3 Steps to Create an Effective Press Plan for 2022

Dec 20, 2021

Getting ready for the new year as a PR pro means setting goals, strategizing your own growth, and of course, creating a press plan for your clients. A press plan lets you map out your PR strategy for the year with each of your clients! 

There are lots of reasons to use a press plan, especially to help YOU stay organized and plan ahead. But for so many PR pros (especially if you’re just getting started!) the idea of making a press plan is super overwhelming—what should you include, when should you do it, and how do you make it effective? 

Why Should You Create A Press Plan? 

A press plan lets you show initiative with your clients. It makes you look super proactive, which is always awesome in a client’s eyes. 

With a press plan, you also show clients that you’re ready to get ahead of the game for the year and collaborate with their marketing team to plan ahead for launches and timing! A press plan helps you collect all of the information you need in advance to plan a truly effective pitching strategy based on what’s happening for a particular client. 

One other huge reason to create a press plan is to highlight to your client how individualized and tailored your services are. You’re not using the same exact strategy for all of your clients—you’re really focused on their unique needs and building a pitching plan that’s perfect just for them. 

Especially when you’re trying to impress a client who’s relatively new to your agency (or to the world of PR in general), a press plan helps you seriously wow them. 

What To Include In A Press Plan

Now that you know why a press plan is so important, let’s talk about what you should actually include. Every great press plan should layer in all the different things that are important to success in handling PR for a client. 

There are really three big layers of information to build into your press plan. 

Layer #1: What’s Already Set In Stone

The easiest thing to start with is dates and themes that are already set in stone. Things like holidays and seasonal trends and themes are a great way to build the foundation for your press plan. 

Will your client be focusing on back-to-school marketing? What about summer travel? Valentine’s Day date ideas? 

Now is the time to really hone in on what applies most to your client with dates already set in stone. That’s the best way to plan ahead…and to get creative! 

There are more “obvious” holidays to account for like Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year, Valentine’s, and other big ones like that. But there are SO many small, creative, and tailored “holidays” throughout the year. These range from more serious ones, like International Womens’ Day, to funny ones, like National Donut Day. 

Inside The Pitch Lab, we develop comprehensive monthly Execution Plans just for the members of the community. These include calendars with month-long observances, big holidays, and those smaller holidays (plus famous birthdays to note, too!). They’re rich with resources, tips, and editorial calendar pitch angles to help you plan out your pitching strategy each month. 

Layer #2: Launches and Marketing Initiatives

Next, you’ll want to layer in launches and marketing initiatives. Talk to your clients and get their upcoming launches and marketing initiatives—at least through the first six months of the year. 

They may not have specific dates locked down for the end of the year, and that’s okay. Just try to get a timeline to the best of your ability! You’re going to have to plan in advance and have enough time to get the assets you need for each launch. 

You definitely don’t want to be left unprepared when a client announces a launch—you need that solid runway to plan for things in advance, and a press plan is the best way to do it. 

Layer #3: Long-Lead and Short-Lead 

Finally, plan for long lead and short lead pitching in your press plan. There are going to be “dead” times for every single client where there are no upcoming projects or launches. But YOU still have to pitch the media, so it’s worth planning ahead what the heck you’re going to talk about. 

Think about what “hero products” align with certain times of the year. These are products you can pitch to fill in those “dead” times of the year. Remember—you’re responsible for keeping things fresh and relevant even if the client doesn’t have anything new to work with!

You can also repurpose existing things to fit different needs throughout the year. When you’re planning ahead, you can really get creative…versus scrambling in the moment during a busy week to come up with fresh ideas for all of your clients. 

Could you take tips from the CEO, dig into one tip, and expand on it to form a new angle? Can you take an existing product and offer up a fresh way for people to use it? Could you highlight some of the benefits of the product or ingredients that have never been featured before—what’s remarkable about it? 

A really great way to layer in these long-lead and short-lead angles every single month is through The Pitch Lab. Inside that program, we provide you with super helpful, really comprehensive monthly Execution Plans. These give you details about EXACTLY what you should be pitching and planning for months ahead of time and in the moment. They’re a goldmine of helpful resources! 

Other Things To Cover In An Effective Press Plan

Those three layers are the essential building blocks of a great press plan. But what else should you be covering in your final press plan?

Make sure you cover: 

  • Goals (your client’s big dreams for PR)
  • Outreach Strategy (how you will execute & work to achieve those goals)
  • Objectives (specific & measurable outcomes you’re working towards)
  • Tactics (the specific activities & efforts you will complete as part of your outreach strategy)
  • Pitching Calendar (this should incorporate the “set in stone” elements & the info you gathered from your client and should include holidays, seasonal themes, launches, and marketing initiatives — broken down month by month)

With all of these elements, you’re setting yourself up for success and making sure that clients know you’re ahead of the game and totally on it. 

An effective press plan is one of the most important things to work on as a PR pro. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to create press plans. You’re going to save yourself tons of time and headaches later in the year when you plan ahead and figure everything out in advance!