During a recent MSU PRSSA meeting, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, CEO of Rossman PR, came in to talk about how to write a communication plan and important principles to execute the plan. Personally, it was extremely helpful and it served as a reminder that we are in a completely strategic field. Doing something just to do it won’t get you anywhere (for an example, look on Facebook for all the companies who have a Facebook page but don’t do anything with them). The video summary of what she talked about is right here:
Kelly talked about her eight-step approach when it comes to strategic public relations. Whether you are running a political campaign or fundraising for a nonprofit, these principles apply. Better yet, try and create a communication plan within a student group or current place of employment. Here are her steps and strategies:
The eight-step approach to strategic public relations planning:
- Background/situation analysis: State who the client is, where the client stands today, why they are seeking public relations services and how the agency understands the mission of the client.
- Goals and objectives: State the goals and objectives; remember that goals are broad while objectives are specific and measurable.
- Research: Perform some qualitative and quantitative research to help you executive and complete the campaign.
- Target audiences: Name the key internal and external target audiences that should be part of the campaign.
- Messages: Illustrate the key and secondary messages that will best motivate your audience.
- Proof points: Stats, stories and facts to support your stance.
- Communication tools: What mediums will best deliver your message? Print newspapers, online media, Facebook, etc.
- Evaluation: Have you been measuring the success of the campaign?
After you come up with all of these steps and plans for a campaign, it’s important to keep a strategic focus. The next list is a set of questions you should be able to answer clearly and concisely.
Principles of effective communication:
- Credibility: Is your messenger credible – is he or she a trusted and respected source of information – with your audience?
- Context: Is your message in context with reality and the environment in which your audience is located?
- Content: Is your message relevant to your audience? Are they interested?
- Clarity: Is your message simple and straightforward? How far will it travel and how long will it last?
- Continuity and consistency: Repeat your message for audience penetration.
- Channels: What channels/tools of communication are you using? What value are they to your audience?
- Customer benefits: What’s in it for me?
- Caring, compassion and concern: Does your audience know that you care?
- Capability of audience: Is your audience capable of understanding the message? Will they take the time to listen/read/watch it?
- Call to action: What is your audience supposed to do now?
Any other tips for writing a communication plan? Any resources you’d like to share?