Strategy is one of the most abused, misused words in the entire lexicon of business. Ask 100 executives what strategy means and you’ll get 150 different answers. In this six-part series, let’s look at how to choose a PR strategy based on visible, measurable criteria and a meta-strategic framework.
Before we begin, let’s be sure to define what a strategy is for the purposes of this series. Strategy is a coherent narrative of methods and decisions to achieve a goal. The key that differentiates strategy from simply flinging things at a wall to see what sticks is the phrase coherent narrative. Strategy is a story. In the same way that banging your head against the keyboard is unlikely to produce a masterpiece of historical fiction, simply trying things randomly is unlikely to produce a winning PR strategy.
Our framework for understanding how to choose PR strategy is based on two dimensions: pace and voice.
Pace refers to the pace of change, or how fast conditions are changing. In some industries, in some communications environments, pace of change is very slow. For example, the press release/news release hasn’t fundamentally changed since its introduction in 1906. In some spaces, such as digital marketing and social media, the pace of change is blindingly fast. The rules are uncertain at best; on any given day, you might show up for a game of tennis and end up playing on a basketball court. If you choose a strategy intended for a slow pace and work in a fast pace environment, things will end badly for you.
Voice refers to how crowded your communications landscape is, how much share of overall voice you have. How well can you be heard? In some communications environments, the landscape is relatively uncrowded. You may be able to shape the discussion or own the lion’s share of the conversation. In other environments, the landscape is beyond crowded and to even be heard is a feat of strength. Your approach for a weak voice environment must be different than your approach to a strong voice environment in order to be heard by the right people.
For more, check out all the posts in this series:
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