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Public Relations Guide to Goals, Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics

by | Jan 15, 2020

There is much more to PR than writing press releases, sponsoring events, and leaving phone messages with reporters. A ton of planning needs to be done before any copy is written or phone numbers are dialed. Planning elements include setting goals, defining objectives, creating strategies, and selecting tactics. Each is essential to any PR plan. 

  • Each stage, starting with the goal and ending with the tactics, moves from broad to specific.
  • Each goal should have its own objectives. 
  • Each objective should have its own strategies. 
  • And each strategy should have its own tactics.

Why Does PR Need Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics?

In short, these four elements provide a map for accomplishing goals, while ensuring the entire team stays on the same page. When done correctly, they describe exactly how to accomplish a goal:

We will reach [goal] by doing [strategy] to accomplish [objective] by using [tactics]

Here’s what the planning stages may look like in a public relations campaign for a widget manufacturer we’ll call Widgetz Inc.

Goal Example: Widgetz Inc. wants to be considered a top-tier brand alongside current leaders in the widget industry.

Objective Example: Increase Widgetz Inc. brand mentions in industry publications by 50% in 2020.

Strategy Example: Target industry writers, journalists, and publications on social media with positive Widgetz Inc. content and commentary. 

Tactic Example: Comment as a Widgetz Inc. executive on five industry leaders’ and journalists’ posts every week.

Now, let’s see how we came up with those, and how you can create your own PR goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. 

What are PR Goals?

When planning anything (that includes PR) it’s important to start with the big picture and work down to the specifics. Goals are the big picture. They are what organizations hope to achieve. They are the broad outcomes the organization is aiming for. But, goals are not hoped for. Goals are concrete and actively worked towards. 

Here’s an example of a goal a company might set for their public relations team:

PR Goal Example: Widgetz Inc. wants to be considered a top-tier brand alongside current leaders in the widget industry.

Though it appears simple, a goal alone is not enough to power a PR campaign.

What are PR Objectives?

Objectives are essentially goals translated into numbers and actions. To identify objectives, ask “What will we need to accomplish to make the goal true?”

PR Objective Example: Increase Widgetz Inc. brand mentions in industry publications by 50% in 2020.

There can be more than one objective for a single goal. However, an objective doesn’t always have to be growth-oriented. Here’s another objective using completely different criteria but serving the same goal. 

PR Objective Example: Decrease negative comment ratio about Widgetz Inc. on social media by 50%.

What is a PR Strategy?

Strategies describe how objectives will be achieved. Strategies specify the tools that will be used to accomplish the objective. For this example, ask, “How will Widgetz Inc. increase brand mentions in industry publications by 50% in 2020?”

There are a lot of ways to tackle that. For instance:

PR Strategy Example: Target industry writers, journalists, and publications on social media with positive Widgetz Inc. content and commentary. 

What are PR Tactics?

Tactics are tools used in pursuing a strategy. They are specific and usually include timelines. A simple tactic template is, “Do [ACTION] by [TIME]”. 

Here are examples of tactics that apply to our strategy above about targeting industry writers:

PR Tactic Example: Identify 20 journalists who regularly write about widgets by next Monday.

PR Tactic Example: Post about industry-specific news on LinkedIn every day

PR Tactic Example: Comment as a Widgetz Inc. executive on five industry leaders’ and journalists’ posts at least once per week.

Per our template, each tactic has an action and a timeframe that works to accomplish the strategy set forward in the step before.

Make a PR Plan

Time spent preparing and planning public relations endeavors leads to better data and greater brand consistency while also ensuring teams are on the same page and working towards the same goals. If you need help setting and accomplishing your own PR goals, we can help!

Send me an email anytime at mbakle@wetellyourstory.com to see how Nichols Public Relations can help you accomplish your PR goals.

Maggie Bakle - PR Specialist
Smart, experienced and extremely dedicated to her clients, Maggie Bakle is a strong believer in the power of PR. A Fort Wayne native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Indiana University and a master’s degree in public relations at Michigan State University. Before joining Nichols in 2017, she earned valuable experience in public relations and using social media to promote clients during a stint with another Fort Wayne agency. She’s also a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Her level of experience, knowledge and expertise makes her a force to be reckoned with in the Fort Wayne market, a place she believes is positioned to become a real powerhouse in the Midwest.

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