As a small-business owner, you have a goal or vision for your company. It is likely very broad and one you don’t need to write down to remember. A public relations goal is the same: a broad vision that is attainable but not measurable. That is where your objectives come in. They are more focused and measurable so that one by one, they can help you attain your goal.

Your Goals

The first thing to remember about your PR goal is that it should make sense when compared to your business goal. For example, if your business goal is to be the premier seller of sportswear in your city, a media relations goal of being first in the minds of lifestyle and fitness media is a good fit. Three areas for goal-setting in PR are reputation, relationships and tasks. Your reputation is about your image; your relationships are the connections you develop and maintain with stakeholders; and tasks are accomplishment-driven, such as planning a special event.

Your Objectives

An easy way to differentiate objectives from goals is with the SMART test: Objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed. Over time, your objectives become more focused and easier to measure. For example, if you are just starting your business, creating media awareness about your company is a realistic and common PR objective. You are introducing your business to the media. Your next objective may be to increase that awareness and then influence opinions. These fit the three levels of PR objectives: awareness, acceptance and action.

PR Planning

Writing a plan can help you clarify your PR process. Think of it as a roadmap: Your goal is your destination, and the objectives are bridges you need to cross to get there. Your strategies are the methods you will use -- only instead of horse-drawn wagons and diesel engines, you use methods such as media relations and industry networking. Your tactics act as fuel, specific actions you take as part of each strategy. For example, your media relations strategy may use a press release schedule, press tour or one-on-one press briefings.

Using Research

Research is important at every phase of your PR efforts. You can do it quickly in-house or pay an outside firm. Money spent upfront can help you allocate your resources efficiently. For example, if you set “creating awareness” as a media relations objective and then spend time introducing yourself to the media only to find that they have already heard of you, you have just spent time that could have been spent on increasing your reach or shaping their opinions. A smart use of research can help you reach your PR goals.