Posts Tagged ‘PR Plan’

PR’s Lessons Learned – WPRWD

July 13, 2012 7 comments

When this blog was originally launched it was created a my own (semi) private experiment, so now that it is nearing it’s end (Sun Setting on Paul Roberts on PR) here is a quick look at some blogging lessons learned.  and while I refuse to tell anyone how to run their PR program, no self-serving blog would be complete without some ‘how would I do it’ tips.

Anyone in the service industry side of communications (consultants / agency) knows that comms programs are rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, so I’m approaching the following as WPRWD – What PR Would Do – if he (yes, me) were in charge of the corporate communications program.

Don’t ditch that blog. In the last few months especially, there have been many report about the decline of blogging as part of a corporate communications strategy, but I’d encourage companies not to abandon this powerful and highly controlled communications vehicle. There are many ways to do blogging well, and unfortunately there are also even more ways to do it poorly. Acknowledge that blogging is hard and it is important and create a plan accordingly. The key here is to have a  hands-on communications professional that believes in the importance of blogging and can sell it to the necessary thought leaders and stakeholders.

Don’t be a snob about paid media. Especially if you work on the agency side of PR, it is easy to dismiss advatorials and other paid placements as ‘one of those cheesy pay-for-play things.’ But, these are not to be dismissed out of hand. Paying for speaking slots, editorial coverage, report sponsorships etc. may not be in everyone’s budget, but if done properly a little budget can go a long way. The key here is simply to be open to the idea. Experiment with different approaches.

Create content. Despite all the changes in the communications industry over the last few years, one element has and will remain constant. Words are important. Press releases, pitches, posts, tweets, videos, speeches, infographics, whitepapers, content marketing, brand journalism, these all use words. Creating content needs to an emphasis to a communications program. My approach would be to make content creation a specific element of the corporate communication plan. Not run solely by marketing, but a more holistic corporate approach.

Coordination and organization. This sounds simple, but the point being made here is that while many of these tips are about content creation, it needs to be noted that communications is not to be approached as a creative writing exercise. Even the best, most creative and well thought out PR program will fail to reach its full potential if constructed and conducted in a vacuum. The key here is to have a communications professional with insight and influence into ALL aspects of the communications program – marketing, PR, social, internal, external, branding, paid, earned, SEO, sales etc.

Lead PR from within. Just because an organization may outsource its PR, doesn’t mean that the corporate contact isn’t important. No matter how closely an organization works with a PR firm and no matter how good that PR firm is, the PR program can only be as successful as the client will allow. All too often companies believe that anyone can manage the PR function, but that is simply not true. This internal contact is especially important when the PR program includes social media, crisis communications and thought leadership.

Social starts from within. Related to the above social media too should be led from within. All things being equal (budget, time, resources etc.) my approach to social media depending on the size of the company, culture, business goals etc, would be along the lines of hiring a consultant (a good internal comms person can do this too) to provide assessment of the current social media activities, draft a indoctrination plan to recruit and train / provide guidelines to employees and then get out of the way. A corporate comms controlled Twitter feed alone isn’t social.

And finally, a couple of quick reminders.

  • It is okay to fail. Sometimes, the best lessons learned come from trying something new that doesn’t work out. Communications is changing too rapidly right now to be overly conservative. Calculated risks are okay. Experimenting is okay. Not all ROI is immediate.
  • Have some fun. Relax. Communications is serious business, but it is also about people, relationships, information exchange etc. Even the most serious companies would be well served to have communications people who are personable and dare I say, have a sense of humor.
  • When in doubt, ask What Would PR Do?
  • In the immortal words of Dwayne F. Schneider, always remember and don’t ever forget, free advice (like this blog) is often worth exactly what you paid for it, so take all free advice with a grain of salt.

Photo comes from private collection that my son dared me to use in a blog post. 


Why PR in a Vacuum Sucks

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Some interesting conversations came from last week’s assertion (by me) that PR in a vacuum sucks, so let me clarify a few items. While the main point was pretty straight forward, it left a few questions unanswered.

So, what is so bad about operating in a vacuum anyway? Well, nothing I suppose. There are plenty of opportunities for PR folks and agencies to represent clients that desperately need some PR help – even if (maybe especially if) these companies don’t know how to help themselves. This post isn’t about trashing companies that don’t commit to their own PR program, nor is it about criticizing agencies for taking on these clients. This is really designed to shed some light on the fact that as much as we (the PR industry) like to discuss the power of PR and what it takes to be a good client, we rarely discuss the consequences of a program that is operating in a vacuum. This leads to the next obvious question. Read more…

Critical Elements of Public Relations Strategy

May 27, 2011 1 comment

Yeah, yeah, strategy is important and planning is critical to the success of any communications program, but…let’s not get carried away.

Wondering where I’m going with this? Well you won’t find that answer here. The post Critical Elements Public Relations Strategy Should Always Consider is part of the Public Relations 2011: Issues, Insights Ideas e-book found on Craig Pearce’s blog.

Again, I need to thank Craig for putting together this project, editing my rant and allowing this conversation to continue.

Illustration provided by Pennington & Co.

Public Relations Strategy is…

May 9, 2011 11 comments

Public relations strategy is…usually no more complicated than selecting the right PR tactics to meet a goal. The real hard part is the execution.

Recently, Kim Larochelle (@KimLarochelle) of DRPR wrote PR – a strategic discipline or a story telling exercise? in which she was kind enough to reference an article I wrote for Craig Pearce’s Public Relations 2011: Issues, Insights and Ideas. The basic point behind my piece was that communications strategy isn’t hard and creating it shouldn’t take time and effort away from communication.

Kim writes: “Quite rightly, Paul explains that a PR strategy comes down to identifying the who, what, when, where, why and how. Although these elements are absolutely essential, the piece of the puzzle I believe is missing from Paul’s article … is the importance of the bigger picture. Before considering the ‘Ws & H’, it is crucial to take a step back and have a look at the broader objectives, what is it you’re trying to achieve?”

Good points by Kim. Honestly, maybe I was being a bit hyperbolic when I said that PR strategy was overrated, so let me take a step back and outline the proper level of PR strategy necessary for most programs.

Make a list and check it off. 
Recently, I had a conversation about the ways to create thought leadership in a crowded space and my answer was simple and admittedly tactical. Make a list and get to work.

Want to create a thought leader? Okay.

  • Create a presence on social media. Some combination of a blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube will do. CHECK.
  • Make a list of relevant industry pundits (analysts, journalist and competitors) to engage with and engage with them. CHECK.
  • Make a list of top tier publications and communicate with them. If they accept byline articles or guest blogs, contribute. If they accept article commentary, comment. If they cover news, give them news. Check, check and CHECK.
  • Make a list of events and speaking opportunities and offer to present. Check! Read more…

Companies Too Dependent on PR Agency?

January 9, 2011 12 comments

As a PR professional for over a decade and a half – mostly on the agency side – I’ve represented lots of companies from early stage start-ups to well established brands. Through no fault of PR, many of the companies I’ve represented no longer exist – some have been aquired, some have reinvented themselves, others have closed thier doors and there are probably others that I just don’t remember.

On a whim I recently searched (Google News) for four of my of my past clients – all of which are still in business – and there was one result. Not one results each, but one results in total. One guest written article. That is all.

When working for these companies the results varied, but safe to say each saw a significant amount of coverage. None of the relationships ended due to lack of coverage. During the engagements I feel like I did all I could to educate the client regarding strategy and tactics necessary for a successful PR program.

Yet none were able to maintain any media visibility. It is sad to see a company completely fall of the map, but part of me feels proud because these results proved that securing coverage for some clients is really really hard. Mostly I wondered WHY these companies were not able to maintain some momentum from their successful media relations programs. Read more…

This Blog Doesn’t Have a Plan

October 17, 2010 1 comment
I don’t have a social media plan — and I’m proud of it.

DISCLAIMER: Now, let me be VERY clear, I’m not holding this little hobby of a blog as an example to be followed – all I’m saying is that sometimes action is more effective than planning – shocking stuff I know. Also, I realize that a corporate blog needs more planning than a personal blog that is read by numbers that I could count on one hand. And finally, I’m not saying that plans are inherently bad.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, here is a look a one PR guy’s plan-free social media experience. Concerned about the future of the PR industry, the impact of social media was having and how folks like me were under represented in the conversations that were taking place online – I decided to start a blog. The process took about an hour from idea to first post. Read more…

Top 35 Communications Practices

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

What happens when 7 communications professionals weigh in on The Top 5 Communications Practices Organizations Need to Implement? Well, in short you get 35 different answers.

Here are the 35 top tips as blogged by Steve Farnsworth, Lou Hoffman, Todd Defren, Don Jennings, Suzanne Moran and Dan Holden. If others blogged on the same topic, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll expand the list.
Kicking off the list is the man behind the #444PR blog series. Steve Farnsworth. Read his full post to get the complete story.
• Kill Your Spokesperson
• Go Vertical
• Be Truthful and Do Good
• Measure Your Impact
• Listen-Up Read more…