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Right now, I am taking J453: PR Planning and Problems, with John Mitchell. In that class we focusjournalist5 almost entirely on writing “winning” PR proposals. Professor Mitchell has us work in groups of three to four, which change every case study, so we learn how to collaboratively work with a diverse range or personalities.

So far, we’ve worked with two different PR cases, one dealing with a contaminated lagoon situation (obviously a problem/crisis PR plan), and the other was a plan announcing a company’s title sponsorship of an IndyCar race team. Just from doing these two plans, I have realized that I much prefer working with “opportunity” plans as opposed to “problem” plans. There is a lot more room for creativity in “opportunity” plans, which is one of my favorite aspects of PR.

I thought I would share with you why being able to write strong PR proposals is so important to an entry level PR practitioner. The following information was compiled from Tom Hagley’s book “Writing Winning Proposals:PR Cases.”tom-hagley5

  • A plan is the tool to propose and obtain approval for executing PR activities. The components of a plan provide necessary information that managers need to approve before they can be executed.
  • Remember: Plans must be able to be changed and fine-tuned for effectiveness.
  • A plan provides a mechanism for measuring results of public relations activities. This is such a vital aspect of plans, because reviewers like to have evidence showing that the plan is making progress towards achieving the core goal.
  • A plan is a product, which can distinguish its developer as a star among practitioners of all levels of experience. According to Tom Hagley, “The industry of public relations in recent years has seen so little in the way of high-quality plans, a well-conceived plan will easily take on a brilliance that wins approvals and adds credibility to the profession.”
  • A plan serves as a structure for orchestrating the timing of related activities in marketing or advertising.

Tom Hagley defines PR practitioners as “those who influence the behavior of anyone who has or could have an effect—positive or negative—on the organization’s ultimate performance.”

How can you influence behavior? The answer is: through strategic planning and communication.

Strategic communication requires knowledge, skills, and problem-solving experience in the dynamics of persuasion, human interaction, and communication design.

Strategic communication is:

  • Creative, skillfully planned, managed and measureable.
  • Authoritative
  • Transmitted and received
  • Targeted at individuals or groups
  • Specifically designed to influence behavior.

Last by not least, remember that you can always evaluate the effectiveness of your strategic planning and communication by asking the simple question of: Did we influence behavior or not?

I hope that these tips will help you when you’re writing your own proposals! I know that they have tremedously helped me!

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