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PR Planning: Identifying Your Problem or Opportunity

Note: This post was originally published at NakedPR.com and was moved to BizAmmo upon that blog’s reorganization.

The first step in the PR planning process when developing a public relations campaign is to identify your, or your company’s, problem or opportunity. What exactly is a “problem” or “opportunity” in PR planning, and how do you identify them in order to set your goals for your PR campaign?

Problem:

It’s just how it sounds; something is wrong, and you’re hoping to fix it through a PR campaign of one kind or another.

Examples:

  1. Donations to our charitable organization have decreased by 50% in the past year.
  2. No one is visiting our website, because they don’t know that it exists.
  3. The public is losing trust in our brand, because of a recall over safety issues in the past.

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Opportunity:

An opportunity comes from a more optimistic approach. You’re not trying to fix something that’s wrong, but instead take advantage of a potential way to improve your current positive standing.

Examples:

  1. There aren’t any musicians in our specific genre well-known in the region, so we have an opportunity to position ourselves through an image campaign.
  2. An event or special occasion is approaching, and we can directly tie our organization to it to “ride” on it’s media appeal.
  3. Our organization regularly needs volunteers. We have an untapped audience of potential volunteers at a local college campus, and if we can mobilize this group, our events can be more fully staffed.

In the PR planning process, identifying your public relations problem or opportunity is one of the two research-intensive aspects (in addition to the post-campaign evaluation). It involves identifying your target audience on at least a general level, as well as figuring out your precise needs.

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