In public relations, you develop a plan that lays out your objectives, or what you want to accomplish for your business within a certain time period. Striving to get 10 newspaper stories in three months is a PR objective. In order to accomplish this, you need to devise methods, which are strategies, and then take specific actions, which are tactics.
A good media strategy hinges on items that will capture the media’s attention. A strategy of “pegging” something to your business is often effective. For example, you can use holidays to draw attention to your business, such as Veteran’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Other strategies include strategic leaks of information to a few reporters to gain a competitive advantage or surveying customers on a timely topic so you can publicize the results.
Soliciting community involvement, customer recognition and using a respected business leader or celebrity to endorse your product or service are examples of other strategies. Strategies are not always tangible; appealing to emotions is also a strategy. For example, if employment background checks are a timely topic in your community and you run a temporary employment agency, appealing to the issue of time, money and consequences of inadequate background checks is a strategy.
Developing a press release schedule is an example of a media relations tactic. If you have the news items to support it, you can, for example, plan to send two press releases out a month. The news items will come from your strategies. Using press releases to announce survey results of your customers is a tactic. Announcing discounts or free items to veterans on Veteran’s Day is a tactic, as is getting a radio deejay to broadcast from your business that day.
If you create a bicycle race to draw attention to a cause, such as hiring disabled workers, you are engaging in a PR tactic. Creating a speakers’ bureau to achieve a strategy of greater community visibility is another tactic, as is starting and circulating a petition calling for an end to using credit checks as a condition for employment. Creating collateral materials -- posters, fliers and brochures -- that support your strategies are also tactics.