As I am writing the curriculum for my four-part PR & Media Tool Kit course at Lincoln Land Community College for non-profits, I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk about the first installment: Creating a PR & Media Plan. 

So … how do you create a PR plan? Well, there’s a formula, which I use pretty much each and every time. Each part of the formula plays an important role. First, analyze the current situation; what PR/marketing and/or interaction have you had with the media to date? Has it been a success or a failure and why? How much money did you spend and what was your ROI? 
Next you need to set objectives: essentially what is your ultimate goal? Some might say it’s simply to increase revenue, but others have a more altruistic approach, they might want to educate their target market or give back to the community. 

Once you’ve set objectives, and here’s my favorite part, you need a strategy. What’s the route to meeting your objectives? The fun stuff! On your way to meeting your objectives, you’ll need to engage in tactics, which I also refer to as ‘activities’. It’s when considering the tactics that you need to know your target market and have a good idea of media opportunities. Tactics may include; award entries, corporate social responsibility or positioning your executive director/face of the organization’ as a thought leader in their field, for example.

Here’s the bit so many forget; evaluation. Have you created a situation where you are simply churning content and throwing it out there for anyone to use or are you strategically directing your message to the target market of your organization and engaging with the people that will help you meet your objectives? The latter tends to work best in my experience. Make sure you measure your ROI and evaluate along the way. 

Finally, the bit people don’t like … the budget. My advice would be to start out with one or two areas and build on these as your PR and marketing budget builds. If you are constantly evaluating the ROI of your plan you can amend the tactics accordingly. My other piece of advice is to do a few things well rather than a lot mediocre. Invest in a good copywriter for your blog, for example, or someone who has a great track record for award entries. The best part about a well-written plan is that it can change with the direction of your organization. 

If you’re interested in attending my PR & Media Tool Kit four-part course, which also includes; social media secrets, writing to promote and sponsorship crowdfunding and events, you can register online at Lincoln Land Community College.