HowTo Plan A PR Campaign: POSTAR
PR practitioners have to always plan their campaigns and strategies carefully. They work on their projects for a long time and they must try to predict possible problems and events which might occur on the way. There are many ways to prepare a good PR plan, one of them is POSTAR, it helps get the plan organised and not forget about important issues which sometimes can be overlooked.
Where you are now? The analysis of current situation, at the starting point. In this part of your plan you have to analyse where is your company or the organisation you are working for, what is its situation, how many people support it/ buy its products/read it/etc? You should also think about the external situation – what legal, environmental or even political factors influence the situation of your company? You can find the SLEPT analysis useful while thinking of your situation:
- Social issues
- Legal issues
- Environmental issues
- Political issues
- Technological issues
Where you want to be and what we want to achieve? At this point you should be able to name your goals and say where you want to get. Make sure your objectives are clear and specific, try not to make too many of them. What you want to achieve, by when? Do you want to change behaviour – make people buy more products? Raise awareness? What media coverage you want to achieve?
How are you going to get there? Who is your target audience and what message you want to send them? What media are best to reach your audience? What methods should you use to reach your target media?
How are you going to get there- in detail plan. What creative tactics are you going to use to get what you want? A stunt? An exhibition? A concert? This is the part where you need to get very creative and think of all ways of getting the attention of your target audience. There are many ways to come up with original ideas, you can start with brainstorming to generate some interesting ideas.
What time and resources do you need or have to get where you want? What is your budget? How many people do you need? What are the expenses and costs? You have to be very realistic in this part and think carefully about money and time.
How you will know that you are there? At this point you have to evaluate your work and see if you managed to reach your goals. It is not easy to measure how successful the PR campaign was. However, there are some ways to do that – output, outtake and outcome.
Output – the media coverage that results from the planned PR activity, you can look at the circulation to see how many people have potentially saw your message
Outtake – measures what people who received your message took out from it, did you manage to change their opinions, way of thinking. Outtake can be measured on a sample group of people or in a survey
Outcome – the actual changes, did you managed to change behaviours, do people buy more of your company’s products, do they more often use its services, visit its website more?
Remember that you cannot predict everything while planning your campaign – there will be a lot of unexpected problems that will occur on the way and events which will be out of your control. This is why, it is wise to have a good plan prepared, be able to make changes to it, be flexible and always think about your objectives.
You can read much more about POSTAR and ways of planning a PR campaign in “PR Today: the Authoritative Guide to Public Relations” by Simon Goldsworthy and Trevor Morris
Materials used in the article:
Goldsworthy, S. and Morris, T., (2012). PR Today: The Authoritative Guide to Public Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.