In the last blog post I talked about The 5 reasons why you need Public Relations. Now, I want to show you The 6 parts of a PR plan and how to write a simple PR plan. I also want to provide you with the tools to get started on your on plan and implement it successfully. This post has a special FREE downloadable workbook that will help you get things going. DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE WORKBOOK NOW and feel free to share this post with friends.
#1 – Goals
The first part of a PR plan has to do with your Goals. You need to decide what it is you want to accomplish.
When setting goals, you want to make sure that your goals are clear, purposeful and have a deadline. A clear and specific goal allows you to better target your efforts.
Generic Goal – Get media attention
Awesome, Clear Goal – Get Media Attention from at least 5 local News outlets.
The awesome, clear goal not only explains what you want (media attention) but also how much you want (atleast 5) and from who (local news outlets).
A goal should also have a purpose. Explaining the reasoning behind your goals leads to better understanding of your overall purpose. Why exactly are you doing what you’re doing? What’s the point? Check out this goal example that now includes a purpose.
Awesome, Clear & Purposeful Goal – To receive Media Attention from atleast 5 local news outlets in order to show sponsors how their investment is reaching the community, and to promote increased sponsor support.
After reading this, we now have a better understanding of what this artist is trying to accomplish with their PR efforts. Their goal is not necessarily about selling products or simply getting media attention – it’s about working to get more support from Sponsors.
Lastly, a goal should have a Deadline. Deadlines keep us on track and keep our process organized. If we are working to complete a goal by a specific date, we can tailor our plan to be implemented within that time frame. It also forces us to hold ourselves accountable for getting the work done on time. Plus, without a deadline we are pretty much just blowing in the wind. Doing a little something here and there to reach our goals means that it will take longer to reach a goal and reap the benefits of accomplishing that goal.
Now let’s see what the goal looks like with a deadline added to the goal.
Awesome, Clear, & Purposeful Goal with a Deadline – The goal is to Get Media Attention from atleast 5 local news outlets by December 2015, in order to show sponsors how their investment is reaching the community, and to promote increased sponsor support.
#2 – Target Audience
A Target Audience is a specific and defined group of people who you feel would be ideal consumers of your product or art.
You’ll want to either research your existing audience or think long and hard about who would be your ideal fan or customer. With this information, you will be able to understand who they are, where they are (location), what they need, like and want, and how they get there information. This analysis is essential in figuring out what Public Relations strategies would be best in reaching your audience and the specific media outlets that cater to them. This analysis is also essential for the success of your PR plan.
How to Analyze your Current Audience
When thinking about your current audience you’re objective should be to get as much information about them as possible. One of the best ways to get this info is to simply ask. Doing a quick survey is one of the easiest ways to get this information. Make a great survey using free tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey and send out a link to your social media followers and email list. Easy as that.
So what types of questions do you ask? You want to find out the demographics (age, gender, education level, income status), location; what websites and social media sites they visit; how they get their news, and anything else you can think of that would be important to you.
You can also use your website’s Google Analytics data, and the information from any social media data (facebook insights) you can get.
After analyzing your data you may find out that you have multiple types of audiences, for example Urban Teenage Boys and Middle Aged, Suburban Men.
How to determine your Ideal Audience
This is really where you get to use your imagination. If you don’t have the luxury of an audience in place, you will have to create an audience profile. This audience profile will do the same for those with an already established audience – give you insights into who your fans are and how to reach them.
To create this audience profile, think about who would most be interested in you and your art. What age are they? Are they male or female? What’s their education level and income status? Where are they located? What is their internet usage like? Where do they get their news? What’s the best way to communicate with them? What are three adjectives that would best describe your perfect fan?
The answers to these questions will be key in crafting your PR plan.
#3 – Key Message
What is your angle? What’s your key message? What will your audience(s) find interesting, unique, fun?
I often run into artists who are promoting their work but do not take the time to explain exactly why someone should see their work and not someone else’s. It’s very easy to say “Hey, I’ve got a show on Monday night. You should go!”
But what’s in it for the audience? Why should they care?
That’s where the PR comes in. You have to remember that this plan revolves around you getting your story out and answering the “Why” questions. (Remember I talked about this in my last post – “The 5 Reasons Why You Need PR”).
The Key Message is the answer to “Why?” Some PR Pros will call it an Angle (What’s your angle?) but I want to put it plainly and call it a message. What should people know that is interesting, unique, fun and/or worth their time?
Let’s try again…
“Hey, I’ve got a show on Monday night at this really unique venue. I’ll be showing off new works inspired by fireflies. A portion of the proceeds of sales will go to the Happy Kids Foundation. There will also be free food – You should go!”
Now that was a pretty long message but I hope you get my point. The messaging has to do with the “Why.” It will be what you will build your PR communications around. You can take this message and build in the details.
You also want to keep your audience in mind when crafting your message. If your audience is senior citizens, you may want to lay-off all the wacky slang words (#fleek) and technology references (#snapchat). You want to point out the aspects of your works that will appeal to them and get them to take action.
The key message will also be used on all of your PR tools.
#4 – PR Tools
There are a number of tools that can be used to implement your PR strategies. These tools are essential for reaching your audience, and building and cultivating relationships.
Here’s a list and a quick description of each.
Press Release – The press release (also known as a Media Release or News Release) is one of the oldest tools in the Public Relations toolbox. The press release is really just information, usually in the form of an article that communicates, in some detail, what’s going on. Cision’s article on how to up your press release game is pretty useful (except for #2 – it’s a blatant sales message because you can absolutely get results through a free service) Check it out HERE.
Press Kit – (AKA the Media Kit) This is one of my favorite tools because it houses all the most important info and makes it so easy for Media to learn more about you. The press kit usually has your bio, past reviews, factsheets, samples/lists of your works, your artist statements, photos – and if your press kit is digital – videos, and audio samples. It’s great! I truly love the press kit. Some people spend a lot of money on graphic design and custom print jobs. You don’t have to do that. If you can make a single pdf file with everything in it that has some nice photos and is laid out in an organized fashion, that will work just fine. Plus, being able to email your press kit makes things super easy.
Pitch Letter – The pitch letter is not optional. You must do this. The pitch letter is a letter that is personalized and directed to a specific person. Usually the pitch is sent either right after or with the press release. The point of this letter or note (it doesn’t need to be this long, formal thing) – is to appeal to your media contact personally and to explain to them why they should be interested in what you’ve got going on. Here’s an example of a very long and detailed letter. Again, you probably don’t want to do this unless you have a very strong relationship with the writer and know that they would take the time to read it.
Media Alert – The Media Alert is shorter and less detailed than a press release. It usually announces an upcoming event and usually addresses the “who,” “what,” when,” where,” and “how.” Click here to see a sample – Blue13 Dance Company’s “Tamasha Time.”
Email Newsletter – A nicely designed and informative email newsletter is a great way to connect with both your audience and the press without the formality of a press release or pitch letter. Email newsletters allow you to share important info, while also showing off your brand and personality. Just make sure you’re sharing high quality information and good images. Check out these 15 examples of awesome e-newsletters from Hubspot.
Social Media – Social Media is one of the best ways to share your story with your audience and to engage and create relationships. Choose the sites that will best reach your audience and make sure that you are posting consistently, posting info that your audience will enjoy, and actively interacting with your followers.
Special Events – These are events that are special. Seriously though, events are awesome. These are events are that are specifically planned with the purpose of gaining media coverage and publicity. Good examples of these types of events are Opening Night receptions, Album Release parties, Art demonstrations, press tours, etc. Special events also give you the opportunity to get to know those in attendance, network, and build lasting relationships.
#5 – Targeted Media
Once you’ve had the opportunity to choose what PR tools you’re going to use, you’ll want to decide what media outlets you’re going to approach and ask for coverage.
Remember to focus on the media outlets that will connect you with the types of audiences that you want to reach. Targeting is much more effective than just doing a blanket pitch to all press. All media outlets are not created equal. They are different and unique, with varying audiences. Do your research, especially if you’re going to send them a personalized pitch letter. You want to make sure that the person you’re contacting actually writes about the stuff that you’re pitching.
A Few Tips for Pitching Media:
– Tell your story. Take the opportunity to tell your story when pitching. Don’t just through boring facts at people. Remember – answer the question “why?” Don’t make your pitch too long. Keep it short and sweet and even include some bullet points, links to more info and photos. You want people to be able to scan the info and get all the pertinent details easily.
– Research the Journalist before pitching them. You want to make sure you’re not sending info about your new Country music CD to someone who writes about Classical music.
– Be honest and don’t be too dramatic. Don’t claim that you are the best, most awesome contemporary artists of the new generation, unless someone has actually said that about you (and even then, you better quote them appropriately). Don’t make claims that you wish were true. You can say that your music is energizing or that your art is reflective of society, but don’t make any larger than life claims. Plus, once you’re caught in a lie, it’s very hard to dig yourself out of it.
– Don’t harass them and don’t be too aggressive. Relax! Send an email and follow up about once a week, but don’t contact them everyday.
– Treat the press the way you would want to be treated. It’s that simple.
– Sometime you don’t get a response and sometime You get a No. This is normal. Don’t take it personally. Most journalists are extremely busy with hundreds of people pitching to them everyday. If you’ve put in your best effort with a writer and there’s not response or they’ve decided to pass, graciously move on. There’s always next time.
Every PR Plan should have a timeline or schedule. This will help to make sure that you stay on track and that you get things done in a timely matters. This is especially good if you have lots of things on your to-do list and are going to be using many different PR tools.
For those of you who have a team of people working with you, a timeline/schedule is one of the best ways to keep your team organized and to make sure everyone is on the same page.
When setting up your schedule, you should refer to the deadlines that you’ve set with your goals. If you are trying to accomplish your goal in the next 2 months, think about what needs to be done every week for the next 8 weeks to make that happen? Your timeline can be very detailed or general. There’s no crazy rules here. You just want to make sure that you have your strategy mapped out with your schedule acting as pit stops along the way.
#7-Tracking & Reporting
Tracking and reporting is such an important aspect of the PR Plan. One of the best ways to see if all your hard work is paying off is to track it. You can track your efforts by looking at the data from the Google Analytics on your website. (If you don’t have it, then get it now – it’s free!). Google Analytics is awesome because it will show you in some detail how many people are visiting your site, the pages that they’re visiting, and how long they stay on their site. This tool is really useful tracking campaigns that focus on people coming to your website to fulfill a certain purpose (view your portfolio, buy merchandise/tickets, download your press kit, read a blog post, etc.) As I mentioned earlier, Google Analytics can also tell you about the people who visit your site.
Another great free tool is Google Alerts. You can see who is talking about you online. This is especially great if you’ve been working to get media attention and you’ve been sending your stuff to the press. If you set up a Google Alert and the press writes something about you that will show up in a Google search, you’ll get a google alert into your email account. I love using this to keep track of online media mentions.
You should also be using any social media data that you can get. For example, Facebook pages gives you a lot of data with their Facebook “insights.” If one of your PR tools is social media, this is a great way to track the successes and opportunities provided by your posts. You can track likes, comments, shares, retweets and mentions.
You can also track things like sales and income. How are sales at the beginning, the middle, and the end of your campaign? Have an email newsletter? Track the email open and click rates. You can even survey your audience after an event. Ask them how they heard about the event and what made them take action (buy tickets, attend the event, donate, etc.).
All of the data that you can get from these tools will allow you to see what’s working and what is not. Tracking your results and being able to report on how your PR strategy has contributed to your goal will allow you to tailor your plans in the future so that you don’t repeat strategies that are not working. It also helps you to be creative with your strategy. If something isn’t working. What can be done to fix it?
Now that you’ve read about the 7 parts of a PR plan, take a look at the Printable Workbook that you can DOWNLOAD HERE NOW!
Save the workbook and use it for all of your future projects. Take your time and really give your strategy some thought. A well executed PR plan will put you on the path to reaching all your Epic & Awesome Goals.
Photo credit: Death to Stock