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As the famous saying goes, ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail’. And it’s that time of the year when my focus turns to planning for 2022 activity. Here’s a brief insight into the work that goes into planning a foodservice trade PR account to deliver the best possible results.

1. Identify client objectives

Firstly, it is essential to identify client objectives. I work closely with clients to establish their objectives and not just for new clients, but with established ones too.

Client objectives can develop to meet new circumstances, markets can change rapidly and require light-footed, dynamic responses. My clients may be considering entering new markets, they may have new products in development or may have merged new strategies with already developed ones.

It’s essential that I focus on what my clients are seeking to achieve, not just today but moving forward into 2022 and beyond. By understanding my clients’ needs, I can help them maximise potential and give them the best chance of success.

2. Gather features lists

As magazines publish their annual features lists, I tackle the time-intensive task of gathering them all in and identifying what’s relevant for each of my clients.

This is my opportunity to build the backbone of activity. It allows me to plan what features to target each month and assess which features are most suitable for particular clients to target. I don’t envy the editors putting together their features lists – particularly when they are being chased by me and other PR consultants to dilvulge those lists!

3. Plot relevant features

Now is the time to plot relevant features tailored to each client. By taking the time to do this, I can ensure maximum reach and engagement with my clients’ individual target audiences.

This is when I really drill down to the detail and look at how my client can add real value to relevant features, enabling to build the skeleton of an annual activity plan per client.

4. Develop creative campaigns

Now is also the time when I begin to develop creative campaigns.  By giving myself plenty of time to think and plan, I can put forward bigger, more creative campaigns to elevate opportunities above the ‘bread and butter’ activity.

I really enjoy the opportunity to get creative and work with my clients to think bigger, brighter and better. No box-ticking here, just blue sky thinking! For me, planning doesn’t inhibit creativity but is the fertile ground for it.

5. Present to the client

What is especially exciting, after the long dark days of COVID lockdowns and restrictions, is being able to get back in front of clients and present well-thought-out campaigns that I know will deliver results.

I take pride in the strength of my relationships with clients, working as an extension of their team to help achieve their goals. To be able to have these meetings face-to-face again makes it all the easier. Planning for 2022 and beyond brings me a huge amount of excitement. I know that come December 31st, plans will already have been developed, actions diarised, and steps plotted.

Have you got any other tips that you use when planning a PR account? Connect with me and share them on LinkedIn.