Why is a media strategy so important?
Sending out press releases shouldn’t be the extent of your media strategy. Formulating and implementing a plan will provide the direction and rationale for everything you do in public relations. Having a strong and well-researched strategy will help you organise your activities and make strategic decisions around the best way to communicate. Public relations is not a short term process, it involves sending messages to your audience designed to build and develop the reputation of a brand over time. It’s important that it’s planned with clear objectives and goals to be met. Here are some of the most important reasons why you always need a strategy: Providing a rationale & objective Having a rationale is essential as it defines what you are doing and where you are going. It gives an outline of what public relations is going to achieve for the client or organisation. While clients will always have some level of emphasis on what objectives they want met, a strategy will state more specific details. It will include definitions of each objective and the tactics and resources you’ll use to achieve them. Audit A key element of a public relations strategy is an audit. This is where client leaders and public relations professionals work together to look at and assess what they want to project to the public. By formulating a list of company core strengths, marketers and the PR team can more effectively integrate the important messages across both advertising and public relations. Core strengths can include image, brand awareness and social or environmental responsibility. Provides cohesion, teamwork & effectiveness Drawing up a strategy gives the team a clear focus. If your team will be helping to provide the public relations service, it makes sense that they have initial input and understand what will happen. A comprehensive strategy also allows more than just one person to participate and execute, especially when tasks are clearly defined. Client vulnerability While one side of public relations is sending messages, the other side is damage control. A comprehensive strategy can help a company avoid being caught off guard by anything that may come up. Successful companies know their threats and weaknesses and have identified the areas most scrutinised by competitors and the public. Discussing these potential vulnerabilities helps PR professionals create and present press releases and coverage that can counter negative issues when they arise. While issues can be hard to predict, having a good reactive strategy can significantly help the client and PR team work out how best to approach it. Evidence of impact and evaluation All sound media strategies will be evidence-based and have a clear method to measure success. It’s extremely important to set benchmarks and have goals. If you find a particular activity is doing well then you know to put more resources into it, if you find you aren’t getting the return you want, then you can re-evaluate and change tactics. As with any plan, your media strategy should be a working document. As you evaluate and determine if your strategies are bringing the results you and your client want (or not), you should be better equipped to adjust, refine and re-deploy.