9 Questions to Ask to Develop a Successful PR Strategy

January 31, 2022

Establishing a successful public relations strategy is the foundation of communication in the marketing industry. At its core, a public relations strategy ensures that your company is distributing the right message to its intended audience, through the right sources.

To make this possible, you need to make sure that you are creating a strategy that aligns with your intent, which can be done by asking the right questions. These questions help enforce your own understanding of the brand and build out an effective message to present to the public.

Here are nine key questions that every company should be asking when creating a PR strategy.

PR Strategy

1. When were you founded and why?

This question might feel very basic but it helps introduce the brand’s perspective and history of the company to the strategy. This question helps to reveal the why behind a brand. Why did people need the service offered by your business? Why did the founders feel their version of this service was necessary? By answering these questions, you can begin to develop a strategy that is representative of your company and the people it serves. Knowing when and where a company was founded opens the door for local-focused pitches and media connections as well.

2. Who is your intended audience?

This question might feel obvious, but it is a requirement to better understand the company you are working for. Knowing who the intended audience is will drastically influence the approach of your messaging and strategy. Knowing this information at the beginning of your strategy will set the tone for the rest of your work. On occasion, there can be a situation where the brand is targeting the wrong audience for its services. For a situation like this, you want to make sure your strategy incorporates recommendations and reasoning for a better-fitting audience.

3. What makes you unique in your industry?

Everyone thinks their brand and services are unique. However, this uniqueness is not always visible to the general public. That is why we want to find a way to communicate your brand’s specific and unique aspects into the strategy’s message. I always request the clients I work with to provide their perspectives on what makes the company unique. Using their own words, I can better paint the picture and help represent them to the public in an authentic but unique way. Even the smallest detail can go a long way in writing your strategy.

4. Why is this news?

Putting yourself into the perspective of the reader can help you to better position your PR strategy. Thinking as the reader, you are able to look at the other side of the pitch and reevaluate the reasoning behind it. What might seem like news to you and your company, might be irrelevant to the reader. As the business side of the B2C relationship, we always want to make sure that we’re taking the consumer perspective into our strategies.

5. What challenges and roadblocks have you run into?

When managing a public relations strategy, you do not want to waste time and effort on ideas that do not work for the company. Knowing past efforts and dead-ends that a business has experienced can help you avoid making these same mistakes again. That being said, it’s important to still consider these previous efforts and make sure the roadblocks were not a result of inexperience. Using your expertise, you can analyze previous efforts and decide whether or not to include them in your new strategy.

6. What other marketing efforts are you currently running?

Knowing where else your company is spending their money and pushing marketing tactics will influence the direction of your strategy. Typically businesses are not waiting around for a PR specialist to begin implementing marketing strategies. They often have campaigns already on the go and are already working to promote specific projects or ideas. If you are already pushing specific publication contributions, you can refocus your efforts to an alternative source and vice versa. This question helps you have the full marketing picture.

7. What messaging do we need to avoid?

Knowing what words, terms, and/or outlets to avoid is very valuable. Depending on the nature of the industry, there can be limitations in the wording and messaging provided. For some companies, ties to specific sponsors or government initiatives may limit their ability to speak to specific topics and outlets. For example, it might be something small like using the word “exhibit” rather than “event”.  Or it could be a bigger topic, such as avoiding all ties to a specific media outlet. Especially during the time of a global pandemic, businesses must be selective in their messaging. Asking this question eliminates potential conflicting ideas.

8. How would you define the success of this strategy? 

Success is defined differently by everyone. Knowing what success looks like to your company and team will help you align your strategy to fit these goals. Always ask what the team hopes to gain from the final PR strategy and why they chose to implement it in the first place. For some businesses, generating awareness is more valuable than specific economic benefits. Economic drivers look different for everyone, and this question will help clarify this for everyone involved. It could be a specific outlet feature or perhaps a certain number of clicks to the website. Either way, you want to make sure your strategy is designed to deliver the desired outcome.

9. Who is the best point of contact and media representation?

It is always important to know the best representative of the company you are working with. Whether it’s a quick media quote or an author byline for a new written piece, this individual will enable you to add a face and voice to the brand. Without this representative, it can be difficult to navigate media and assert expertise in an industry. 

Written by Emma Whiten

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