So, you’ve chosen to launch a PR campaign. It’s is a step in the right direction to strengthen brand awareness and leverage the power and influence of the news media to enhance your reputation. But, before you can seek help from PR professionals, you have to know what it is you want to achieve.

A PR campaign can include a variety of communications activities. Here are five things you need to know that will help you navigate in the right direction.

1. Know your goals and objectives

Before your PR campaign can take off, you must first identify what you want your campaign to accomplish. Do you want to increase credibility by increasing media coverage, or do you simply want to strengthen your online presence using social media? Maybe you want your campaign to encompass both. Identifying your goals and objectives will help you develop the right PR strategies.

2. Know the intended audiences

These are the people you want to get in front of. Knowing your audience is more than just understanding how they feel about your company and what products or services they like. If you’re looking to reach your audience(s) through your PR campaign, then you need to know what news they read and watch, what social media sites they’re on, which conference they’re attending, and the like. All of this will help you better understand where your audience goes for information.

3. Know your key messages

Your key messages are the important bits of information about your company you want to communicate to your audience. These messages need to be clearly identified so they can be consistently incorporated throughout your entire PR campaign – news media messaging, social media content, content marketing, etc.

4. Know who’s doing the work

Will you hire an in-house PR team or will you outsource to a PR agency? You may find that there will be certain tasks manageable for your in-house PR team, but some tasks may require you hiring a PR agency. Professional PR agencies have the knowledge and resources to build and run a successful PR campaign.

5. Know your budget

While PR is typically “free” publicity, you will need to have financial resources available to implement a PR campaign – especially if you end up hiring an in-house team or a PR agency. Other expenses could include distribution fees on news wire services and news media monitoring services. Knowing your budget upfront will help you plan a PR campaign that’s realistic for your company’s budget.

Done well, a PR campaign can help you manage your company’s reputation and keep your audience informed about what you do.