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That’s a Bullshit PR Strategy, Sorry”

How to write a 1-page strategy instead.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

A bull­shit PR strategy won’t help you win.

Strategy is an over­used and inflated term, espe­cially in PR and marketing. 

Many con­flate strategies with spe­cif­ic plans, codes of con­duct, mis­sion state­ments, vis­ions and val­ues, etc. 

Those are the hall­marks of a bull­shit PR strategy.

Here we go:

Your Bullshit PR Strategy is Cringe

Many PR strategies are just doc­u­ments and present­a­tion slides filled with plat­it­udes and cor­por­ate cringe.

A strong PR strategy should out­line how you expect to out­per­form your com­pet­it­ors. (Most of everything else should go into your PR plan instead.)

A strategy is how you win at some­thing. Nothing more, noth­ing less. Otherwise, your strategy is bullshit.

To put it as simply as possible:

Many PR strategy doc­u­ments and present­a­tions are filled with any­thing but the essen­tial parts needed to make the PR strategy work.

The why, where, when, how and what are import­ant ques­tions to answer, but they are not enough for a good PR strategy. Many people talk about “strategies” when they mean “plans” — and vice versa.

  • The heart of a sol­id PR strategy beats not with loud bells and whistles but with the quiet resolve of sub­stance and clarity.

The “Magical” PR Strategy Question

How To Create a PR Strategy - Spinning Top - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Spin for the win. (Photo: Jerry Silfwer)
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The Magical PR Strategy Question

Your PR strategy should answer one simple question:

  • Does this strategy provide a guid­ing prin­ciple for how your organ­isa­tion should defeat com­pet­it­ors in the battle for atten­tion, trust, and support?

Whenever your PR strategy fails to answer this ques­tion, it also fails to provide a roadmap to success.

Competitiveness is derived from per­man­ent infra­struc­tur­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics of organ­iz­a­tion­al design, rather than just rely­ing on tem­por­ary stra­tegic assets.”
Source: Strategic Change 1Connor, T. (2007). A con­sid­er­a­tion of stra­tegic assets and the organ­iz­a­tion­al sources of com­pet­it­ive­ness. Strategic Change, 16, 127 – 136. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​0​2​/​J​S​C​.​789

Learn more: The Magical PR Strategy Question

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The 1‑Page PR Strategy

If you can­’t explain it simply, you don’t under­stand it well enough.”
— Albert Einstein

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

How to Write a 1‑Page PR Strategy

My inspir­a­tion for writ­ing “no-bull­shit” strategies comes from the clas­sic “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters” by Richard Rumelt. The 1‑Page PR Strategy focuses on how to win. 2Rumelt, R. P. (2011). Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Crown Business.

The most basic idea of strategy is the applic­a­tion of strength against weak­ness. Or, if you prefer, strength applied to the most prom­ising oppor­tun­ity.”
Source: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters 3Rumelt, R. P. (2011). Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Crown Business.

Here’s how you can write a 1‑Page PR Strategy that fits one page — using the myth­ic­al battle between David and Goliath as an analogy:

1. Analysis

  • David can­’t beat Goliath using his size or raw strength, but he has an advant­age in speed and accur­acy from a distance.

2. Guiding Principle

  • David should­n’t engage in close com­bat but rather use tools that will allow him to strike from a distance.

3. Coherent Actions

  • David should­n’t use any heavy armour because that would slow him down.
  • David should use a sling­shot, a weapon he is famil­i­ar with and can strike from a distance.
  • David should lever­age the sur­prise ele­ment and not advert­ise his advant­age beforehand.

If you write 1 – 2 clear sen­tences per bul­let, your strategy should fit nicely on one page.

Read also: The Easy Street PR Strategy: Keep It Simple To Win

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Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: PR Strategy 101

PR Resource: More PR Strategies

ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Connor, T. (2007). A con­sid­er­a­tion of stra­tegic assets and the organ­iz­a­tion­al sources of com­pet­it­ive­ness. Strategic Change, 16, 127 – 136. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​0​2​/​J​S​C​.​789
2, 3 Rumelt, R. P. (2011). Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Crown Business.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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