How to Wrap Up Your Annual PR Plan in 3 Easy Steps

close-up of a cross marked on a year planner

It’s November – the time of the year that you want to spend on wrapping up your PR plan for the new year. Big organizations and corporations usually turn to their in-house PR people or experts at external PR agencies for advice and planning. But what if you’re a small company or a freelancer that doesn’t have the funds to hire an expensive agency or a full-time specialist to beef up your communications strategy ?

Well, there’s no reason why you can’t put together your own public relations agenda for the new year. As a start-up company or a one-man enterprise, you might not even need an all-encompassing PR plan. All you need is list your communications goals, then decide which ones are feasible and which are not (the most feasible ones might be the cheapest ones, but they don’t have to – if you need to improve your online presence with a social media newsroom or implement an SEO strategy, you might want to focus just on that in the next year).

Once you decide which goals you want to focus on in the coming year, it’s time to put a strategy on paper mapping out how to achieve those goals. If you’re running a small business, it’s all about focusing on a few key elements in your public outreach. Don’t try and take on too many goals at once – as you want to be able to properly follow through with your projects. (For example, there is no need to start a blog, if you know you won’t have the time to write new blog posts regularly. Instead, you might want to try Twitter first.)

So, let’s recap our 3 steps to wrapping up a small annual PR plan:

1. List

Make a list of communications goals you’d like to achieve in the near future. Brainstorm ideas, put everything on paper. Don’t judge. Just focus on making a list at this point. Ideas can range from news releases to tweets to a Facebook fan page to a blog to a new website or flyers…the possibilities are endless.

2. Decide

Once you have your “wish list” of goals, take a closer look at which goals you’d like to achieve first. Are there any communication goals that take priority over others? Also consider your annual marketing budget and see which of the goals are possible to implement from a financial point of view. Others might have to wait until the following year. (If you don’t have an annual budget, I’d suggest to set one – even if your budget ends up being only a few hundred dollars per year. A budget helps you map out your communications plan.) Also, consider how much time it would take to work on your communications projects that you’ve listed. Do you have the time to attend to a particular project? Or do you want to give preference to a project that’s less time consuming?

3. Strategize

Great! You determined your top communications goals for the coming year. Now what? It’s time to strategize. By strategizing I mean putting together an action plan – that can be an editorial calendar for your blog , or a weekly schedule for your tweets and Facebook posts. If you’re planning on adding a media room to your website, list the individual steps and deadlines for each of the milestones so that you have a road map to follow and don’t get in danger of getting lost in the details of your project.

An annual plan mapping out your communications activities will help you stay on track with your goals for the year. I wish you best of success and lots of fun with wrapping up your annual PR plan!

What’s your strategy on staying on track with your communications goals? What does your annual PR plan look like?