Five Things My Dog Wants You To Know About Your Bad PR PlanMy dog hates your PR Plan.

Actually my dog doesn’t hate anything. Oliver LOVES everything.

Not just loves, but LOVES everything.

But he’s been jealous for years that George (my cat) was interviewed about content creation, and he’s not yet had his time to shine.

So he put on his elf suit (which always makes him ornery) and got down to business.

Here is what he thinks about your PR plan.

Fetch Yourself Some Goals Already

My dog wakes up every day with a few clear goals:

  • Eat as much as possible.
  • Sneak into the bedroom to achieve the maximum amount of snuggle time possible under the blankets (see exhibit A below).
  • Go to the beach or a trail and run as much as possible.

Five Things My Dog Wants You To Know About Your Bad PR Plan

He takes those three goals and develops tactics to accomplish them.

For example, for goal #1, tactics would include:

  • Lick the kitchen floors in hope of catching some stray crumbs.
  • Grab any food on counter as quick as possible when human’s back is turned.
  • Grab hot food out of pan when human’s back is turned.
  • Wait for human to be on video conference meeting and grab all food in sight, knowing she can’t stop you.

He measures success by the amount of food he is able to consume each day.

On a good day he consumes more food, a bad day is when the cleaning lady come and nary a crumb is anywhere to be found.

This is so clear cut to Oliver, because you can’t have a plan without goals.

But sadly, it’s not quite that clear cut to many PR pros and business leaders handling communications.

Is Your PR Plan Vomiting Tactics?

Here is the scenario we see more often than not:

  • I need a PR plan for X (event, launch, product push)
  • Vomit tactics
  • Excitement over a few pieces of tactic vomit
  • Launch of tactic vomit lead plan.

This drives my dog batty.

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement and creativity of the PR plan development, and the plethora of communications tactics available for modern PR, and completely lose track of the reason we do public relations in the first place: To grow businesses.

The first thing you must do before you even begin to think through tactics and timeline, is determine goals.

These should be SMART goals and be tied to real business results. You want to think in the longterm and then break it down to shorter milestones.

So if, in five years you want to make X in revenue, launch x product lines, and have 50 percent of the marketing in X cities, you have to back into it.

You can break down that to figure out where you need to be at the end of one year to make that happen.

Then divide that up into monthly or quarterly goals to track against.

(Be sure to take into consideration cyclical industries. For instance, summer is very slow for PR firms, so you’d want Q4 to take a good portion of Q3 goals.)

Goals before tactics. Dogs before cats (sorry, he made me add that last part in).

Shove that Ego in the Nearest Poop Bag

My dog can’t stand your ego.

It makes him roll his eyes at your ridiculousness.

Do you think you can have an ego when licking the floor for crumbs?

Heck no, you can’t.

But that doesn’t stop him from achieving his goals.

He embraces his floor licking like a freaking boss, because he knows it will get him to where he needs to be: Maximum crumb consumption in a 24-hour period.

This doesn’t mean you should go out and start licking the floor (please don’t), but it does mean you need to put goals above ego in your PR plan.

  • Is your goal to get in the biggest name publications, or ones that speak best to your target customer and drive actual business results? (These are VERY often not the same.)
  • Do you try to build a bigger social media community or one that’s more engaged?
  • What do you measure to determine success? Ego metrics like impressions, follower number, publication size? Or results metrics like leads generated and converted?

Determine your business goals.

Create a PR plan that drives those goals.

Remove the rest.

Ego might make you feel good, but it doesn’t build businesses or drive revenue. You chose what’s most important and build your PR plan around that choice.

A PR Plan for Everyone?

One day as I scolded Oliver for eating cat food, he brought up an interesting point.

I said, “That’s cat food Oliver. You can’t eat it.”

“It doesn’t smell like a cat,” he responded.

“No, no, it’s not made of cats, it’s for cats. Not for dogs.”

“But why not, it looks almost the same, smells pretty much the same, why can’t I just eat it too?”

And while I hate to admit it, he sort of has a point.

That’s why Oliver hates when your PR plan doesn’t clearly target a specific market.

Your consumer hates it too, because it makes it harder for them to figure out if you are the right organization to do business with.

And that means your bottom line hates it, too.

Unless you sell air or water, you should have a pretty clear and defined market. Be specific about it and formulate your PR plan around it.

Throw a PR Dog a Bone

And stop making these three PR plan sinking mistakes.

All three of these things mean you need to detach yourself from tactics and focus on goals and target market. This might mean you don’t use a platform you love, if it doesn’t make sense for your goals. It might mean you outsource parts that make sense for the goals, but aren’t in your wheelhouse.

And it means you make choices based on where, when, and how your target market consumes information and makes decisions.

Oliver loves you, he really does, but he hates when you sabotage your PR plan by acting like a chihuahua (I don’t get that reference either, I assume it’s an inside dog joke).

Oliver in his elf suit.

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino