Marketing gets you noticed. PR gets you remembered and talked about. To weave a cohesive analogy, marketing is about throwing the darts; PR is about creating the board. When you have a good PR plan, you’ve made marketing your business that much easier. You’ve giving it direction and a foundation to build on. As with anything, PR success requires planning and the experts agree these are imperative steps to a winning game plan:
Review Past Campaigns
If you’ve already been down this road before, take a moment to reflect on past campaigns. See what worked and what didn’t. If you’re having trouble determining which efforts were worth the while, then you’ve got a measurement problem – meaning that your mode of assessing campaign value will have to be reworked during the planning stages. A couple of other key questions to ask yourself include:
- Which digital or print publications were most responsive to your pitch?
- Which journalists, reporters, or bloggers reported in your favor versus not in your favor?
- Which campaigns got the highest social media traction?
- Which campaigns, articles, or posts solicited audience/customer responses?
Consider New Options
Asking these important questions forces your PR team to evaluate what’s working and what just might not be worth their time. Particularly looking at what gets the most social media traction and what readers/clients are responding to gives you a good idea of what direction you should be honed in on. Now’s also a good time to see what hasn’t been tried before. Maybe there’s a trending strategy that’s working for others. Or perhaps a younger associate executive or intern has a new idea. If you’re really strapped for ideas, it might be worth considering the ideas of lower ranking team members. Sometimes a fresh idea is all that’s needed, and these key players (especially trend-savvy) interns tend to be more in touch with what’s relatable. Sharing the helm will also let you spot future stars.
The one pitfall any team needs to watch out for is a lack of direction. You may now how to get attention, but throw figurative arrows that all land doesn’t really mean a whole lot when they’re all landing on different boards. If you’re a large company with multiple PR goals and the team/resources in tow, this might actually be your game plan. However, if you’re a smaller company, chances are you need all your arrows hitting one target at a time. Some might be at a loss on how you should identify goals or which goals you should prioritize. You can simplify the process by looking at your core product or cause. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and who you want to achieve it for? Many times the answer is a singular one and even more complicated PR pitches tend to have one core product or goal deep within layers of story/media.
Tools at Disposal
Your campaign will essentially be defined by the tools you have at your disposal. This includes basics like graphic designers, web designers, writers, artists, contacts, location (if applicable), products available for giveaways, print material, allotted monetary funds for PR use, and the list goes on and on. The best PR companies to this date are still under utilizing the tools available to them, including project management tools, collaboration tools and social media tools that go leaps and bounds in cutting down time spent on a project while increasing efficiency.
Of course, there’s always the issue of money. As the saying goes, you can’t have “champagne dreams on a beer bottle budget.” The same goes with your PR goals. You may have the best ideas, but you may not be able to afford the resources or manpower that goes into executing these ideas. When determining which campaign route to go with, have team members put together a cost/analysis spreadsheet that identifies factors such as cost/expense, resources necessary vs. required, time span, expected results, and finally a way to measure results.