The coronavirus chronicles: How do I make a good PR plan?

Now that things are easing up, events are slowly emerging, company plans put on hold are being implemented, and brands are back with what’s now and what’s new.

This gives communicators more work opportunities to revitalize their craft with their agencies and companies. And this all starts with a well thought of plan.  But where does one begin?

In an article in PR News, Sandra Coyle, founder of Coyle Communications, shares with us The 6 Must-Have Elements of a Comprehensive PR Plan, which offers great tips for new and communicators coming back after a two year hiatus.

Understand the scenario

What is the purpose of the plan? To launch a new product? To avert a looming crisis? To build the company’s image? Design your plan to do that.

Coyle further suggests that we “have discussions with senior leadership and board members, when appropriate, about concerns and desires”, and may we add, directions.

Likewise, “research your industry to see what competitors are doing with their PR.  Develop a strong understanding of the climate your organization is operating in, both internal and external.”

Establish goals

Now is the time to determine what will be achieved after implementation of your plan. Do you wish to change behaviors or perceptions within the organization? Do you wish to gain customers? Do you desire greater brand recognition and higher sales?

“Try to have 3-5 goals,” says Coyle. “Remember to ensure that they are measurable along the implementation of the plan.”

Define audiences

It is crucial to know whom you are trying to reach—customers, business partners, or local government groups? More importantly, what do you need to communicate.

“Defining key audiences and segmentation are critical to ensure your plan will be effective,” says Coyle. “In addition, it’s important to have consensus among leadership and your board as to who these audiences and how they are defined.”

Choose tactics and channels

Once you have defined audiences, how will you communicate to them? What mix of channels will you use?

To get the mix right, Coyle recommends that we research on the most effective tactics to grab their attention and with that what channels tey engage in the most to target where they are.

Determine Measurement and Reporting

As you are developing your plan, think of how you will measure and how you will report these measurements, and to whom.

Typically, “it is a combination of campaign metrics, benchmarking, and surveying/focus groups,” says Coyle.

With that, “it’s best to choose the right combination that works for your organization and measures your audience engagement as effectively as possible.  Don’t forget the internal—decide early how you will present results to senior leaders—and how often.”

Prepare an itemized budget for each year of the plan.

Your last step will be to prepare an itemized budget for each year of the plan. “This will help determine costs and areas for potential scale back,” says Doyle.  “It may be hard to calculate a cost for every step of the implementation. Provide estimates if necessary.”

The last and most crucial step is to present the plan to top management.  Adjust the plan as they give their inputs, and work it out together or what’s best for the company.

PR Matters is a roundtable column by members of the local chapter of the UK based International Public Relations Association (IPRA), the world’s premier association for senior professionals around the world. Millie Dizon, the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications of SM, is the former local chair.

We are devoting a special column each month to answer the reader’s questions about public relations.  Please send your comments and questions to