4. Determine your audience. It’s as important as knowing the date and place in PR! Who are you hoping to have at your event, meeting, kick off or media event? You have to know who you are trying to reach or you will just blithely march along and spend a lot of effort organizing and forget you need an audience. Believe me, once you know who is supposed to be there, it’s much easier to know what to do and helps you select proper communication channels and methods to reach them.
5. Determine your specifics. So you know who will be there, where, when and why. Now it’s time to flesh out the “what” of your event. Again, keeping in mind your goals of the event and your target stakeholders, the “what” becomes easier to narrow. If I am targeting kids, I’m not going to load up on a lot of experts to share their presentations…unless of course those experts are in ice cream eating or the coolest dunk in basketball. Remember your crowd – what will make sense to them? What will compel them to come and support your cause? What will move them to the intended goal of this event or activity?
6. What’s in it for the media? Remember when you are creating a PR event, activity, campaign or cause, there has to be something compelling for the media as well. Always ask yourself, “Why should they care? Why should their viewers care?” If you can’t answer those questions, it is likely you will not get media coverage. Remember, what is it about your event or cause that has a great picture (for TV), or a great sound bite (for radio) or a fantastic photo and quote (for newspapers)? Be sure to plan a “hook” for the media in your event as well. If it’s a kid’s birthday, just be sure to plan for photographable moments, so you don’t miss them!
7. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. My final tip for strategic planning is to be constantly alert for digressions. What I mean by this is that we will set off on a course and often veer off path and be on a side road we never intended. We have to remain vigilant to steer this event or plan to the goal, and that requires regular and objective evaluation. Then, when you’re all done, it’s time for more evaluation on how it went, what worked and didn’t work and what you would change for next time.
These basics have worked for me in everything from planning my child’s birthday party to launching a huge event for my organization. Either way, the basics remain. Proper planning makes all the difference in the world!