Thorough planning is vital for public relations to be effective. Pic: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.

As I said in my blog last year, public relations is about your reputation and your relationships with your publics – those people you wish to have a positive relationship with.

So how does the process of public relations work?


Since adopting the Stockholm Accords in 2010, public relations professionals following best practice first seek to capture from the current or potential client a list of the business objectives they want to be achieved with the help of the public relations activities.

For me, that process starts with an informal meeting – a phone or video call now, one day it’ll be coffee meetings again – with the potential client to discuss the following:

  • Where they are now and why they want that to change
  • What PR they’ve done before – what was done when, what channels were used, what business results were achieved and how the contribution of PR to them was measured
  • Their 5-Year SMART goals for any PR activities and how they should be measured
  • Their 12-month Business Objectives for any PR activities – milestones to be achieved and how they should be measured
  • Who their target Audiences/Publics are – the people they want to reach and positively influence
  • What their Key Messages for them to receive are
  • What Stories they tell about their business – things like its foundation and greatest successes
  • Their USPs – Unique Selling Points – what makes them stand out from their competitors
  • Their SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
  • Their Brand’s Values – what their brand/organisation stands for and what its Purpose is
  • Their Brand’s Purpose – how it will make the world a better place
  • Other Marketing Activities planned – so I can integrate PR activities with them to increase their effectiveness
  • Challenges – any challenges I should be aware of e.g. groups hostile to the brand on social media
  • Any known media story opportunities and when they will occur, if fixed to a date
  • What their current key Media Channels are
  • What Membership organisations they’re part of – which could be used as Shared Media
  • What professional-quality photo and video resources could be used free by media
  • Any budget constraints

What happens next

I then take the information gained in the meeting, do some research into the company or organisation and then put together a draft PR Brief document, which I send to the person I met.

They’re asked to review it, edit it as required and add anything else they feel necessary before returning it to me.

PR Proposal

Once the PR Brief has been agreed, I use that to research:

  • The current reputation of the organisation and previous media stories about them – known as the Audit phase
  • The best ways of achieving the business aims and objectives listed using the many tools of public relations
  • How to reach the audiences being targeted
  • How to tell the organisation’s stories in the most engaging way
  • How best to communicate its USPs and Values
  • How public relations can help it maximise the benefit from its Strengths and Opportunities and reduce its Threats and Weaknesses
  • Which media opportunities to focus on for maximum ROI and reach to target audiences and which to communicate instead via Owned channels such as their social media and email
  • The profiles and reach of the known media channels and others the target audiences engage with, comparing them for ROI
  • The Shared media opportunities offered by the organisation’s membership organisations i.e. Chamber magazines, blogs, emails and social media
  • The quality of the photo and video assets – to assess if they’re sufficient for professional media use, or will have to be replaced or supplemented by new ones supplied by me

Once I’ve completed that research I put together a free costed proposal showing:

  1. How I would propose to achieve the desired business and communication objectives
  2. By doing what things
  3. What metrics would be used to measure their success
  4. The estimated cost of each proposed activity.

I then send that to the potential client for them to read and reply with which of the suggested activities they want to proceed and any changes they’d like to make.


Once that’s agreed, I put together a PR Schedule – listing all the agreed activities, when they will take place, what needs to done for each and by when.

I then start the implementation phase with things such as preparing and having approved a media release template, including the ‘boilerplate’ – giving background information on the organisation and key contacts – as well as contacting the agreed media and membership organisations to be used – to establish a relationship with them, if I don’t already have one.


From there, the list of activities is broken down into each project and every action required for it is listed and noted in my systems against the date it needs to be carried out. From there, I work sequentially through the list, actioning each item.

At appropriate points I use the metrics agreed for each Objective to measure the success of the activity carried out e.g. using Google Analytics to see how many visitors were driven to the client’s website by a social post and report back on what’s been achieved to the client, either at the end of an activity, regularly during its period of activity or monthly, whichever is most appropriate. I also bill the client for work done, either after they’ve seen the results of the activity or monthly, whichever makes most sense or as they’ve requested


Finally, at least annually the results achieved, PR Brief and Plan are reviewed with the client to update them to any changes necessary to meet their business objectives.

Am I any good? Have a look at what my clients say!

Want to use public relations to achieve your business goals? Get in touch to arrange a Zoom call to discuss your goals and how I could help you.