How To Plan Out and Succeed in Your PR Campaign
A good PR campaign will help an organization maintain control over the spread of information relating to them and their products. It is a proactive way to control media narrative and attract customers without having to incur the costs of traditional advertising. Planning out a successful PR campaign takes time. A proper plan is comprehensive and tailored to the specific needs of a business.
Your plan needs to add value to the organization. Consider the following questions when creating it:
- Who do you wish to target?
- What can you do?
- What are your objectives?
- How will you measure success?
Here are a few tips to plan out your PR campaign.
State Your Objectives
The first step of a successful campaign is defining your goals. Write down your objectives as clearly as possible and take time to understand them. Do you wish to:
- Generate leads and sales?
- Establish expertise?
- Introduce new products or services to the market?
- Strengthen your relationships with customers?
- Improve your brand awareness?
- Build goodwill with the community?
- Reinforce your corporate image?
You can go on with your campaign once you are sure of what you want. Articulate your goals quantitatively. Ensure that they align with your general business objects. A proper goal should meet SMART requirements.
Determine the Target Market
Your PR campaign must be designed for the specific needs of your target customers. Identify who you wish to reach and determine what is important to them. If your campaign does not appeal to the target market, it is pointless. Consider the following questions when creating the blueprint for your campaign:
- Who are you trying to communicate with?
- What are the best media platforms for your needs?
- How can you earn the trust and attention of your target audience?
- What are the best images, topics, or language for your target audience?
After understanding who makes up your target audience, you can start making plans for your campaign.
Develop Your Message
Once you are sure of your target audience, develop your message to suit their needs. Ensure that the message you convey is useful to your target audience. It should be in line with your goals. Since you have already researched the audience and identified gaps in the marketplace, the process shouldn’t be hard.
Understand the Competition
It is impossible to beat your competition if you do not understand it. Create a list of your biggest competitors and observe them. Consider borrowing something from their campaigns to compete effectively. When researching the campaigns of your competitors, consider their successes as well as their missteps. If you see them lacking in a certain aspect, it may be your chance to step in and fill in the gap. If a strategy is working for them, try to use it in your PR campaign. While you shouldn’t copy everything that the competitors are doing, you get lessons from them.
Start researching for the best opportunities to execute your campaign. What is the best time to send out your press release and articles or letters to editors and publications? As you start your research, try to find the contact information of different media personalities. It would be wise to start building relationships with them. Make appearances in podcasts, TV, and radio.
Create a schedule for your campaign after you have identified your opportunities and made contact with media personalities. Your PR campaign schedule must include;
- An email or social media schedule to publicize your appearances
- The media outlets where you may appear
- Follow-up actions after your campaign
When creating your PR schedule, think about other sales and marketing efforts that your company will be putting in. Coordinate your media appearances with upcoming events or sales. For example, you can offer special discounts for the customers who learn about your business through the PR campaign.
Plan to Measure Progress
Come up with a clear plan to measure the success of your PR campaign. It can include: sales numbers, acquisition and conversion of leads, social sentiment changes, and media inquiries. You should be able to review the results of your campaign after every step. If things are not going according to plan, you may have to modify it or create a different plan. If you are unable to measure and track your campaign, it is unlikely to succeed.
Being relevant to the public at all times is the only way to stay competitive. Aim to remain as relevant as possible for as long as you can. Go where people are, experiment, and stay on top of trends. Doing the same thing over and over again can be detrimental to your campaign. The needs and interests of your target audience are always changing and you need to change with them. Have your ear on the ground and take every opportunity to create a buzz.
Characteristics of a Good PR Campaign
A good PR campaign should meet certain criteria. It should have three main characteristics:
- Identifying the goal
- Identifying the message that can make it possible to meat that objective
- Communicating to the relevant audience
The objective of your campaign should be clear. Goals are not as simple as promoting brand awareness or raising awareness of a new product. They need to be much more specific. They should make it easy to plan and execute your campaign.
The message of your campaign needs to be clear and concise. Your target audience should not have trouble figuring out what you are trying to communicate. Avoid the potential of ambiguity or losing your message. Ideally, your message will not only inform the audience about your viewpoint but also influence them to take a specified action.
Your PR campaign should target a specific group. Even though you can target the entire population, you should be more concerned about those that can respond to your message as desired. For companies, this should be the consumers that are most likely to consume a product. When picking the right target group, consider their spending power, interests, and preferences.
Common PR Campaign Mistakes to Avoid
Planning and executing a successful PR campaign takes a lot of work. Therefore, it is no surprise that many companies make mistakes that end up costing them both their time and money.
Even though a press release is an important part of your PR campaign, it should integrate with everything else that you will be doing. This is how you can create a press release that stands out. Your campaign needs to take advantage of various communication channels. Balance offline and online tactics to cater to different needs. Consider creating a podcast, organizing events with the relevant stakeholders, and writing blog posts. Your media kit should integrate with all components of your campaign.
A good PR campaign focuses on the needs of customers rather than the organization. Being self-centered is a recipe for failure. Consider your target audience and their needs. Make them the foundation of your campaign. Journalists are unlikely to write about your release if it does nothing for their audience.
Nothing is worse than failing to understand the role of your PR campaign in your general marketing strategy. Market positioning is essential for your brand, company, and products. What is the identity of your company and how can the campaign reinforce it? Can the campaign help you with SEO?
Think about your campaign and determine its ability to highlight your keywords to the target audience. Position your PR campaign strategically for your target audience and brand.
Lack of Availability and Alignment
Consider the main stakeholders in your organization when creating a campaign. How will your PR campaign affect them? If, for example, your main spokesperson is from a different department, they may not be available at a moment’s notice. They may have trouble using certain modes of communication. This is something that you need to think about in advance.
Lack of Newsworthy Components
Every aspect of your PR campaign needs to be newsworthy and interesting. All PR pros need to wear the shoes of a journalist and think like one. Find a way to give your campaign a fresh perspective and make it newsworthy. Why should a journalist care about your press release? What is in it for them? How can their audience benefit from your campaign? You are unlikely to succeed if you do not know what is important to them. Before pitching your campaign, read and listen to the most successful stories on media outlets.
Failure to Understand the Target Audience
Understanding the target audience of your success is an important step towards success. Ensure that you not only know your audience but also understand what appeals to them. Find out what media outlets and influencers want.
While you may be tempted to go all out on your PR campaign, it is important to keep it sustainable. Many businesses create campaigns that create a serious buzz but are quickly forgotten. The goal is not only to be relevant but to remain relevant for a long time. Write evergreen content. It should be just as useful tomorrow as it is today. The concept of your campaign must be adaptable to multiple audiences.
Rushing to Spread the Word
Most entrepreneurs are excited about their campaigns. They cannot wait to share the good news with the world. However, PR pros should be wary of this mistake. Rushing to send word out before you are ready can be bad for your campaign. Take time to research, develop your message, and identify opportunities before sharing your creation with the rest of the world.
Sending Mass Emails
When sending out your invitations and PR messages, avoid sending mass emails to your panelists, guests, and journalists. Personalized emails are much more effective. Do not CC any recipients unless you really have to. Personalization is essential to the success of your pitch. People love connections regardless of their position. It makes them feel special and may create a sense of individuality. Instead of huge attachments, consider adding digital EPKs to your emails. You shouldn’t create a great pitch only to mess it up at the recipient’s inbox.
Failing to Target the Right Audience
This is one of the biggest mistakes a PR pro can make. Failure to target the right audience could mean that all your efforts are irrelevant. It is a waste of money and time to target audiences that may not be interested in your campaign. The best way to avoid this problem is to do research ahead of time. Create a focus on the specific audience you wish to target.
Jumping on the Hype
Hopping on hyped-up stories is not as beneficial as it may seem. In the past few months, for example, many PR pros have been creating COVID-related articles. This makes it difficult to stand out. If you are providing the same content as everyone else, people have no reason to choose you. Remain flexible and adjust to emerging trends instead of relying on just one topic.
Neglecting Internal Communications
Every company needs a good PR strategy. However, it is often put on the back burner. Many stakeholders in the organization may not appreciate it. The way you communicate with your stakeholders and team members is critical. They play a major role in the success of your campaign. Your internal team can be your biggest ambassadors. They can help promote your story.
Using Unfair Practices
Operating with unfair business practices is bad for your company. One reckless mistake could cost you your entire campaign. Employees and stakeholders need to work together to promote fairness. Unfair practices will weaken your entire brand.
Creating a PR campaign that works takes some work. A successful campaign is a series of well-thought-out activities rather than just one thing. All of the activities need to be carefully planned in consideration of the target audience and the company’s goals. Knowing what the target audience wants is the first step towards success.