5 Tips for Developing a PR Strategy

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm excited to let you in on some great news here at Think Splendid. Public relations expert, Julianne Smith, will be joining us weekly with advice on how you can incorporate more publicity into your overall marketing strategy.

Many of you may know Juli as the founder of The Garter Girl, but you may not know that she worked in public relations for over ten years as a political communications strategist prior to joining the wedding industry. She was a presidential appointee for then-President George W. Bush and the spokeswoman for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the U.S. government agency responsible for maintaining our country’s nuclear weapon’s stockpile and stopping the spread of nuclear material around the world. Julianne also served on the White House’s traveling advance team for then-Vice President Cheney. In this capacity, Julianne was responsible for helping to set up events and was primarily focused on the media and press corps. She also worked on Capitol Hill for five years serving as the communications director for U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA-40) where she was responsible for all outreach to the media and the day-to-day interactions with the media. She has extensive experience crafting and implementing strategic communications plans; drafting press releases, speeches and columns; pitching story ideas to reporters; writing and editing targeted newsletters; developing large and small-scale websites; conducting background briefings; and speaking on- and off-the-record with members of the media.

In addition to her political PR know-how, Juli's stylish wedding garters have been featured on NBC’s Today Show, WeTV, Lifetime, Daily Candy, Martha Stewart, Brides.com, Glamour.com as well as many top wedding magazines and blogs. She has a wealth of knowledge to share and I am thrilled that you'll now have access to her professional advice here on Think Splendid. Without further ado, here is Juli's first post for Think Splendid:

5 Tips for Developing a PR Strategy
by Julianne Smith

You know you need a public relations (PR) strategy (and if you don’t know that you need one that’s a post for another day.) Here are five quick tips for developing a PR strategy:

What Do You Want?
Getting PR attention for any company is a lot of work (phone calls, emails, follow up, research, writing). Be honest with yourself and decide in advance what it is that you want to be different at the end of a certain period of time (six months to a year). For example, do you want more business? Do you want your competitors to be jealous? Do you want to lay the groundwork for a book?

Be Specific and Strategic
Spend time really thinking about the specific things that will help you achieve your PR goals. It isn’t enough to say that you want more magazine features. Instead, say I want to be in X magazine in X issue with X wedding. List the reasons how this particular feature in this particular publication is going to achieve a particular goal. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness locally and a national magazine publishes your work was it worth the effort? Wouldn’t it have been better to go after a feature in a local magazine?

Lower Expectations
Once you know your goals and targets, you might realize that it won’t take as much as you thought to be successful. To achieve most wedding industry PR goals, it usually takes about two or three major media hits per year. This assumes that you are combining your PR strategy with an active social media strategy (again, another post for another day). If you can pull off several amazing weddings each week, then earning just a few media hits in 12 months might not be so hard. Picking two or three things to go after will be less overwhelming and help you be more focused on your goal.

Develop a Timeline
Develop a realistic timeline in advance for gathering content, making pitches and meeting goals. If earning publicity isn’t your full time job, try to work PR into your daily routine. Make it a part of your to-do list. Most magazines and blogs have editorial calendars and it can take months to have your work published. Starting early and working methodically is important so that you aren’t scrambling or missing opportunities.

Write it Down
Having a written strategy will help to determine success, especially if you have employees or a PR representative. After six months or a year, you’ll be able to look back through your strategy and see clearly if goals were met. Writing things down helps to keep you (and PR reps) on track in the midst of doing your regular job.

The goal with any PR strategy is to do the hard work in advance so that when it comes time to actually pitch your work to an editor that should be easy part. Having a good, solid strategy is the key to realizing public relations success.

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