Timelines: Who needs what when, again?
When it comes to revving up public relations efforts prioritization is key. It’s not only about chronologically organizing your tactical execution, but also getting your ducks in a row so messages hit the right people at the right time.
Some clients feel the need to immediately make every announcement a priority and run straight to the media. But that’s not always the best first move. A strategic timeline starts by determining the chain of distribution and scheduling outputs to flow through that chain. It considers what projects are currently in the works and assesses the value that each announcement holds in relation to another. Maintaining this organization among your internal team and communicating your recommended timeline with the client will help avoid confusion and potential crises. Below, I’ve included a few key points to help your timeline take off without a hitch.
Plan, plan, plan
First, discuss the foundation of your efforts internally. What do you want to accomplish? Are there any hard deadlines beyond your control? Who needs to be alerted first? Once the internal team has made these determinations, move to creating a timeline. Not everything can take priority in this phase, which is why it’s important to be explicit in your timeline. Start with internal tasks and audiences then progress to external-facing tactics. Present these materials to your client in a timely fashion so they can better understand how you plan to roll out information. Adding clarity here can help prevent a false sense of urgency down the road.
Crafting your materials
It’s now time to start crafting materials that come first on your timeline, especially if they need to be shared with outside parties for approval. No matter how robust or miniscule a tactic may be, ensure your entire internal team and client has the opportunity to review. It’s much easier to make adjustments before distribution than after. It also keeps your internal team aware of what’s to come and eases the clients’ mind as they watch you tick through your timeline.
The time has come to distribute approved materials! Distribution comes in many forms – from publishing a blog post to sending an email newsletter or delivering a pitch. Regardless of the medium, move forward with clear communication with everyone involved with the project. It’s also helpful to keep them updated if you receive any feedback.
I hope that these recommendations provide some guidance for folks who don’t have a communication timeline at the moment. While you don’t have to be a PR pro to put together a stellar timeline, it’s great to enlist the help of an expert (Obsidian excels at this if I say so myself!). Helping companies make the right moves at the right time is important, and we want to see as many succeed as possible in their PR efforts.