentiment, cut through the noise, and position your brand in the right light.

If you took the time to develop an updated PR strategy last year, you're already in a good place. But don’t simply roll it over to the new year. You need to periodically update your PR strategy to fit the current climate of buyers, competitors, and technology.

And if you are brand new to creating PR strategies, you’re in luck! We’re going through the process, step by step, to help you get a jump on planning.

Consider this guide your PR strategy template for success.

Table of Contents:

What Is a PR Strategy?

A PR (Public Relations) strategy is a comprehensive plan designed to manage, shape, and maintain the public perception and image of an individual, organization, or brand. It involves intentional communication efforts to build relationships with various stakeholders, including customers, media, investors, employees, and the general public.

A well-crafted PR strategy aims to foster positive relationships, enhance credibility, manage reputation, and ultimately influence public perception in a favorable way.

What Are the Elements of a PR Strategy?

A PR strategy typically includes:

  1. Goal Setting: Defining clear objectives and outcomes that align with the overall organizational or personal goals.
  2. Audience Identification: Understanding the target audience(s) and their preferences, interests, and concerns to tailor messages effectively.
  3. Message Development: Crafting key messages that convey the desired narrative or information to be communicated.
  4. Media Relations: Engaging with journalists, bloggers, and other media outlets to secure positive coverage and manage any potential negative stories.
  5. Content Creation: Developing compelling content such as press releases, articles, blog posts, social media content, and multimedia materials.
  6. Crisis Management: Preparing for and managing potential crises or negative situations that could impact the reputation of the individual or organization.
  7. Monitoring and Measurement: Tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of PR efforts through metrics like media mentions, sentiment analysis, and audience engagement.
  8. Adaptation and Improvement: Continuously refining the PR strategy based on feedback, results, and changes in the environment to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

Why Is a Good PR Strategy So Important?

Two woman shaking hands in a brightly lit office

Let’s start with the basics. Why is having a PR strategy important?

The answer is simple: PR, especially good PR doesn’t happen on its own. Yes, people may be talking about your brand and products. And yes, there’s a chance that news media outlets might cover what your company is doing without you pitching them. But these are exceptions not the rule. And if you want lightening to strike twice, you need to have some PR planning in place.

Public and media relations strategies help you take control over how you appear to your audience and the press. You become the driver of the conversation, not just a passive participant.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to launch a new product in this year. How will you spread the word? There's marketing, of course. But some good PR can generate even more interest. It can also help you increase your reach beyond your owned channels.

Or let’s say something drastic happens, like a recall. Recalls require immediate action and, sometimes, crisis control. You can’t use valuable response time to develop a well-thought-out and comprehensive PR strategy for handling the fallout. Rather, you should have a plan already in place.

When issues or opportunities arise, refer back to your strategy to move forward with confidence.

PR Strategy Template: Creating a PR Plan for 2024

Creating a PR calendar.

Now that you know the why behind creating a PR plan, let’s get tactical. What does it really take to develop a solid PR strategy for 2023?

We’ve found that having a PR strategy template helps brands to stay on task and check all the boxes. Save this guide and refer back to it as you’re developing your PR plan.

To get more tips on how to build your PR strategy for 2023, check out our Guide to Modern PR.

Identify PR needs

Start planning your new PR strategy by reviewing the previous year’s PR activities. What did your strategy look like? Did you notice any areas that went unaddressed?

Look at how your company appeared in the media. Who were you pitching? Where were you featured? Did you receive positive coverage or negative coverage (or both)?

If you used any metrics to measure your PR success previously, use that data to benchmark your performance. For example, many PR professionals measure the number of media mentions and target audience reach.

To accurately measure the number of media mentions you receive, a media monitoring solution can help you quickly surface mentions across online news, social media, radio, and broadcast.

Now is also a good time to identify any new PR needs. For example, if your company has grown in the last year, you might need to add some people to your PR team. Or, if a new competitor has emerged, you might need to start monitoring their social media and mentions.

Define clear PR goals

Effective public relations hinges on clearly defined goals. Without an objective, you have no way of knowing if your efforts are paying off.

A public relations strategy can help you achieve all of the above and more. Make sure your goals are clearly defined and accessible so you can easily refer back.

For more, check out our list of the 14 proven PR KPIs that matter.

Identify your PR market

Woman looking through binoculars toward land far away.

Your PR market includes all the journalists and media sources with whom you have connections. Growing your media relations should be part of your plan so that you have more opportunities to get mentioned.

To find your PR market, think about your target audience. Where do they go to find information? What news sources, blogs, or publications do they read? Which social media channels do they use the most?

When you know your target market well, they will lead you to the types of publications you need to pitch.

You can use press distribution services to pitch multiple relevant outlets on your behalf, which takes time and guesswork out of the equation so you can focus more of your resources on messaging.

Choose the right PR tools

You could have some of the best digital PR ideas in the world. The most beautiful copy. Original, well-branded imagery. A solid media plan.

But without the right tools, your target audience may never see all your hard work come to life.

When choosing PR tools, think first about the tactics you will use. This is the stuff that makes PR fun — events, PR conferences, social media, guest blogs, influencer marketing, and content marketing, for example.

Then, choose tools that will make executing each tactic more effective. For example, if you’re focusing on press releases, then you might invest in a media relations service like Meltwater or a social media monitoring solution.

Or, if you’re doubling down on social media, you should invest in social listening tools. This helps you keep tabs on conversations and brand mentions, compiling data from multiple channels in a 360-degree view.

Strategize with intent

Image of a woman holding a blue pen hovering over a notepad, with her laptop and phone nearby. Strategizing with intent is an important part of any PR strategy

Good PR takes more than going through the motions. You need to be intentional about your actions if you want to move the needle.

Every tactic you use should tie back to an objective. For example, if you are pitching a particular blogger, think about why you chose them. What value can they bring to your brand? What exactly do you want them to share with their audience?

Intentional PR spills over into areas outside of PR, too. More and more we’re seeing PR working in tandem with marketing teams. There’s a good reason for this. Just like PR, marketing is designed to influence behaviors, sentiments, and actions.

Marketing and PR need to be in alignment when it comes to generating publicity. Both sides need to understand how content and media mentions serve in your business. From there, you can better decide how to use those opportunities.

Determine success metrics

Charts and graphs appearing as a hologram above a tablet device that a man is holding out in front of hime. The graphs and charts could releate to metrics like number of overall brand mentions or sentiment that PR departments are tracking.

All well-designed PR campaigns and strategies include metrics. After all your hard work, you, your team, and your leadership need to see how your efforts paid off.

The metrics you track should tie back to your tactics, objectives, and goals. For example, if your PR campaigns go all-in on social media, you should track mentions, new follower count, comments, shares, and post reach.

Other useful PR KPIs to include:

  • Website traffic changes
  • Organic media mentions
  • Website bounce rate
  • Word-of-mouth mentions
  • Audience sentiment analysis
  • Conversion rates
  • New client count
  • Improvements in search rankings
  • Email subscriber growth
  • Email click-through rates
  • Stakeholder satisfaction

You can’t measure what you don’t track. However, it’s not prudent to try and measure everything. It’s time-consuming to collect that data. Plus, you’ll have lots more to analyze and make sense of. Pick out the most important metrics that will inform how you met your KPIs and run with them.

How to Optimize Press Relationships with Good PR Planning

Developing PR campaigns and strategies requires a great deal of focused intent. Using a template like the one we laid out above gives you a strong foundation for your PR planning.

At Meltwater, we’re all about working smarter, not harder. We know it’s easy to get lost in the details of PR planning. That’s why we recommend finding ways to optimize press and other PR opportunities. Once you have an “in,” stretch it as far as it will go. One opportunity can easily turn into several separate pieces of content or mentions.

Plus, you can find ways to repurpose your content to reach even more of your target audience. For example, once a press release is published, make sure you share it on social media and your email newsletter.

You can also optimize press relationships to help you gain even more recognition. Maintain good communication with reporters, bloggers, and influencers that agree to promote you. The stronger your connections, the more willing they may be to work with you again. And that means less work for you in chasing down new places to publish you!

For all things PR, Meltwater has you covered with technology, tools, and PR expertise. Contact us today to learn more.