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In public relations, there are tactics and then there are strategies. Acting independent of one another, both will struggle to achieve long-term success. They are mutually dependent elements of any public relations plan.

I formerly served as the spokesperson and PR manager of a mid-size airport. One of our goals was to increase our number of non-stop flights to popular destinations. We had many strategies for doing this, but one was building relationships with route planners. These were the people in the airline industry who studied routes and decided where new non-stop flights were most needed and likely to be most profitable. Half the challenge for a mid-size airport was just getting on their radar. The ways we attempted to do that were our tactics.

So, in review, our strategy was to build relationships with route planners. Here were some of our tactics:

1) Attend as many airline conferences as possible;

2) Schedule personal lunches and dinners with route planners in advance;

3) Create multi-faceted presentations demonstrating not only the airport’s strengths but the region’s as well. Be ready to share interesting anecdotes. People love human interest stories matter what industry they represent;

4) Extend personal invitations to the route planners to visit the airport and city;

5) Before they visit, discover their personal interests so visits can be tailor-made;

6) Follow up with kind gestures and small gifts that will remind them of their visit (a T-shirt; local music CD, a postcard with a stamp to mail home, etc.).

Do you have an overall strategy? What tactics can you use to support it?

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