Building PR and marketing plans is the first step to any successful communications program. Planning is especially important in Q4 when clients are developing their business goals for the upcoming year. The process ensures that the agency is aligned with clients’ key objectives so that they can create the programs that will elevate awareness, drive demand, and generate pipeline growth across clients internal and external stakeholders.
Here are four approaches that every PR and marketing agency needs to incorporate into their planning sessions as 2022 approaches:
The first step in any planning process is the client input call. Agencies should set up a time 1-2 months before end of year to connect with clients on their upcoming initiatives. The clients will walk through internal decks and other resources that outline key campaigns and messages.
Asking questions is a great way to keep both parties engaged in the conversation. Agencies should be asking:
Understanding clients’ goals and available resources informs agency teams on the strategy, what success looks like and how it should be measured.
Great PR and marketing agencies don’t wait too long after client input calls to regroup with their team on next steps. The best ideas are created when topics, themes, and discussion points remain fresh in memory.
They lean on each other’s experiences. Strategizing and planning doesn’t have to be a daunting process when they involve the brainpower and expertise of their full team. More importantly, agencies should embrace a culture of “there are no wrong questions.” The best plans are created when each individual team member is empowered to share ideas with proper consideration and respect. (Spoiler Alert: this was one of the top benefits of being a Corporate Inker as decided by the Corporate Ink team. Just saying.)
Marketing agencies will borrow and repurpose ideas learned at industry conferences. We had a few Corporate Ink team members attend the recent INBOUND conference. They shared interesting takeaways that we can incorporate into our upcoming client plans as appropriate.
For example, video and podcasting content should support traditional media relations programs. As Corporate Inker Brian Hunter wrote about in his INBOUND blog, “As humans, we empathize with other people, and creating content that allows users to see and hear others almost always performs better than written media or even images.”
No two plans are alike, but they can encompass any of the following depending on specific client needs:
No matter the plan, it’s important to present ideas with detail. For example, rather than just saying they will support a thought leadership program, the best PR and marketing agencies will suggest article and blog ideas with abstracts for clients to react to. They don’t just say they will pitch business and trade publications, but rather highlight specific reporters along with a pitch topic for engaging each. The best agencies don’t just say they will pull together a social media content calendar. They provide topics for each month that they will promote.
PR and marketing agencies should always review the drafted plan with their internal team before presenting to the client. This ensures that all recommendations and ideas align with the objectives discussed in the initial planning call.
Once the agency team is aligned, they will present to the client. And like with the initial planning call, it’s important to actively listen to client’s feedback. Ask them what they think works best, what programs they’d like to see more of, or what should be omitted altogether.
An agency needs to remain flexible if the client’s goals have shifted since initial discussions. Ultimately, the agency wants the client to succeed in meeting their business objectives, so it is important to pivot with new ideas that help achieve those goals.
Lastly, it is important to be on the same page with the clients on strategy, goals, timelines, and budgets. Final conversations should include an agreement on these vital tactics. If not, there is a risk of not knowing what success is for the client and how it should be measured.
At Corporate Ink, we strive to be the best PR and marketing partner for our clients. That includes actively practicing everything mentioned above and more in order to help our clients succeed. Contact us today and let us help your business grow.