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Have You Created Your 2014 Public Relations Plan Yet?

At the start of the year, many business owners focus on getting back “in the groove” from the holiday break, perhaps reviewing numbers and goals from the previous year. 

Ideally, you should also take the time to set a new public relations plan for the upcoming year. Planning early will not only help you with sticking to a public relations budget, but also getting a big picture sense of the campaigns you may be running throughout the year. 

Instead of the scramble-and-maintain strategy, here are some PR tactics to help you plan out a successful 2014:

Advertising

Don’t be so quick to laugh off this one; while traditional advertising isn’t used much by small businesses, ad spending has evolved, and even Facebook posts that guarantee visibility aren’t free. 

Consider the PR campaigns that might require some spending in the way of advertorials or sponsored reviews by key bloggers, or social media and PPC advertising.

E-mail, Blog, and Social Media Calendars

Planning out a content calendar for your e-mail campaigns, blogs, and social media can help you keep on top of daily, weekly, or monthly themes or topics, and ensure that the messages are complementing each other across the different mediums. 

Holidays and Awareness Months are key to pay attention to depending on what your industry is, and provide easy opportunities to create content and creative strategies like contests.

Public Relations Editorial Calendars

Even the most seasoned of us forget that annual editorial calendars of print and online publications are important guides for knowing what types of stories to pitch throughout the year. Many outlets make their calendars available online, or you can ask for them from the sales or editorial staff.

Did you see or hear your competition in radio and TV interviews in 2013? Pay attention to their strategy, and pitch the stations well in advance about how your business is different and provides important news to listeners and viewers.

Events and Trade Shows

Like advertising, events can appear out of nowhere if you haven’t planned for them. Events have great benefits: meeting your ideal audience offline, interacting with a lot of people at once, and providing a face and voice to your company. 

If you commit to getting involved events but don’t plan for them, the results can be costly and you may end up doing a mediocre job on more events rather than a great job at a select few. 

Check for the 2014 event dates online and insert them into your calendar now. Trade shows require you to book a vendor space well ahead of time (and often include an “early bird” pricing too!). 

If you plan to attend or sponsor an event, you’ll want to start marketing in advance to ensure your brand is aligned with the event and attendees are well aware of your involvement. And don’t forget to document the experience in real time on social media!

Digital Storytelling

While timely PR campaigns and events are the highlights in your company year, storytelling across your digital platforms is your daily agenda. Ensure that your logos, social media headers and backgrounds, company profiles, and web presence are updated constantly and that you are engaging in conversation or answering online inquiries regularly. 

When company milestones arise, make sure that is “celebrated” digitally as well. You’ll want to ensure your followers see you slicing that cake even though they can’t taste it!

Good luck planning your PR year!