Coordination and specifics throughout are essential for crafting a winning campaign

Creating a public relations plan takes time, knowledge, and understanding of your company’s or client’s needs and wants. Here are some steps to ensure you capture those elements in the plan-creation process and that you create a relevant and useful plan for your company or client.

1. Know your company's or client's current situation. This is essential to knowing where the company stands, where the company is able to go, what the company's market/industry looks like, and what direction the company is headed. It puts things in perspective.

2. Know your resources. This can be a part of the first step, as it is a part of the situational analysis needed to understand where your company or client stands. This can help you better build your tactics and strategies while considering budget, time, and other resource limitations.

3. Know your objectives and goals. Also essential to the PR plan’s success, you must know where the company hopes to go. Like driving with no directions, a PR plan with no goals or objectives is an aimless action with no knowledge of what could come, or even what results are desired. Be sure that the PR plan's goals are in line with the rest of the company's overall objectives, and ensure that they are clear to all involved.

4. Know and define your target audience(s). This means that you've defined your target buyer audiences and target media audiences. Each audience will need a different message and a different approach. Knowing these audiences will help you to frame your strategies and tactics so you can reach them effectively.

5. List messages and strategies you will use to reach your target audiences. These should be in line with your stated goals and objectives; if not, the plan is off to a bad start. Know that your strategies and messages also must relate to one another; otherwise, you need to address the disconnect.

6. Define the tactics you will use to effect the strategies you've listed. If, for example, a strategy is to enhance a company's brand awareness, tactics could include community outreach, social media use, press conferences, etc. You must define your strategy before addressing your tactics and assigning them to a message.

7. Create a timeline for implementation. This needs to be realistic but challenging. Remember that there should be no lapses in the PR plan as press releases are being sent out, events are taking place, or media are being engaged. There needs to be constant reminder to the public that the company is alive and well, which can be done with a continuous flow of information.

8. Delegate obligations and responsibilities to your team or your client's team to ensure all parts of the PR plan are completed. This helps to ensure that all are on board and know their responsibilities and duties. This is crucial to bringing the PR plan to fruition. This step should be done with everyone involved, so no one feels overburdened or left out. This involvement in the plan’s creation gives everyone a feeling of responsibility for its success.

9. Create measurements of results/success. To know if your plan is effective, create measurements and benchmarks for the tactics you implement. This is a place for the PR team to gauge the success of the plan and to see whether the goals were realistic. Creating measurements can also show what could have been done with the expertise and estimations of a PR firm or team.

10. Review the plan after implementation and conclusion of the plan. This is the time when all who helped to create and carry out the plan can share their thoughts on what went well, what didn't, and what can be done differently in the future. This helps ensure that future plans have a chance of being successful. It also encourages group members to work for the company's success by giving everyone a chance to talk and to contribute to the next plan.

The key thing to remember when creating a PR plan is that every plan is going to be unique and different for each company, and even within the same company, they will be different for each plan objective. Do your homework before creating a plan, and be sure that you work closely with the company or client to make the plan a success.