How to build a solid PR strategy

Strategy is the basis of great PR. Join Laura Sutherland and Gini Dietrich to learn:

  • How to use data in your comms strategy

  • How to use the PESO content model

  • How to set & measure realistic goals

How to build a solid PR strategy-hero

Great PR relies on a solid strategy – otherwise it's impossible to know what tactics to use, what to say and what to measure.

This is no ordinary year. In the fallout of the global tailspin that was 2020, we're all having to reassess how we plan and deliver our comms. For most of us, that means reframing what our strategic goals look like – not an easy ask, with purses tightening and the world still in turmoil.

That's why we asked PRFest's Laura Sutherland and Spin Sucks' Gini Dietrich to help. Watch the Roundtable below.

Want the short version? Read the write-up.

Show notes

3:50 A lot of people think tactically before they think strategically. The difference is that strategy NEEDS to be informed by something; it needs to be supported by data. By measuring how this data changes, you will also get evidence on how well your strategy is performing – really important when it comes to reporting. There's a huge opportunity here to measure the work that we do and relate it to the goals of your client.

6:30 How do you respond to clients that do not want see the value in building a PR strategy? 

8:00 Scrutinise any brief you get from a client: why are we doing this? What will be the long-term benefit? 

9:20 Gini answers “Where do you start when you approach creating a PESO strategy?” (More info on the PESO model on Spin Sucks!) Start with answering, What are we trying to achieve? How does the research support that? And then see where the PESO model fits in.

11:11 Setting goals: Laura discusses the importance of creating measurement parameters and using research to inform your benchmarks.

18:00 The place of PR: We are responsible for the relationships – within the company, with the clients, with the public, with the media.

22:00 How do you stay on track and keep your strategy current? Gini: We create a 2-page document that outlines our strategy, and from there we create a 1-page strategy slide that is in everything that we do. It helps you remember your goals and then, when the client says, “We want to do this”, you can respond with “Great – and how does it fit into here?” And stay on track. 

34:10 Laura: We need to talk in business terms to communicate our value to clients.

35:35 Can you share an example of a measurement you used to achieve a particular goal? Gini’s example – Goal: “Build a world class marketing blog”

46:50 As a new agency starting out, get a strategy in place to do your own PR and develop a reputation; consider carving out a niche and owning it.

48:40 What are some of the tools you can’t live without?

It's personal, so always try out different tools and find what works for you. Generally you will need an analytics tool, a content calendar, a marketing automation tool and a PR CRM. Use PRStack as a starting place to see what tools other PRs recommend. (Fun tact: Prezly actually helped Stephen Waddington build PRStack, back in the day! Good times.)

Laura: Google Analytics, Google Drive, Slack, Trello, Prezly ❤️, CoverageBook

Gini: Salesforce, HubSpot, Prezly ❤️, CoSchedule, Google Analytics, Moz

52:00 Q&A: How can I convince a client that they need owned content? Gini – We have rented our content to places we don’t own – Twitter, Facebook, any web host. There is no reason on Earth that you can’t create and host content somewhere you control. Use other outputs to distribute and promote, but you have to own that content. 

55:09 Q&A: A lot of prospects don’t want to pay agencies for concepts. How do you handle them? 

Spin Sucks

Gini is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks (the website) and Spin Sucks (the book). She also the host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and co-host of both Inside PR and The Agency Leadership podcast. On top of this, she co-authored Marketing in the Round and with her team, runs the incredible global Spin Sucks Slack community – if you aren't part of it already, come check it out :)

Having run and grown an agency over the past 14 years, Gini is the mastermind behind the super-effective PESO comms & marketing model, which unites the four pillars of media: Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned. She is also really, really into using data and metrics to inform PR strategy.

You can say hi to Gini on LinkedIn or Twitter.



Laura is an award-winning PR strategist, entrepreneur and Chair of CIPR's Fellows Forum, amongst a great many other things too numerous to list here. But more importantly, she is obsessed with building and executing effective strategies. By her own admission, she is someone who gets sh*t done.

As well as running her own agency, Aura PR, Laura is the founder and organiser of PRFest – the world's only annual festival dedicated to PR, which has grown into a global community of 600+ professionals who want to learn, share, collaborate and inspire. You can find Laura on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

Laura is also the host of an excellent PR podcast, People Buy People. Check it out.


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