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Plan It!
A four-point PR primer
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 by Pari Noskin Taichert
Bad Girls PressPari Noskin Taichert

When you set out to promote, publicize, and inform, you've got scads of opportunities to reach your audiences. Here are my steps for a plan:

1. Define the goals for your project and then for your 
PR efforts. My daughter's school recently had an Art-Dessert
Night. I defined the event goals as: friendraiser, fundraiser and bragging opportunity. The PR goals were clear: increase attendance, inform new audiences, and educate our publics.

2. Define your audiences. Our internal audiences were 
parents and kids, teachers, Art-in-the-school, Inc. members, 
PTA members. The external audiences were the general public, area galleries, volunteer groups, arts groups, restaurants, 
and pediatricians.

3. Identify communications venues and PR outlets/methods. For the Art-Dessert Night, I came up with nearly 30 outlets. 
Here's a partial list: presentations to community groups; school newsletter, Web site and school marquis; neighborhood newsletters; community calendars; posters in area businesses; fliers at silent auction donors' businesses; press releases to electronic community calendars and newspapers, public 
access TV, local TV/radio stations; and PSAs to radio stations.

4. Identify who'll do what and when. Even if you're working 
by yourself, the time line will help organize you in the beginning and keep you calm as your plan nears completion.

As you can see, my plan wasn't very detailed. I had a sheet with bulleted items and met with the other people who were helping out. We penciled in names and a time line, crossed out items that seemed like too much work for the return, and used the plan as a guide rather than an absolute dictum.

One trick for a successful plan is to involve other people in the process of planning or approving it. In this case, I was helping the PTA at a public school.  I met with the principal to make sure she agreed with the goals for the event, our PR plan, and with the language I used in my press releases and PSAs. It might take a little more time to work with more people, but the buy-in is good PR in itself.

A good PR plan will keep you focused and effective. And just as important--it will let you enjoy the process.

Pari Noskin Taichert has worked in PR for eons.  Of course, she considers waitressing, selling textbooks, and belly dancing part of her PR experience. Her more traditional clients have included corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, writers and artists.
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