ADPR InsightHow toPR measurementWork 30.11.2022

The five stages of PR planning

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

You can have all the best ideas and creativity in the world, but if you start powering ahead with tactics without decent planning and a firm strategy, the chances are it isn’t going to be effective and give you the results you want.

Planning is key when it comes to setting your PR strategy – read on for 5 simple actionable steps you can take when researching and setting your strategy.


Read the brief and the key problems you are trying to solve, then get to work on your research. There are four main areas you should look at for your research, to make sure you are covering all bases and getting the best insights you can:

  1. Company – really delve into the company, its history and people, its purpose and values, and what makes it different. Even if you think you know the company well, revisit this and get as familiar as possible.
  2. Understand the audience – who are the key audience? What motivates them? How are they behaving? Where are they? Look at market research from companies such as GlobalWebIndex.
  3. Category – delve into the industry concerned and find out everything you can. You are bound to have some good trade media contacts so give one of them a call and pick their brains.
  4. Context – what are the wider trends and behaviours that you should consider?

silver laptop computer near notebook


Once you have done your research and feel you have left no stone unturned, lay it all out and hone in on the most important points. Then start mining your data for insights. Quite often the very best ideas aren’t complicated or hidden – they are there in plain sight.

(Re) brief

Don’t base your strategy on an initial observation – it will send you in the wrong direction. Now it’s time to revisit the brief to check you haven’t gone off-piste with your research and have defined and simplifed the problem.

white ceramic mug with coffee on top of a planner


Now it’s time to apply insight to your research and distil it down. You will probably start with quite a lot of insights, but you need to prioritise these and narrow them down – in line with the brief (that you have re-visited of course)! Then you can start forming your strategy and applying the various different pillars of activity.

incandescent bulb on black surface


This isn’t really step number five – it should run through all four previous steps. You need to have developed your SMART objectives and be thinking about how you are going to measure these throughout the whole planning process. Make sure you have some benchmark data and set some robust KPIs. Then when it comes to measurement, ascertain PR impact by looking at out-takes and outcomes. Read more about measuring the value of PR here.

As well as planning to succeed, you also need to plan to fail! We discuss all in this episode of the Revitalise & Grow podcast. Whilst you can’t be expected to predict every scenario that may come your way, it’s important to take the time to look at what could go wrong with your plan. Assess different scenarios that could interfere with the success of your plan and identify what the potential solutions could be.

If you’d like some help in planning your PR strategy, we have created the Revitalise and Grow sessions to do just that! And they’re absolutely free. We are passionate about helping businesses succeed and we know that communications is a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals. Click here to book and we look forward to speaking to you soon!