PR ON THE GO December 17, 2023

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Proactive PR Planning for a Year of Success

Startups and creative entrepreneurs often only scratch the surface of the vast opportunities that PR offers. These include earned media placements, third-party endorsements, and increased reach through collaborations and partnerships-all for free. We asked our PR and growth experts to share tactical approaches to PR planning. Here are six steps to how and why you should plan for PR success in the year ahead.

1) Create Clear Mission and Vision Statements

A vision statement is the big picture of your business goal, and the mission is what you are doing with your business to achieve it. For example, a vision might say that you want to make something accessible to a region or even the world, or that you want to democratize processes. You're on a mission with the business you run, and the product or service should lead to your business vision. Create a clear vision statement that will serve you and your team in all communications and marketing efforts. This way, you're not just putting out random content, but you're more clearly communicating your purpose, which an audience can then understand and support by doing business with you. You can publish a mission and vision statement in the about section of your website, or you can include it in your boilerplate.

2) Create or Update Your Boilerplate

A boilerplate is a template that introduces the most important facts about your company, usually in two small paragraphs. To plan for your PR success, take the time to create or update your boilerplate once a year. In the boilerplate, you can include selected facts and figures that support your relevance, such as date of founding, names of founders, overall mission or vision, office location, number of employees, awards, achievements and partnerships. Add your boilerplate to a media kit page on your website and include it at the bottom of your press releases to give journalists a quick overview of your company and values.

3) Update The Media Kit On Your Website

When planning for PR success, it pays to be prepared. Update the media kit on your website with images. It's time to see a photographer! Get new founder and team headshots, as well as images of your company or product, and make them easily downloadable for journalists who want to quote you or write about your company. Aim for high-resolution landscape images, as this is the preferred format for the media. Journalists won't use your logo in articles, they'll need an actual photo to feature you, so it's important to have it ready. You can make your logo available for download for various other partnerships.

PR ON THE GO Media Lists: Carefully curated journalist contacts and verified email addresses.

4) Map out national and regional holidays

Whether you run a brick-and-mortar business or are a tech startup, clearly marking the holidays relevant to your community on the calendar gives you a head start on the vast campaign opportunities these periods offer. In addition to the obvious holidays, decide which national days you want to highlight in your campaigns.

"A tactical approach to PR planning is crucial for our success here at VentureSmarter," reports CEO Jon Morgan. "To start, we create a comprehensive calendar that outlines not only major holidays but also relevant national days that align with our industry and target audience. This calendar serves as the backbone of our PR planning, providing a roadmap for the entire year."

Morgan adds: "Firstly, we identify key holidays that resonate with our audience and industry trends. For instance, if we're focusing on smart city initiatives, Earth Day might be a great opportunity to highlight our sustainability efforts. Once these dates are identified, we craft campaigns that tie into the themes of these holidays. This could involve creating content that emphasizes how our projects contribute to the greater good or hosting events that align with the holiday's values.

Additionally, we pay close attention to national days that may not be widely celebrated but are relevant to our niche. This allows us to stand out and showcase our expertise in a more targeted manner. Whether it's National Innovation Day or Smart City Week, we make sure our campaigns reflect the significance of these days within our industry.

Timing is key, so we plan our campaigns well in advance, ensuring that we have ample time for preparation, execution, and follow-up. This approach not only helps us stay organized but also allows us to capitalize on trending topics and conversations surrounding these holidays.

Moreover, we leverage various channels to amplify our campaigns, including social media, press releases, and thought leadership pieces. By strategically aligning our messages with the spirit of the holidays, we can create a cohesive narrative that resonates with our audience and the broader public."

Another use case could be if your customers are mostly women, you might want to highlight Women's Day with a series of interviews with some of your selected customers. Michael Alexis, CEO of, reports from their team: "One of our team members recently created a Google Calendar of "on-brand" holidays to share with the whole team. As a team building and company culture brand, this calendar includes lesser-known work holidays like Administrative Professional's Day and National Have Fun at Work Day, along with just-for-fun holidays that align with some of our service offerings -- for example, Museum Selfie Day, which is on-theme with our renegade museum scavenger hunts, which include challenges to take selfies with statues."

Alexis adds: "This calendar is helpful for departments beyond PR and marketing. Our sales team can help clients plan experiences more intentionally around these fun occasions, and our host team can acknowledge the holidays during events. We're currently working on a client-facing version of the calendar, because it's of real use to our consumer base. HR and leaders are always looking for reasons to celebrate with their team, and introducing new holidays is a great incentive to gather. If you go the holiday route for PR, I highly advocate digging up fun, new holidays along with mainstays. While you can capture momentum and become part of a movement by posting holidays that other accounts are also spotlighting, you can also get lost in the noise. Introducing your audience to a totally new holiday is a great way to stand out and provide value to your following by helping them learn something new."

Once you've identified the holidays, national days, seasons, and industry events you want to feature, it is all about getting creative. Instead of just putting out sales offers, plan to celebrate! Create event ideas to give you the opportunity to invite your local community. Go big with gift wrapping or other themed extras on the days you choose to celebrate. Find non-competing businesses that sell to a similar audience and become referral partners. Bring in experts for online or offline workshops. Team up with businesses that target a similar audience to create a larger campaign. Plan for editorial content, philanthropic integration and collaborations to extend your reach. Write a press release and send it to news outlets relevant to your business to let them know about each of your campaigns. When they see your consistent community efforts, it will increase your chances for coverage.

Once you have the basics covered, you will want to stay on top of the most popular releases and events. Justin Kerby, Founder of Something Great Marketing, recommends: "Preparing for PR success involves not only having a great story to tell but also knowing when to tell it. In the fast-paced world of startups and creative entrepreneurship, timing is everything. One tactical approach I advocate is the use of a comprehensive calendar tool like This platform acts as the ‘calendar of the internet,’ offering invaluable insights into future events, holidays, national days, and culturally significant occasions. Forekast is more than just a traditional calendar; it’s a strategic tool that helps you anticipate and align your PR campaigns with events that resonate with your audience. It encompasses everything from product launches and movie premieres to solar eclipses, providing a broad spectrum of opportunities to connect your message with what's trending."

5) Set Specific Goals For Output

Public relations is one of the most effective ways to develop your business-and consistency is key. You may not be able to control the outcome, but you can control the output. To harness this power, set specific goals for each month. Sending out a press release is one of the best ways to get PR for your business. Be clear and concise, give journalists an "aha" moment. Journalists are in the business of telling their audience something they don't know.

Either provide a new story or a new angle on an existing one, see if you can include statistics and data, and do it regularly - the goal should be to have news once a month. Don't just pitch your product to journalists. Offer yourself as a protagonist. Share your founder's story, your niche expertise and your experience. Plan on how many journalists you want to research and send a personalized introduction to each month that includes information about your expertise. Plan on the number of posts you want to create on your professional social media accounts, the amount of editorial content you want to publish on your blog, the number of testimonials and use cases you want to create and publish with your customers, and the number of video or audio productions you plan to create. Make sure your plan is realistic. This will make you and your business a proactive expert in your field.

Erika Mac Donald, Owner at Engaging New Media advises: "One of the key steps for PR success is to identify the channels to reach your audience. You need to select the most effective and appropriate channels to distribute your PR content and stories, and reach your audience where they are. You can use a mix of owned, earned, and paid media, depending on your budget, objectives, and audience behavior. Owned media are the channels that you own and control, such as your website, blog, social media, or newsletter. They allow you to communicate your brand message and value directly to your audience, and build trust and loyalty. Earned media are the channels that you earn through your PR efforts, such as media coverage, reviews, testimonials, or word-of-mouth. They help you increase your brand awareness, reputation, and credibility, and reach a wider and more diverse audience. Paid media are the channels that you pay for to promote your brand, product, or service, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, or sponsored posts. They help you amplify your reach, generate leads, and drive conversions. You need to choose the right combination of channels that suit your PR goals, target audience, and budget, and optimize them for maximum impact and ROI."

Emily Reynolds Bergh, marketing and public relations pro and owner of R Public Relations, recommends: "Data doesn’t lie! When planning the next year’s PR activities, take a look at reporting from the previous year. Were there times of the year when business was booming, and other times when traffic was slow? What resonated with your audiences, and what didn’t? Make a list of data-backed wins from the previous calendar year, then find a way to repurpose those campaigns for continued success."

6) Incorporate PR Activities Into Your Daily Routine.

We get it, PR is a full-time job and not every business owner is in a position to hire a publicist or PR agency to support the activities we have outlined. The key, however, is to fully integrate public relations activities into your daily schedule. Prioritize journalist outreach and media relations, writing guest articles, planning community events and charitable initiatives, and attending networking events because the impact of authentic content and real relationships multiplies. These activities have a much longer lasting impact than paid advertising, which is remembered only as long as the ad runs.

James Heartquist, Owner at advises: "The best way to prepare for PR success is to find newsworthy stories in your business. You need to identify and create stories that are interesting, relevant, and timely for your audience and the media, and that showcase your brand's expertise, innovation, and impact. You can use techniques such as newsjacking, storytelling, or thought leadership to generate buzz and attention for your brand. Newsjacking is the art of injecting your brand into a breaking news story, and providing a unique angle or perspective that relates to your business. Storytelling is the art of crafting engaging and emotional stories that connect your brand with your audience, and illustrate your brand's values, mission, and vision. Thought leadership is the art of establishing your brand as an authority and a leader in your industry, and sharing your insights, opinions, and solutions on relevant topics and issues. By using these techniques, you can create compelling and memorable stories that capture your audience's attention, and position your brand as a credible, innovative, and impactful player in your market."


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