PR book On-line Readings in Public Relations by Michael Turney
Public relations planning:
Quick and dirty planning may suffice
© 1998 Michael Turney Table of contents Practicing Public Relations About the author

All planning does not require the same amount of work, nor does it produce the same tangible evidence. The brevity, or even the complete absence, of a planning document does not necessarily indicate a lack of planning.

At its most basic level public relations planning can be compared to the rudimentary technique Professor Harold Lasswell developed for analyzing and modeling mass communication. His oft-quoted approach to studying communication boiled down to four simple questions:

Translating this basic approach to public relations, the critical questions become:

Public relations people who can't clearly and concisely answer these questions before starting a project shouldn't start it. They obviously have little idea of what they're doing or why they're trying to do it.

On the other hand, public relations people who can answer these questions can be said to have done at least rudimentary planning. Whether they did the planning piecemeal and on the fly or all at once in scheduled planning meetings is irrelevant. And, whether it was done in writing or only in the mind of the practitioner is also irrelevant. What is relevant is that the planning was done and that the practitioners who did it now have a clear idea of what they want to accomplish and how they're going to go about doing it.

These observations aren't meant to denigrate formal, pencil and paper (or computer-aided) planning. There are times when such a level of planning is invaluable and absolutely necessary. But, there are also times when high level, detailed planning is not necessary or when it would be overkill.

At the same time, entry level public relations practitioners need to realize that the people with whom, and for whom, they work may not always view things this way. They may not be satisfied with assurances that you have a plan in mind; they may want to see it on paper. And, to maintain good working relationships with them, you may have to produce a hard-copy plan even if this means doing extra, and what seems to be needless, work. Just remember, your supervisor or client may be as concerned with verifying your productivity and assuring your accountability as they are with reviewing your plan. For them, a written plan is tangible evidence of your productivity as well as a guide for future action.

Table of contents PR planning is essential KFD is a basis for planning Developing a PR plan Practicing Public Relations
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27 Oct 2013