How To Do PR STEP 1 — Set Your Public Relations Goals

Katie Coates, The PR Secrets
3 min readOct 8, 2019
How to Do Your Own PR Step 1 — Set SMART Goals

Getting mentioned in a publication (this is what we call media relations in the Public Relations profession) has tons of benefits from referral traffic to branding to long-term organic traffic growth.

It’s a method of obtaining leverage that can provide marketing returns well beyond your initial investment of time or money.

But “getting press” can be daunting.

If you want to hire a PR professional, there are many excellent consultants and firms. But even if you hire someone, you should understand this process before you do so.

The formula for getting publicity is fairly straightforward.

1. Write a pitch

2. Send it to a writer

3. They like your story & publish it

But some very important details are buried inside those simple steps. To run a successful Do-It-Yourself (DIY) PR campaign, you’ll need to understand the process and create your own plan.

Step 1: Define Your Public Relations Goal

A common misconception about building a Public Relations plan is that the goal is to “get press.” Getting PR just for the sake of PR is not an effective goal because it is not a measurable outcome.

Instead, think through what you really want to achieve, and then reverse engineer your PR strategy from there.

Here are six questions to get you thinking through your goals –

Question #1 — Whose attention do you want to get? Who is your audience?

If you want to reach a specific audience, you’ll need to focus on outlets that not only reach that audience, but also command high attention.

For example, if you’re tarketing Millennials who like hiking, you might find out that they browse Backpacker magazine every once in a while. But they might actually pay attention to High Country News or specific blogs like [Andrew Skurka].

Look up other blogs on all kinds of topics at

Question #2 — Do you want broad awareness about your brand?

If so, you’ll need to pay attention to who reads & re-posts who and what kinds of content. If you can get press in an outlet that other outlets re-post and re-publish, you’ll be much more successful at getting broad coverage.

Question #3 — How do you want to position your brand within the market?

If you get picked up by a general interest outlet, will that affect your “boutique” or “elite” branding? Does it fit with your target persona, your ideal audience member — the people you are trying to get the attention of?

Question #4 — Are you looking to gain credibility?

If so, you’ll want to plan for the type of PR you want. For example, getting interviewed as an expert or having your original information, research, or facts cited by others would be great wins.

Question #5 — Do you want to build links?

If so, you’ll need to prequalify your contacts to make sure their publication provides links to their sources in their outlets. It’s extremely frustrating to invest hours and hours on outreach, follow-up, and interviewing to come away with no organic links.

Question #6 — Do you want to control your messaging?

If being the one to control your message is important to you, you may want to avoid outlets that have editorial standards that preclude your review of a story before publishing. If a negative mention will be worse than no mention at all, you’ll need to keep that in mind. Being interviewed by a writer or editor can be a boon for your business but their participation puts YOUR message in THEIR hands — and you have no control over what they write or how they represent your message.

All of these are PR goals, but they all have different methods in order to achieve them. Your goal defines everything. Without it, you can’t build a plan to begin with.

Your goal for this week: Think throught the six questions above, write out your own PR goals, and beprepared for your homework next week, when we’ll talk about finding the right reporters and editors for your story!

If you’re looking for a new way to get media coverage, check out my press release distribution service that gets you an “As Seen On…” banner for your page, social media profile…or anyplace else you can use one!