How to prepare a PR Plan

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Good PR for your business is very important when it comes to increasing sales. Peter Ibbetson of JournoLink tells us how to make a PR plan, and which methods can be the most valuable.

One of the main reasons that small businesses miss out on the sales opportunities available to them through positive PR coverage is that they don’t know what to write, and when to write it.

Preparing a plan removes the uncertainty and will open the door to external brand profiling and all the benefits it brings.

There are four areas to concentrate on.

Understand Your Audience

The main reason for doing PR as a small business is to create brand awareness and engage with customers. To do this you need to understand your audience and how to reach them.

- If your business is B2B, research trade publications in your sector. Be aware of industry specific columns and sections in national press as well. Managing a B2B strategy has some specific points to address.

- If your business is B2C, talk to your existing customer base and think about the customer demographic. What gender, age and location are your customers? Do they read print or online? Do they follow and engage with bloggers? Find publications and outlets which match and target the same audience.

Build relationships is the key for a successful PR strategy

Understanding the right journalist or blogger for your business story is very important in PR. You need to find people who have showed interest in your industry and similar businesses before. The best way to do this is by reading relevant publications, whether this is when travelling in-between meetings or with your afternoon cup of tea. Keep an eye out for regular features, style of writing, interviews and byline articles.

Follow key journalists on social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, engage with their content and start to build a relationship so when you’re ready to send your first press release you won’t be contacting them out of the blue. Reference previous articles they’ve written or comments on social, this will show that you’ve done your research and have made an effort to know what you have to say is relevant to them.

Create a PR Content Calendar

When contacting a journalist you need to make sure you have a good and newsworthy story, however trying to think of regular ideas can often be time consuming. Creating a content calendar can be a big help. For example, at the start of the year, note down relevant awareness days, as well as business developments and product launches.

By having all this mapped out beforehand it is easy to understand and plan your PR in advance, meaning when it comes around you won’t be panicking that you haven’t started your campaign.

In addition, you won’t miss journalist deadlines. For example, if a consumer based business wants to target glossy magazines, highlight that Christmas starts in July for long lead publications. This way you can contact them before the features have been finalised.

Use Online PR Tools 

Remembering to constantly post on social media and email journalists, as well as everything above may seem a bit daunting and a lot of work. However, it is necessary if you want to get coverage. To save time, online PR tools are available. Here is a short list of them that could help:

  • Social media platform let you schedule social media posts weeks in advance. Meaning you can carry on running your business day to day knowing your social media is creating engaging content.

  • Websites are available to let you know of upcoming events and awareness days which you can add to your content calendar.

  • Platforms like JournoLink let you schedule press releases in advance and send it to relevant journalists. In addition, JournoLink provides a weekly business calendar to help you find newsworthy stories.

PR can seem difficult and is often put at the end of the to-do list. However, by following those simple tips, you can start implementing it in your daily routine. You will soon realise that PR is finally pretty easy if you focus on relevancy and timing.

Rebecca Baty

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