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The PR Workflow - 4 Steps to Follow to Become a Pro Communicator

Blog post   •   Jun 15, 2017 09:37 BST

The PR Workflow is a continuous process. It’s a guide on what you need to do and how to do it to succeed with your communications and PR. How you determine success depends on you and your organization. However, your ultimate goal, irrespective of industry or size of the organization, is to ensure that your story both gets told and heard to the right audience at the right time.

In short, efficient workflow separates high-performing PR teams from also-rans. Here are the steps to take to operate at peak effectiveness.

1. Monitor Your Industry

Even though you monitor your PR campaigns to ensure you are communicating the right message to the right audience, it's just as important to follow your industry. Monitoring your industry entails tracking the hot topics and thought leaders in your field, then leveraging that insight to establish authority, create buzz and build engagement with your target audience. Also, you'll understand the challenges, obstacles, and opportunity facing your industry and can create relevant content around those issues.

2. Create and Publish Your Stories

Remember when a good part of your public relations efforts was sending out press releases trying to get media coverage? In today's marketplace, you need much more: an engaging story and effective publishing plan. The key is to provide your target audience with stories they prefer. Then match those desires with your personal story and mission. The overlap is the sweet spot of your message. Here's an example. Hövding is a Swedish company that makes bicycle helmets with airbags. Their audience wants better solutions to increasing bicycle crashes. The company mission is to prevent head injuries for cyclists. They created the #GiveaBeep campaign, distributing buttons with Bluetooth functionality to bicycle riders, allowing them to alert the mayor's office to traffic hazards effortlessly.

3. Identify and Engage Your Audience

The heart and soul of your PR efforts is knowing your target audience inside and out. Your messaging must be as relevant to their needs, wants and desires as possible. You can quickly determine these qualities by examining your current customers, followers, readers and viewers. Separate these audiences into three groups: media, representing your traditional core segment; influencers with high-value audiences; and potential brand champions -- investors, clients and your workers who believe in your company and like to share good stories about it. Next, look for opportunities in your audience breakdown. Build a relationship with your audience and be a trusted resource. Communicate with them on an individual basis. Personalize your releases with individual notes. Ask for their opinion. Consistently ask what value you are providing to them.

4. Measure Your Reach

Clips are great, but they don't show the full spectrum of value you are providing. You need a modern management plan to detail how all of the separate components work together to make an impact on your target audience.

Develop a framework. A framework gives your PR strategy a detailed structure, outlining the criteria to see what part of your plan is working and what needs adjustment.

Reasons and stats. With your framework in place, create communication goals for every content piece. Measure exposure, influence, advocacy, engagement and impact. Use the power of the data in your CRM program, as well as sales statistics and industry background information that allow you to build the big picture of patterns and trends.

Set benchmarks. Create benchmarks for your target metrics. Do this by examining previous campaigns, competitor results and the outcome of your best performing campaign.

Breaking down the numbers. Drill down deep into your data. Examine each content piece, look at trends, and think about the outcomes in the impact of each. Ideate how you can use this feedback to build on past successes and deal with new challenges.

Keep measuring. Think of this framework as an ongoing process. Set a schedule for regular monitoring and analysis. Sift through the data to look for new opportunities for business growth and process improvement. Share your findings with key stakeholders inside and outside the organization.

Following these guidelines is more complicated than punching a button and sending out a bunch of press releases. However, your investment will be repaid with a flexible, effective framework that will position you above your competition for years to come.