4 guiding principles for building and implementing a great PR strategy

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Often new companies think about public relations at the time of launch and not much after. However, PR is an ongoing effort that must always be kept alive.

Public relations is not just about writing good press releases. It’s about building and maintaining lasting networks and relationships, providing value to your audience and telling your brand story in the best possible way.

1. Have a post-launch strategy

The big launch is a big deal and many new brands put a lot of effort into executing a great launch. However, not nearly enough effort is being made to keep up the post-launch hype. A good PR agency is often more concerned with maintaining a tidal wave of support and positively influencing consumer behavior through a steady stream of content and communications to consumers and the media. That is why it is essential to work with good PR agencies to develop a solid PR strategy before launch.

A winning PR strategy must be holistic. It should demonstrate the quality of the work your company is doing, highlight the milestones that have been exceeded (or projected), measure the results of actions, identify which tasks are more fruitful, and develop a path for sustained positive visibility of growth.

Strategic thinking about PR means long-term thinking, which is different from tactical thinking. Tactical thinking includes developing a routine of profitable tasks, e.g., posting to social media four times a week, planning a series of blog posts, and so on.

Strategic thinking, on the other hand, is informed by data. Strategies can be formed by understanding what success will look like for your business and then drawing a long-term, data-driven plan to take the business from where it is to the desired goal. This is what big PR agencies are good at.

Related: 4 tips to launch your first effective PR campaign

2. Don’t just sell – include feedback

A winning PR campaign does more than sell. It focuses on developing a campaign and message that customers can identify with and get behind. Selling is a result of using the right medium to tell the right story to the right audience. Selling is not the focus of PR campaigns, but it is a valuable tool for measuring its success.

A winning PR strategy welcomes feedback and input from critics, clients and neutrals alike and adapts accordingly to create better results. Most strategies are not perfect from the start, but the best public relations firms can adjust the strategy over time to achieve the stated goals. Creating a clear two-way communication channel between yourself and your audience is an essential part of your PR strategy.

3. Make use of existing relationships

For many newer brands, their PR strategy involves doing their utmost to cultivate important media relationships that would benefit them in the long run. However, this effort can come across as intrusive and can jeopardize the effort to build a strong network.

An advantage of working with a top-notch PR agency is that they give you access to their robust networks and relationships. Newer brands often have limited networks in the media or influencer space. Agencies can help with this.

Relationships are one of the most powerful tools for an effective PR campaign. When relationships are built on trust and credibility over years of collaboration, they often introduce your brand to new audiences and spaces and endorse your services with a high degree of conviction.

Related: Why You Need a PR Agency and How to Choose One Wisely

4. Approach the right platforms with the right story

What is your brand story? What is it about? Is it attractive enough to convince your audience? More importantly, is it attractive enough to attract relevant media organizations? It is common for new brands to pursue features in the biggest publications, but getting on the right platforms is much more important than getting on the big platforms.

The job of a great PR agency is to identify where your audience is and adapt your brand story to reach them. Telling a bad story to the right audience or telling a great story to the wrong audience would yield minimal results.

When crafting your brand story, you should start by defining your brand mission and personality. The mission should be relevant to your audience and society as a whole. Your story should also be compelling, relatable and consistent across all your touchpoints. Your visuals, banners, colors, fonts and images are also great ways to add color to your brand story.

Brand stories that are not generic and have a unique flavor or direction always stand out. Newer brands need a forensic PR strategy if they want to effectively penetrate their industry. This may entail hiring an in-house team of PR experts, but more often than not, hiring a well-connected PR agency to help.