How to write a great PR plan!

How to write a great PR plan!

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

Inspired by the  ‘s**t my Dad says’ twitter feed, I’m motivated to write about the basic principles of great planning. I’ve always had a bee in my bonnet about planning. I’ve jumped up at many a white board and flip chart to create the ‘planning vs. activity’ conundrum for numerous colleagues and clients over the years, in order to emphasise the point about the importance of planning.

This is a crude test, but in principle, what is the best approach – A, B or C?

A is tempting with a bit of thinking and lots of doing! It’s all about is being really busy, but are you absolutely sure you’re doing the right things? This is classically when the plan says something vague but the team take off in their own directions. See  this clip. You get my point.

B is balanced – equal thinking and doing. But the plan and the team efforts may not work together and may even conflict. There’s not enough pull back to the plan and goals, or a focus on what absolutely needs to be achieved.

The right answer is C. You should spend more time thinking and planning than doing. If you only do what you absolutely know will be successful, then you are guaranteed to achieve your goal - and you’ll spend less time doing all those irrelevant things. You might even get to go home on time!

I will blog a series of how to put together a great PR plan, with lots of hints and tips. Below is what I would consider to a basic structure of a PR or comms plan and I’ll give more detail on how to build out each section over the coming weeks.

Broadly speaking (and in an agency), a director should set the strategy and an account director should spend their time putting together insightful detailed plans (and not executing the plan). An account manager is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the plan and account executives are responsible, along with the account manager and the rest of the team, for delivering the plan.

A basic PR plan structure should be along these lines:


  • Executive summary
  • Situational analysis
  • Assumptions, problems and consequences
  • PR/Campaign goal
  • Audience and messages
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics & deliverables
  • Schedule
  • Critical success factors
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • Reporting and administration
  • Team & responsibilities

Subscribe to this blog via our RSS feed, or keep popping back for more detail. And please give me your thoughts and experiences or what you want to know more about. Next update soon...

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