On November 12, 2009, I participated in the Vocus PR Planning Considerations for 2010 Webinar. I discussed the challenges of PR planning for 2010 and how to plan for the “unknown, unknowns.” When I think about the “unknown, unknowns,” I feel that just being in public relations means always planning for the unexpected, based on our roles and responsibilities. We’re seen as the “conscience” of the company, reputation managers and damage control officers. Social media communication adds a whole new level of complexity to our planning process.
The Webinar was carefully orchestrated by Vocus; first with a survey that went out to approximately 1,800 PR professionals regarding their planning practices for 2010 and then a Webinar to discuss the findings. My role as a presenter was to share the survey results along with some best practices in PR planning. I found out very quickly that my presentation materials were very much in line with the expectations, challenges and thoughts of professionals regarding the state of our industry.
Most of the results the survey did not surprise me and after reviewing the results, I walked away with a sense of urgency and challenge, yet strong confidence that PR professionals were ready to play a major role in social media strategy and outreach for their brands in 2010.
My presentation focused on how you have to work several new strategies into your planning process including different approaches to monitoring and tracking technology, distribution/channel strategy (which social media platforms to reach important stakeholders), communications and content creation strategy, measurement strategy and an engagement strategy to evoke emotion/sentiment. Here is the diagram I used to explained the planning process:
Some of the interesting survey findings that supported my discussion were the following:
- Approximately 50% of the survey participants stated that planning for PR programs and strategies in 2010 would be more difficult (I believe that this may be due to a limited amount of company resources, employee or organizational culture not wanting to participate in social media and a lack of management buy in to social media programs.)
- Approximately 42% surveyed stated that budgets would remain the same in 2010 (exhibiting a cautious optimism for the year ahead although 24% said that budgets would increase slightly).
- About 63% stated that their organizations would focus more on innovating effective processes.
- Approximately 51% of the survey participants believed that there would be more investment in new technology (however, if 42% believed that budgets would remain the same, then resources would have to shift from another area of the company in order to invest in technology).
- About 80% of the participants said their organizations would focus more on social media in 2010.
- Approximately 53% said that their organizations currently use social media monitoring.
- About 65% said that their organizations are currently using news monitoring.
- More than 50% described their Strategic Communications roles as a significant to a primary role within their organization.
- Over 50% described their Marketing Communications roles as a significant to primary role within their organizations.
- More than 50% described their Content Management roles as a significant to a primary role within their organizations.
- Brands still place a good deal of emphasis on traditional media, with 67% of the survey participants stating that their organization’s focus on traditional media relations will remain the same.
- Approximately 62% of the participants stated that their use of the press release would remain the same (It would be interesting to find out what’s the percentage of PR Professionals who will focus on Social Media Releases).
The Vocus Webinar on PR Planning Considerations provided very useful statistical information that PR people can use to better understand their planning challenges in 2010. Do any of these statistics surprise you? What do you think will be some of your biggest planning challenges in 2010?