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Blogs  / October 19, 2021

How to build a compelling business case for PR investments

by Dan Beltramo, CEO

Welcome back to our blog series about building a PR business case and securing the investment! This week, we’re walking you through the mechanics of developing a strong business case for PR.

Business cases are designed to answer these four essential questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How will we do it?
  • Who and what will we need to do it?

The “why” is the most important question of all, and it should be answered throughout the business case. However, this is not just about the purpose of the initiative and investment. The “why” must demonstrate how your proposal aligns with your company’s current business objectives and priorities.

You also need to fully understand how your challenge ties in with your company’s core business needs and how solving this problem will create value for your brand and key stakeholders. Your proposed solution will emerge from collecting and reviewing this information. In addition, you’ll want to consider alternative solutions and potential risks or downsides involved, and provide any data that can support your case for the investment.

Five steps to developing a business case

  • Step 1: Confirm the opportunity

Before moving forward, do all of the necessary research to confirm the challenge, the need and the opportunity that will impact your business in a positive way. Using a robust media monitoring and measurement solution can help you extract a lot of the data and insights that you need, such as the current industry trends, what has worked or not worked well for your audience, and what the competitors are doing.

  • Step 2: Evaluate the alternatives

Identify a few alternative solutions to the business need and challenge you outlined above, and weigh the pluses and minuses of each when it comes to achieving your goals, maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks (or contingencies). This may include an option to do nothing—and the potential downsides of that, such as missing a chance to capitalize on an industry trend or falling behind the competition.

  • Step 3: Clarify the benefits

Select your preferred option and clearly list the benefits of choosing this option, taking into account the value created and the risks involved.

  • Step 4: Work out the plan

Draft the implementation plan for your proposal, including the timeline, the expected outcomes, the resources needed, who will be involved, and how you will measure success.

  • Step 5: Write the business case

Put all of the information you’ve gathered so far into a written business case document. Consider running your proposal by your boss or your team for feedback before you finalize it and present it to the decision-makers for approval.

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quote Sara Eberle Senior Director of Global Public Relations, Sophos
Onclusive is an invaluable tool to help you become a better PR person. It’s great for strategy setting and industry analysis, as you can quickly and easily review what’s happening beyond your own company. Onclusive gives us the ability to see what journalists are covering and track editorial patterns both regionally and globally.

What to include in a business case

Here is our recommended business case outline for communications teams:

  • Executive summary (elevator pitch)
  • The challenge (business need)
  • The solution (objectives, outcomes, supporting data, alternatives, risks)
  • The value to the business (for key stakeholders)
  • The investment (budget, resources, one-time / recurring)
  • The details (timeline, measurement & reporting)

Would a business case template be helpful to walk you through each step as you’re building your proposal? If so, we’ve got you covered. Register for our webinar below, and you’ll receive our brand-new fillable business case template as a “thank you” for participating.

Business case writing best practices

The purpose of the business case is communication. Therefore, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how to make it easy to understand and compelling to the C-suite.

Here’s what to focus on when writing your PR business case:

  • Be brief and provide only the essential information
  • Make it interesting, clear, and concise
  • Minimize jargon and technical terms
  • Describe your vision of the future
  • Demonstrate the value and benefits to the business
  • Pay attention to the flow, style and readability

Develop your business case as a sales pitch for your PR investment, make sure it speaks the language of your audience—the C-suite.

Join us for a webinar on How to Build a PR Business Case and Secure the Investment next week on Tuesday, October 26th. In this session, our panelists will discuss defining the challenges your team faces and tying them to business needs, writing an effective business case document, using data & technology to support your business case, and best practices for securing executive buy-in and showcasing your ROI. Following this webinar we’ll share a worksheet to guide you through building a PR business case.