By: Lauren Froman (@lofro54)

It is that time of year again to reflect on all the people who provide endless love and support for you. It is that time to eat wonderful food and to accept the fact that you will never be old enough for the grown-up table even though you are 22-years-old (No? Just me?). Thanksgiving is such a cherished holiday by so many. If you think about it, the meal itself is a process. Do you know what else is a process? Public relations. Here is the step-by-step process that can be used in preparing a Thanksgiving feast as well as a public relations campaign.

Researching
Whether it is your first time preparing the meal or you are a seasoned cook, this first step is critical when it comes to preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. This research could include going through your grandma’s recipes, asking family and friends for food preferences, being aware of vegetarian/vegan guests, or simply Googling new recipes.

A public relations campaign without research simply cannot happen. It allows public relations professionals to develop the strategies to conduct campaigns and work toward a main goal. From conducting focus groups, launching surveys, or using databases to review case studies, PR is built on research.

Planning
A key point to remember is that a Thanksgiving meal takes preparation, time, and collaboration.  First it is important to decide who is hosting the meal. Second, you must decide which guests are bringing which side dishes. Each person’s contribution is essential and unique to the overall meal.

Just like planning for Thanksgiving, public relations activities take time, preparation and a whole lot of collaborating. Things must be completed in a certain order or else the campaign will not be implemented correctly. Sharing tasks or asking for help is also beneficial when you are feeling overwhelmed; just like if your hands get tired from peeling potatoes don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Communicating
Personally, this is my favorite part of Thanksgiving when the magic happens. This is the actual cooking of the food, the collaborating and bonding, the setting the table and bringing everyone together. This is when everyone who has helped prepare the meal gets to share their creation with all their friends and family.

This step is the implementation of a PR campaign. This is what all that hard work, planning and researching has led up to.  Whether it’s an event, news release, or published content, this is where the organization and the public invest themselves into a campaign.

Evaluating
This is the step of reflection and a time to ask different questions as to how well the plan was executed. What went well, what could be improved on, and what can be changed for the future? Did your guests enjoy the food? Which dishes received the most compliments, and which ones had the most left-overs?

This goes for both Thanksgiving dinner as well as a PR campaign. Measuring media placements, social media reach, and gauging public attitudes with surveys are ways to evaluate a campaign. As mentioned earlier, relationships are key to any collaborative scenario whether it is helping an organization or spreading love to your friends and family over a turkey dinner.  With that, I wish all of my fellow PR classmates a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Lauren Froman is a senior majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in Business. She is currently serving as a GrandPR Account Associate and is a member of GVSU PRSSA and Advertising Club. She is also interning for the American Advertising Federation of West Michigan. Lauren’s favorite aspect of PR is community relations. In her free time, you can find her studying the newest fashion trends, exploring West Michigan, or snuggling her cats.