Whilst the economic dark clouds continue to loom low, and the UK tries to repair its reputation after a tumultuous 2022, we take a look at ways to maximise your reputation for the year ahead and how PR and communications will help you raise your head above the parapet.
1 - Work out what do you want to achieve for 2023? Every business needs a plan. So work out what your long term goals are. And within this, what would a successful year look like? This will help to shape the structure of your PR and communications plan, because any activity should support and relate back to your business objectives in order to make an impact and create results. It will give you focus and enable your PR agency to strategically shape your reputation relevantly.
2 - Communicate internally Before you start telling the outside world about the business, make sure your internal teams are dealt in and know what the big picture is. No team member should be learning about the business second hand in the press, so ensure any announcements are discussed at Town Hall’s or communicated internally. Internal communications is essential for business morale and will create a more loyal and positive team in the long term.
3 - Identify current customers From our experience, a number of businesses simply don’t have a clear view on their current customers. Particularly if you target multiple sectors or verticals, make sure you know who the decision makers are for sure, but also the other influencers within the business. A PR agency should work with you to understand this, but it’s an essential piece of work if you want to get in front of the right people.
4 - Evaluate further audience opportunities This will be in your plan and objectives, but make sure your PR agency knows if you’re looking at other audiences. That might be growth opportunities through gaining investment, or you might be looking at entering your technology or product into new sectors, make sure you are transparent as your PR and communications plan should support this and identify opportunities.
5 - Refine your message Make sure you have a message that matters and sticks. Your PR agency will be able to advise on this. You should have a set of key messages that you want to get in front of your audiences and you can then monitor this throughout the year to check which messages are getting through. With PR, these can’t be heavily sales focussed messages, they need to be fact-led and jargon free and not too promotional, yet sell your business in the right way. Work with your PR agency to hone these for your PR and communications activity.
6 - Does your brand look its best? Before you start ramping up your external PR and communications, how is your brand looking? Does it represent you in the best light? Will customers get what they need from your website? Remember your brand touch points are essential in giving the right impression. If you’re a tech firm that looks like it’s from the 80’s (and not in a good way) then do something about it. Make sure all the content on your website and social channels is up to date and jargon free so when potential customers land on your channels, the message is clear.
7 - When are your key milestones? Map out your year. What have you got coming up that needs to be planned for in your PR and communications? Do you have a new product launch? Do you hope to get investment? Are you hiring someone you want to shout about? All these business milestones need to be put into a plan so you have a consistent stream of news and opinions throughout the year and your PR agency can plan accordingly.
8 - Identify your key people in the business & get them on board. As well as news, you need to be sharing your thoughts and opinions with your networks and the appropriate press. Who within the business do you want to do this? The CEO or MD is key for sure, but who else shines? Is there an amazing person in product or innovation that could talk to tech press? Do you have sector specialists who can give their opinion on something pressing? Highlight these people and then media train them and give them the confidence to build their profile on behalf of the business.
9 - Make a PR and communications plan Once you’ve identified your audience, the message, the activity and the people, you need to create a PR and communications plan. Yes it’ll change but it gives you direction and allows you to plan accordingly.
10 - How are you going to measure it? PR and communications needs to have impact to add value, so you need to be measuring this. Your PR agency should provide a monthly report so you can measure and monitor your success. Whether this is whether your message has landed, where your news has been covered, how PR and communications has impacted your digital channels. You need to be assured you are being seen in the right publications for the business and creating noise and impact that matters.
Hopefully the above gives you some ideas for how to structure your approach to PR and communications but if you want to speak to a strategic agency which is driven by impact, get in touch.