Most companies need help marketing themselves. If you are a public relations professional, you are in the business of doing just that. But without a solid public relations proposal, you may not be landing the clients you want. A good PR proposal is professional, detailed and sells a potential client on using your services. A well-written PR proposal often sells your services better than you can with a phone call.
Familiarize Yourself with the Client
One size does not fit all. Before you can even consider a PR proposal, you must spend time getting to know your client. Hold in-person meetings with the principals and managers in the company so you can get a sense of who they are and what they are looking for in a public relations campaign.
Find out what type of PR they’ve done in the past, if any, and what worked and what didn’t. Get to know what products they sell or services they offer, who their target market is and what their current marketing strategy and goals are.
Follow up with emails and phone calls until you have a solid grasp of the company culture, its general communication style and community reputation. This is all information that will help you create a more unique and targeted public relations proposal. You wouldn’t want to put together a serious PR campaign for a business that prides itself on humor, or vice versa.
Know the Current Marketplace
Once you have a clear understanding of the industry your client works in, frame it in the context of their current market and you’ll have a good idea of the tone your proposal needs to take.
Understand the target market and how it gets its information. For example, if the target is young adults, you‘ll need to include a social media aspect in your proposal. Seniors, on the other hand, will not respond as well to a hard-hitting social media campaign, so you may have to tailor your proposal to more traditional marketing channels or events.
Perform an analysis of the competition and what kind of advertising and marketing they use. A well-written PR proposal tailors your recommended marketing to the right audience. Failing to do your research at the beginning can spell disaster for your public relations proposal.
Outline Your PR Proposal
Before putting together your PR proposal, create an outline of the necessary parts. In a larger market with substantial competition, for example, you may need to include an extensive history of your own company and successful campaigns you’ve initiated. Before the final phase, decide how much detail the client needs to know about the competition and any analyses you’ve created.
As you’ve gotten to know the client well during your research phase, you’ll also have a keen understanding of the best format in which to present the proposal. Whether you need to provide a narrative, brief bullet points or a package with graphs and charts depends on the client’s preferences and style of operating.
The outline can also help you to better organize your thoughts. If you don’t already have a public relations scope of work template that you use, you can use this as a chance to create one. Creating a public relations scope of work template gives you a document to always work from when creating PR proposals so that you don’t need to start from scratch each time.
Include the Basics
Once you have your outline, it’s time to write your public relations proposal. A PR proposal needs to highlight your ideas without giving away so many of the details that the client can take the proposal and implement your ideas without you. However, you should be as descriptive as possible about what type of PR work you will do for your client so they feel like they’ll get something from hiring you.
Your public relations proposal should include:
- Information about your company, including similar work done in the past and any references. This is a good time to highlight your expertise and strengths. You can also include bios of your team to showcase their experience.
- A summary of the PR proposal and what you believe the PR campaign should tackle. List any opportunities or trends you see for your potential client, along with any potential weaknesses. Give a few examples of media you might contact as well as the content of messages you will convey.
- The goals you hope to achieve from your PR efforts. These should be measurable goals.
- The tactics and strategies you’ll use to achieve those goals. These should be specific activities you’ll perform on behalf of the company, such as the frequency of social media posts and press releases.
- A timeline of the projected work, with pertinent deadlines for big events. You can break this down by week, month or quarter.
Conclude with a closing statement that tells the client how you look forward to working with her and how sure you are that you will have a positive and prosperous relationship.
Lay Out Your Fees
As part of your public relations proposal, you should include your fees. Explain what services are covered under specific fees and expenses, and which services are extra.
Be as clear as possible when it comes to your pricing so that there are no surprises to the client. Whether you have tiered pricing or a la carte services is up to you, but lay out your specific fee structure with as much detail as possible. That way the client can decide what public relations services she wants to tackle now and which price point she is comfortable with.
Public Relations Proposal Writing Tips
When creating either your PR proposal or public relations scope of work template, you should follow some basic tenets of good business writing.
Throughout your PR proposal, be sure to use professional language. While you want to have a friendly tone, you also want to sound experienced. That means using terms that are relevant to your industry while also being accessible to the potential client who may not know what many of those terms mean.
Use active voice throughout your public relations proposal, as it makes you sound more confident in your skills. Be succinct in your writing and descriptions so that a client can easily scan through your proposal.
Be sure to read through your public relations proposal multiple times to check for errors, both in spelling and in the information being conveyed. You don’t want to have to go back after you submit your PR proposal to tell the client the glowing statistics you provided were wrong.
Don’t Forget to Pitch Yourself
While you are pitching all of your valuable services, don’t forget to make a strong case for why you are the best choice when it comes to public relations. Pepper examples of your expertise and strengths throughout your PR proposal. Include results from past PR campaigns you did that are relevant and show a potential client how they, too, can succeed.
Writing a good public relations proposal can make or break it when it comes to landing clients. Creating a strong public relations scope of work template from the outset is a worthwhile endeavor to make sure you include everything you need to run a successful public relations business.
Leslie Bloom has worked in upper-level management positions in both publishing and the mental health field. In addition to years of business and management experience, she has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of online and print publications, including Metro Magazine. She holds degrees in both journalism and law.