Mike Tyson was right when he talked about strategy. He said: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Meaning a plan is worthless without the ability to execute on it. Those who execute better than others generally win.
For example, everybody knows the strategy involved with hitting a golf ball. But that by itself does not mean you will win a tournament or even break par. You must execute the swing.
I'm am not saying that strategy is not an important – it is. It is the critical starting point to every communications program. Before I start on a PR project, I give the client a grid map asking them to identify all the audiences they want to reach, the current perception and desired perceptions for each audience, competitors in the space (and their messaging) and media outlets they feel are most impactful to them.
But this strategy is not the end point, it is just the beginning. Too many people get lost in taking a victory lap around the process – they celebrate with PowerPoints, videos and graphics, rather than focusing on the results.
With PR, you are generally trying to do one of three things: 1) create positive awareness for a person, product, company or cause, through means other than advertising; 2) maintain current perceptions or increase awareness around current perceptions; 3) change perceptions (crisis situations).
In each case, you start with the strategy and messaging grid. But this is only 25% of the game. The remaining 75% is the heavy lifting in reaching the greatest number of demographically compatible targets with the desired messaging and getting them to believe it.
Reaching 500 demographically people through a LinkedIn post is better than reaching 100. Reaching 20,000 through an article or mention in a demographically compatible trade publication is better than 400. Reaching 200,000 through an article in the Harvard Business Review is better than 20,000. And reaching 800,000 through an article or mention in The Wall Street Journal is…well, you get the point.