Strategic Public Relations

Using the first deliverable as a foundation, students will write a 12-page (give or take) summary of their public relations plan. Plan elements should reflect research findings and/or public relations/communication theory. Plan elements shall include:

The definition of macro-level campaign goal(s): Specify at least one overarching goal for your plan (e.g., “The American Heart Association seeks to educate people about the importance of pro-actively taking care of their heart health.”). Your goal should be broad without being too broad (e.g., AHA wants everyone to have a healthy heart) while still telegraphing a direction for related communication efforts.
The identification of three target publics affected by this situation: Address audiences in strategic terms (e.g., in order of importance to the organization or those most greatly affected by the situation). Provide general demographic descriptions of each audience (e.g., age, sex, race, income levels, education, political affiliations, etc.), assuming this information is relevant to the situation. The U.S. Census Bureau’s website may be helpful for that. Also, identify news media habits of audiences and effective channels to communicate with them. A good place to start would be the Pew Research Center website. Remember to take into account changing media habits in this country (e.g., decreasing newspaper readership, increasing use of social media). You can generalize to a certain extent; to wit, one could rightly assume that a reader of The New York Times is more likely to skew left politically than a reader of The New York Post.
The articulation of objective(s): Objectives must correspond to your campaign goal and your target public(s). State objectives in realistic and measurable terms. For example, don’t just say that you hope to “raise public awareness” about an issue; instead, quantify the amount or percent of change you hope to achieve (e.g., “Raise awareness of issue X among by 25 percent by .”).
The outlining of strategies for achieving each objective: The strategy is reflective of your overarching goal (so it’s kind of like a goal itself), but it involves the process for how you will go about achieving that goal. Objectives are mid-term goals that give direction to your strategy. Also, relate your strategy to your organizational objectives but keep it focused on the self-interests of your audiences. Sample strategies might be “a media relations strategy using paid traditional media,” or “a community outreach strategy using opinion leaders in the community,” or “a government relations strategy using grassroots mobilization,” and so forth. Of course any of these strategies would require more elaborate explanation, but that’s what this part of your deliverable is for! This section should include key messages and/or a description of a campaign theme.
An explanation of tactics to execute each strategy: Tactics are short-term activities that help achieve objectives by putting your strategies into action. You must present your ideas for at least three different tactics. Please read ahead to the guidelines for the Sample Tactical Elements deliverable. The tactics you submit for that deliverable must match what you discuss here in this deliverable.

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