Over spring break, I got engaged. What do you think was on my mind? Honestly, there were so many things running through my head I don’t remember them all. However, I can tell you that I wasn’t thinking about all the planning I’d have to do. My mother and I are working to book a venue, set up the engagement photo shoot, figure out what kind of invitation to send, and so much more. I even bought a beautiful notebook from Target to write out all my plans. Don’t ask me why, but I like to write everything down by hand when I do initial planning. I suppose it seems more tangible.
As I have gotten to the planning stage of my wedding, I started getting overwhelmed at the number of details. Not only am I hopefully graduating from college in May, working as an intern at the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Dallas and as a Starbucks barista, I am now planning my wedding. Then it hit me. I do planning all the time. Granted, it is for a different purpose, but public relations planning is similar and just as important as wedding planning.
Planning is the foundation of everything we do in public relations. Melissa Liton of Communique PR wrote an entire blog post on the importance of planning in public relations. She ended the post by saying that planning will ultimately determine if public relations efforts will work or not. This is just like wedding planning. It is the largest determining factor of whether a wedding is terrible or wonderful.
In addition, good planning in public relations should always be based on solid research. Author Steven Symer noted that research is essential because it helps practitioners make informed decisions. In planning my wedding, I am not going to pick out a venue, a dress or anything without first looking at different options and researching the alternatives. Doing public relations planning without research is just as stupid as buying a wedding dress you have never tried on.
I am sure you have heard of it, but in public relations, there is a process I have hinted to. It is called the communications process. It consists of research, planning, communication and evaluation. Planning gives you an avenue through which to evaluate all your efforts. Granted, when I am at my wedding, my evaluation will simply be if it went well and everyone had a good time. In public relations, evaluation of the campaign is vitally important because it validates PR efforts. James Grunig explained that planning helps with the bottom line because it reveals what is most important. Planning helps you achieve goals.
Take a moment and imagine what life would be like without planning. Nothing would ever get done, and if it did, it would be a mess. You would have no direction. You would have no goal. You would be aimless. That is not the kind of world I would want. It sounds like a nightmare. Thankfully, that isn’t our world. Now, I’m off to plan my wedding. Wish me luck!