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You invest in your company when you invest in strategy. Here's how!

"If you don't know where you are going, you are certain to end up somewhere else." - Yogi Berra

If you own a business, there is a good chance you’ve wondered if investing in strategic planning is worth it or if you really need a strategic plan. Well, the answer is undoubtedly, yes! Far too often, businesses say they want to run a campaign but have no clear direction or goals for that campaign. We hear things like, “Let’s put out a press release,” or, “Let’s sponsor this event.” We love that you’re thinking about your external messages, but they only benefit your business if they support your overall goals. That’s where a strategy comes in. As a business leader, you can’t afford not to have a plan in place, especially if you’re considering PR. But, first things first, let me tell you why you need a strategic plan.

The strategic plan is what provides structure and direction for your company. By outlining your goals, objectives, target audiences and more, you develop a roadmap for how to achieve those goals and provide something tangible for all stakeholders to follow. This also allows you to think about the big picture and avoid getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks.

Here’s the deal, the strategic plan is your foundation. It helps you establish realistic and attainable goals that are inline with your overall vision and mission. It allows you to be proactive in your approach to business and your PR and marketing. You’ll stay up-to-date on industry trends and stay one step ahead of your competition. It even guides your discussions with internal and external audiences.

Everyone within your company should be aware of the strategy in place and be given updates if goals shift. This way, they know the ultimate goals and are able to stay on message. If everyone within the organization is on the same page, it will help to improve the chances that your strategic plan will be a success.

Whether you use in-house PR or hire a PR agency, you should include public relations at the beginning of all strategic planning efforts. As you determine the target audience and set tasks for attaining your objectives, PR input is crucial for discussing the best ways to reach them.

Your PR team will help you determine the type of content necessary, from blogs and media pitches to social media and thought leadership documents, that will help seamlessly deliver your company message because it’s important that all of these tie into and relate back to the strategic plan and ultimately the business goals. If you don’t take that extra step to involve PR in the beginning, you’re forcing the PR team to play catch up later, which could delay the creation of key content and put your PR campaign in a reactive mode. That’s not where you want to be.

Simply put, PR initiatives must be at the core of your business and strategic activities, and now is the time to develop a plan. See the fours steps that will get you started, here.

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