In PR consulting, we’re accustomed to chasing down last-minute publicity opportunities for our clients. By nature, public relations strategies are constantly evolving, and my Goodwin Consulting team is always on-hand to optimize every opportunity.
But to truly get the most out of your PR engagements, you need to plan ahead—way ahead. In fact, I recommend developing your media relations calendar 4-6 months in advance of your target opportunities!
Here’s what you can do right now to prepare for a low-stress year of high-value PR in 2024!
These Publicity Planning Strategies Drive Real Results!
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This statement is particularly true in public relations. Get ahead of your PR opportunities, and you’ll be empowered to:
- Strategically position your brand in alignment with future goals
- Maximize your company’s visibility across numerous channels
- Stay ahead of your competition
Let’s get started.
1. Review relevant editorial calendars
Most industry publications follow a fairly consistent editorial calendar. Looking at their content for the current year can help you identify publicity opportunities for the upcoming year. Take note of the publication’s regular features, columns, celebrations, themes, and other content that you could potentially use to highlight your business in some way, then reach out to Goodwin Consulting for help developing your pitch!
Editorial Tip: To save time and get ahead, use ChatGPT or another AI platform to draft basic content outlines as soon as you’ve confirmed an editorial opportunity. When your editorial materials are due, you’ll be prepared to quickly finalize the content and submit it.
2. Identify applicable awards
Winning an award can give your brand bragging rights for years! But you can’t simply sit back and wait for the award to come to you.
The Boston Business Journal is one example of a publication that presents many of the same awards year after year, meaning your company has time to prepare an excellent award application. Proactively curating compelling copy and powerful visuals will make you a strong competitor for high-impact awards from influential publications.
3. Outline your internal objectives and announcements
Is one of your company’s key players planning to retire? Are you working toward launching a new product or service? Is an acquisition on the horizon?
When our PR consulting team knows what your company has in its queue, we can align your publicity plans with your broader strategic objectives to ensure consistency and maximize effectiveness. And for initiatives that aren’t yet concrete, we can hold space in your public relations calendar and preemptively develop a “grab bag” of strategies for easy implementation when the time is right.
4. Leverage early-bird pricing
From award application fees to retirement parties, PR costs can stack up quickly, so you want plenty of time to identify the most worthwhile investments.
Advance planning can even open doors for potential discounts and more favorable terms. For example, instead of waiting until the last minute to book a ballroom for your upcoming fundraiser, start your event planning right away. You’ll have more opportunities to negotiate prices and deliverables when you’re not up against a tight deadline.
5. Lean into previous successes
As you plan for the year ahead, it’s helpful to assess your past 12 months of public relations efforts to identify what worked and what didn’t. These lessons will help you refine your future strategies, adjust your tactics, and achieve better results from upcoming endeavors.
6. Collaborate on a content calendar
Don’t forget about your own email newsletters, social media, and blog posts! My PR consulting team will collaborate with you to establish an integrated content calendar so you can easily see the full scope of your public relations program, make comprehensive changes when necessary, and stay at the forefront of your publicity potential throughout the year.
What You Risk When You Don’t Plan Ahead
There are countless pitfalls of failing to plan, but some are more painful than others.
Missed opportunities are the primary PR problem befalling businesses that don’t conduct their due diligence. Top trade publications have long lead times, and premium publicity opportunities face fierce competition. Waiting until the last minute is a surefire way to miss out altogether.
Lackluster quality is another result of failing to plan ahead. Imagine, for instance, having three days to plan a launch event. The best vendors would already be booked, you’d have to settle for quick-turnaround supplies, and many of your guests would already have plans. Now imagine planning that same launch event with several months to plan. With more time, you’ll have many more options and much less stress.
Scams and charlatans—does that sound dramatic? Yet that’s exactly what shows up when companies scramble for solutions at the last minute! That “two-page spread for $10” deal is for a magazine with no circulation. That “$49.99 PR plan” is a generic downloadable spreadsheet. And please immediately delete any email announcing an “award” that you have to pay to claim! These are the kinds of PR “opportunities” that find you when you haven’t bothered to find your own.
PR Planning with Goodwin Consulting
Even the best-laid public relations plan is a perpetual work in progress, and at Goodwin Consulting, we’re ready for whatever the universe tosses your way!
When one of our non-profit clients got the opportunity to host a high-impact event with New England Patriots players as special guests, we rearranged our own calendar to ensure the event went off without a hitch and that the visit yielded significant media coverage.
Another non-profit client recently hosted Governor Healey at one of its health clinics. This didn’t happen overnight; we reached out to the Governor’s team months in advance with a thoughtful email detailing how this visit would perfectly align with the Governor’s platform on sexual and reproductive healthcare. We also ensured that her team was fully briefed and that every element of the event, from the tour to the speaking program, ran smoothly.
These efforts were possible because our clients had done their PR planning. Planning gives your public relations team the focus to go after what’s in front of you—and the flexibility to pivot when a higher-value opportunity presents itself. And planning allows us to safeguard our clients against impulsive PR investments that don’t align with their big-picture goals.
So start your 2024 PR planning today!