In PR terms, yes, planning is exceptionally important. It is a perfectly good question to ask though, but the answer to ‘why plan?’ has various different answers. My answer would be to apply some order and organisation to the task in hand. I’m a person who likes to know when I’m doing something and how I’m going to do it. Whether that is in work life, or simply organising a night out with friends!
Planning applies to everything, in most, if not all professions. Whether it is to complete campaigns lasting numerous years, or simple activities such as an event or new publication. Overall, planning is important!
So, here are some different answers to the question:
- Focuses Effort
It allows you to see what is necessary and what is not when planning PR efforts. It allows you to work on the right things apposed to wasting your time on things that won’t have any real beneficial outcomes. There is a distinct difference to working hard and working smart.
- Improves Effectiveness
Working on the right things will have a much more valuable overall effect on your workload. Time and money will be saved, thus allowing you to allocate more budget and work hours to bigger tasks. Working to planned objectives gives targets to aim for, a sense of achievement when they are reached and effective benchmarks for measurement.
- Encourages the Long-Term View
All tasks that you carry out tend to be more successful if you look at the long-term view. If you know what is going to happen if you carry out a specific task, it is easier to predict its success. It helps to produce a structured programme to meet future and current needs of the organisation.
- Demonstrates Value For Money
Budgeting is extremely important in any business, and even more so in Public Relations as some budgets may be quite small, but the outcome needs to be similar to those campaigns of a huge budget. Planning allows you to be realistic with what is necessary and what isn’t.
- Minimise Mishaps
Planning allows you to consider different scenarios and the outcomes, which in turn allows you to see which is better suited to the task in hand. It also allows you to consider all the possible problems and issues you could potentially face and put contingency plans in to place in case things do go wrong.
- Reconciles Conflict
Planning allows for conflict to be rectified sooner rather then later. When working in a team of PR practitioners, there are bound to be conflicts of interest and ideas. This stage allows practitioners to confront these issues and come to some resolution that benefits the campaign.
- Facilitates Proactivity
It allows practitioners to set their own agenda, which is extremely important. PR is known for reacting to media demands or crisis management but it is also about realising what is important and what is not.