A Communication Plan, as told through a pet adoption

As I’ve progressed through my college degree, many people ask me “What exactly is public relations?” and “What do you do?” The simple answer to that is: there is no simple answer. Public relations is such a wide field, covering many different areas, responsibilities, products and services. We work with the media, create social content and conduct internal and external communication for a company. I have explained this over and over again to peers and family members, and the concept just doesn’t seem to stick. So, I decided to use one example of a task all public relations professionals must work on to really help people understand public relations once and for all: Creating a communications plan. What is that you ask? Well, let me break it down for you in a much more familiar process: A pet adoptionPet Adoption Infographic

  1. The Goal: Why you want the dog

The first and most important step in a communications plan is “Why are we doing this?” “What do we want to come out of it?” Without having a goal, you’re communications plan isn’t going to be effective. Compare this to picking out your very first dog. Why are you getting a pet? Is it because you want a cuddly companion? A running buddy? a world-class show dog? Think long and hard about what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. Your Audience: The Breed

Depending on your goal, you’ll have to find the right audience to target to help you reach that goal. Say you’re trying to increase awareness of your prenatal yoga class. Would you target teenagers, expecting mothers or middle-aged single men? This is similar to when picking out your breed of dog. What fits your goal best? A small or large dog? Active or seditary? Lots of fur or no fur? Hone in on what characteristics and behaviors you need from your audience to achieve your goal.


3. Key messages: Tricks

The next step is to share key messages with your audiences. What do you want them to know or do? Think of this as training your dog. What tricks do they need to know? Sit? Stay? Fetch? Keeping key messages consistent with your audience is crucial to your communications plan.

4. Tactics: Training

So, now you have your goal, audience and key messages, but how will you get all that information out? Will you host an event? Start a social media campaign? Compare this to training your dog. How will they learn? Will you go to obedience classes? Practice every Tuesday and Thursday? This section of a communication plan focuses on getting your audience to take action on your key messages.

5. Measurements: Did it work?

This is the final test of a communications plan. Did you accomplish your goal? How do you know? Maybe you’re dog actually brings the stick back or stays in place even if you walk away. This is extremely important to find out which of your key messages stuck and which did not. From there you’re able to improve your strategy and make it even better the next time you begin a communications plan.

Hopefully this makes the idea of public relations easier to digest. Now you can share it with friends and family to spread awareness!

Stay tuned for more creature posts to come!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s