3 Essential Steps to Launching a PR Campaign
You are considering launching a PR campaign. You probably can envision the headlines, interview requests and feature articles now. Like many people looking for public relations support, you know what you want, you just need to figure out how to get there. Everyone in the industry – from top PR firms to independent practitioners – exist because they have the knowledge and skill set to plan and execute campaign-driven work. Yes, it is easy for someone to draft a press release or field an interview from a reporter, but are you using these opportunities to amplify your underlying mission and vision, and communicate directly with your audience?
Taking outward-facing communications from one-off tactics to a cohesive PR campaign takes time and planning. If you are new to the public relations game, launching a new product or service, or introducing a new brand to market, you must have a plan. It is too easy to overlook critical stages, particularly at the onset of a campaign, and muddy your message.
Look to the future
Why are you initiating a PR campaign in the first place? Where do you want to be in six months, 12 months, two years?
Ask yourself these questions at the onset of your campaign planning. First you need to establish your goals in order to create a plan to get you there. If you want your product to be the leader in its category, put it down on paper. If you want to be a leading commentator in your industry, say it. If you want to increase revenue by 12 percent … well, you get the idea.
The bottom line is you can’t build a successful campaign without know where you want to be. Not only is this a great visioning exercise, but it helps to determine what strategy and tactics to implement in order to achieve your goal.
Know the market and create your voice
The world of PR and marketing is more than just a good product, a strong company, or a savvy leader. An understanding of your market and your key competitors is essential to mapping out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats prior to a PR campaign launch.
Many strategic planning sessions include a SWOT analysis and there’s a reason why. Before communicating outwardly with the media and the public, you need to have a clear understanding of your strong points, areas that need improvement, and threats to your overall business model. This is essential to your PR positioning, which includes the development of a mission statement, value proposition, elevator pitch, competitor analysis, company history, if applicable, and brand voice.
Exercises of this nature create the foundation for your PR campaign. From here, you can build your strategy and decide what tools and tactics will be most effective in achieving your goals.
Get to know your audience
It’s no secret that a successful PR campaign can help a business grow. But as the old saying goes, no man is an island, and there are no successful public relations campaigns without an audience of fans, supporters or loyalists.
While you are in your campaign planning stages, identify your ideal customer, research where they go for information, what professional organizations they belong to, and how best to reach them. This is the time to look at everything from influential publications like The New York Times to hyper-local websites, LinkedIn and Facebook groups, and industry and trade publications.
By understanding who your audience is, what they care about, where they go to for important information, and how best to reach them, you have the beginnings of a successful campaign strategy.
Putting the time and energy into developing goals, positioning and target audiences is the basis of any successful PR campaign. Take the time to really develop these three steps and then experience compounding returns.