6 - Planning a PR programme

Planning a PR programme
The market place requires various Public Relations inputs and planning of a
programme. The following reasons are noted by Skinner et al. (2007:106):
 To set targets for Public Relations operations against which results can be assessed;
 To estimate the working hours and other costs involved.
 To select priorities which will control the number and the timing of different operations
in the programme;
 To decide the feasibility of carrying out the declared objectives according to availability
of sufficient staff of the right calibre; physical equipment such as office machines,
cameras, or vehicles; and adequate budget.
It is important to note that a Public Relations programme is the blue print for
which the Public Relations team operates. This also assists management to
evaluate its performance. The traditional Public Relations programme
consists of seven important elements:
 Define the situation (situation analysis);
 Setting the objects;
 Determining the target audience;
 Developing the message;
 Activities – strategy, and action plans (with timing and responsibility);
 Budget;
 Review and evaluation (refer to diagram in study guide pg 48)
Defining the situation: it is vital to review the current situation before
embarking on a plan. This will require that Public Relations must proceed
with a proper analysis of how an organisation is perceived by its clients,
shareholders, employers, and the community as a whole.
Setting objectives: there are two areas to be considered in this regard for
the Public Relations practitioner would want to achieve. These areas are
informational objectives and motivational objectives.
Target audience: in Public Relations the objective to be achieved will deal
with influencing someone to either take action or not to take action. This
action will directly affect the company. The person or persons that are to be
influenced become your target audience.
Message: this deals with what is communicated to the target audience. It also
possible that there may be more than one target audience and the message
communicated must be specific to each one. Messages are often designed by the
marketing, advertising, and Public Relations team in order to convey the group
Activities: this refers to the tools of communication which is used to transmit the
appropriate message to the target audience. Some of these activities range from
personal, individual contact to massive advertising or press relations programmes.
Budgeting: to determine a budget for a Public Relations programme is not a straight
forward one. There are two basic considerations when it comes to planning a budget:
 The activities planned for specific Public Relations programmes.
 The costs involved in executing the activities are included in the programme.