Integrated marketing communications plans include several components, one of which is public relations (PR). It is an almost free way to create the awareness of your company, its services or products. The functions of public relations are:
- creating a positive corporate image;
- influencing people's perceptions about your company;
- introducing a new product or service to your market;
- minimizing the negative publicity or corporate crisis, etc.
Public relations and the media plan
In order to create effective PR you need a strategy, or an action plan, of how to work with the media. It should include the following items:
- Definitions of all goals and any problems you need to solve. Make sure that your goals are time-bound, reasonable, result-oriented, and congruent with marketing and sales objectives.
- Establishing of a realistic budget.
- Determination of your target audience, key messages and timing. If you want to cope with this task properly, just answer these questions: "Who do you want to reach?", "What do you want to say?", "What effect do you want to produce?"
- Development of the plan of your activities, which should include:
- Press releases;
- Articles (byline technical);
- Press conferences, media tours;
- TV, radio and press interviews;
- Seminars and lectures;
- Event sponsorship;
- Surveys, etc.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of your campaign.
Talking to the media and giving a sales presentation may seem somewhat similar to you. Your purpose is to convince the producers or editors that you will provide them with the material which is interesting and useful to their audience, and that you can do that in time and in the form they need. In order to succeed in it you need to target the appropriate media and build rapports with editors, reporters, and columnists.
Create a media kit, which includes corporate history, photographs, customer success stories and a press release.
Creating a press release requires a standard format. You are to answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. It is not an advertisement, but a document. You also should learn, whether the editor:
- prefers printed or electronic documents;
- needs a diskette or can handle an e-mail document;
- needs colour or black and white photos, in what size and format (if they are required in digital form).
Get ready to give an interview and answer questions for the media. Define the key messages and benefits you want to deliver and prepare short answers beforehand. Do not forget that you are always recorded!