PR agency insight: what is a public relations strategy?

Brands or businesses who want to grow may look to public relations services to help get them out there and in front of the right people.

Whether or not a business has an in-house PR person, it may use the services of an agency, like Radioactive PR, to plan and manage its public relations.

In order for a business or brand to achieve its objectives it will need to use a range of tactics (e.g. communications activities), which can be anything from pitching stories or features to the media, to securing speaker slots at events. To achieve more long-term goals and ensure streamlined communications, it’s advisable that a PR strategy is in place.

A PR strategy helps professionals to plan and deliver strategic activities that work towards achieving the same goal. A good strategy will set out a direction for the business and it should be possible to summarise the strategy in a few short words. It acts as an umbrella approach that communication tactics should fall under.

A strategy is usually more of a long-term tool, as it takes time to plan and deliver each step to achieve it. You’ll see businesses put one in place to deliver a vision, change or reinforce its brand position or proposition, or to support a product or service launch. A strategy can be ongoing (but inevitably will change over time) or can have a timescale attached to it.

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A public relations strategy is your game plan.

Here are the main things to consider when developing a PR strategy.

  • Objectives: we often ask new clients what success looks like to them in order to drill down to what their objectives are. An objective could be anything from increasing traffic to the website by x amount, encourage x amount of sign-ups or raise awareness of the brand to a specific audience. Ideally in a PR plan, there should be one to three objectives to ensure priorities do not get watered down and the objectives will dictate what strategy is put into place.


  • Target audience: another key thing to consider is the target audience – a business will need to consider who its key stakeholders are (which aren’t always customers or potential customers but could be specific micro-influencers or a group that needs to be on the receiving end of a message). A strategy has to be developed with the target audience(s) in mind otherwise it won’t be relevant or effective.


  • Insights and research: a strong strategy must be based on insights and research – including insights about the business in question, the industry as a whole and the target audience. Research can be done with data/surveys, reports and even SWOT and PEST analysis can help. Once research has been done a clear strategy can be defined based on these insights – otherwise, what is the reasoning in developing an approach if there are no facts to back it up?


  • Tactics: once a strategy has been developed after objectives, target audience and the research has been taken into account, the next stage is to develop communication tactics – the activities and the channels that will be used – that are consistent with the strategy. When planning tactics, usually the public relations professional / agency pulling it together will work it into a calendar, taking into account any other marketing activities. When considering which channels to use, you should always consider the PASO model.


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The PESO model: Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned channels



  • Measurement: during and at the end of any delivery of strategy and tactics, it’s important that it’s measured so that a business can see if the objectives have been fulfilled (e.g. the results and any return on activity it’s invested in). At Radioactive PR, we split into ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’ – and this is how we measure our client results, which you can learn more about here.

Would your business benefit from a PR strategy or are you interested in knowing how we could help you? Drop us a line!