What PR Teaches us About Setting and Reaching Goals

A new year – the time when people and businesses set long lists of goals and resolutions vowing to make this the “best year ever!” Goal setting is an important part of business planning, and it’s central to the practice of effective public relations. Goal setting is also essential for personal success, too, and with more than 60,000 PR practitioners in the U.S., plus freelancers, business and personal goals often collide. Therefore, it’s important to understand not only why setting goals is important for PR and personal success, but also how following industry standards for setting and reaching goals actually works.

Did you know that if you write your goals down, you’re more than 40% more likely to achieve them? No wonder it’s one of the first steps of writing a PR plan. But, did you know that if you write them down and share them with people, you’re almost 90% more likely to achieve them? Another reason to actually make a PR plan and share it with your client. You can also share your personal goals with friends/family/mentors for added accountability.

In PR, goals are broad, sweeping statements. For example, a goal could be to increase brand awareness of a new clean beauty brand. Great. According to PRSA, that’s a goal. But what is missing from that statement? A lot.

Of course you want to build awareness of a brand for a client, but how are you going to do that? And how will you know when you’ve achieved “awareness”? Enter the PRSA’s 10-step planning guide. This guide separates goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics, and that is what makes it so effective.

After setting a goal, you create the objectives, which are measurable, time-sensitive statements. So, to build awareness of the new beauty brand, the objective could be: Build brand awareness by 50% among U.S. women aged 25 – 32 over the next six months.

The objectives focus on the specific end result, not the process of reaching the goal. Strategies, tactics, and activities all honor the process of reaching the goal. Strategies explain the process you will use to meet the objectives. It’s common to have multiple strategies for the same objective, too. Tactics outline how you will use your resources to execute your strategy in order to meet your objectives. There are typically several tactics for each strategy. Lastly, activities are the actions required under your tactics to meet your objectives.

So, let’s look back at the goal of raising awareness of a new clean beauty brand. A strategy would be: Demonstrate that this brand is an all-natural, clean beauty solution. Thus, tactics could include social media posts, publications, and press events to share that information, and activities could include an influencer campaign on Instagram, feature article in an industry publication, and/or a national morning show segment. You can find more information about writing objectives, strategies and tactics in this post.

In order to reach the goal, there must be a clear plan that is time-sensitive, and specific.

As you can see, this is far more involved than merely setting a goal. In order to reach the goal, there must be a clear plan that is time-sensitive, and specific. Sure, lots of people want to “grow their business” and “cut costs and build profit” this year. But taking the time to figure out the objectives, strategies, tactics, and activities to do those things, make them far more likely to happen. So now, take a look at both the personal and professional goals you set a few weeks ago and think about how you can apply a PR lens. Doing so will make it easier and more likely that 2019 will, in fact, be your best year ever

About This Author

Stephanie Smith has a Ph.D. in Communication and her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America. She is a proven expert in public relations and digital, integrated communication campaigns. She founded SASC in 2018 to help build awareness of brands in the hospitality industry.