If you are a PR professional then getting the strategic plan, for your client’s strategic goals, right is your most important task. A strategic plan must be comprehensive to encompass all your client’s needs while charting measurable steps to get there. Such a strategic plan can be created when its key components i.e. objectives, strategies and tactics are clearly defined and differentiated from one another. The differentiation is tricky and can befuddle even seasoned professionals at times. Hence, understanding the difference is important. Read up on how to differentiate between the three and create a smashing PR plan.
Objectives are direct derivatives of your client’s goal. These are the small achievements that let your client achieve the main goal. These achievements are measurable and achievable in a defined time frame. The objectives must be specific and realistic unlike goals which are like dreams for the client.
Objectives for a PR plan can often be divided into business and communication objectives. Business objectives are the time bound achievements that the client is looking forward to. Communication objectives are the means through which the business objectives are met. Thus, communication objectives must be aligned with the business objectives in order to help the business meet its short term and long term goals.
For example, a company is looking to launch a new product which has not been tested on animals. The communication objective might be to create awareness about the cruelty meted out to animals during lab testing of products.
Strategies are actionable plans that will help in achieving the stated objectives. Most PR plans tend to have five to seven strategies for the objectives depending upon their complexity. A strategy must be able to define how the objective would be attained. For instance, in the product launch example above, the strategy could be to circulate articles through journalists or animal rights groups about how animal testing is abhorrent. Similarly, there could be specially created events or participation of company leaders in public talks to bring awareness about this fact. This will portray the company as sensitive to animal cruelty.
These are the action steps for implementing the strategies. Each step or tactic leads to the next one which finally leads to implementing the strategy successfully and achieving the objective as an end result. Tactics will include words such as implement, add, participate etc. and are like the call-to-action of an advertisement. Tactics must be very specific and include date, time, place etc. For the previous example, if the strategy is to participate in a public talk then tactics would include – identification of a relevant public talk event, creation of the subject matter to be spoken, preparation of any presentations to be delivered alongside the talk, inviting press to cover the talk, procuring the published material and displaying it on company website or social media as the final step.
Creation of the strategic plan with objectives, strategies and tactics is crucial from a public relations perspective. This is so because in the case of PR traditional metrics cannot help measure the ROI. With the help of a strategic plan the PR agency and the client both consent to a set of achievable objectives. Students looking for a career in PR must join some of the best public relations programs the country has to offer.