Campaigns 101: Tips for Launching an Effective PR Campaign
Whether you’re venturing into the public relations world for the first time, or you’re a seasoned professional, you must ensure that your campaigns are effective.
Even in this digital world that’s constantly evolving, the objective of good PR has remained unchanged: to raise awareness.
Of course, when a PR campaign is effective, and raises this awareness, you’ll find yourself in the spotlight and will need to be ready to face the road ahead.
Here are four tips and best practices to consider before launching your first (or 50th) campaign.
Your thought leadership, experience and expertise all work in tandem as your pitch.
Often, founders and other high-level employees and executives are reluctant to step out into the spotlight to share themselves and their stories, which can ultimately hurt the chances of a company attracting the media attention it needs to thrive.
To combat this, work with your PR agency to plan topics and accompanying talking points to which you can speak confidently.
An easy example is what’s currently being talked about in the media to which you can lend your expertise. While some PR firms and vendors use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and data-science to monitor online conversations and trends, a quick Twitter search will yield comparable results.
In addition to current media trends, you may also consider sharing your personal story of your business journey. Sprinkle in anecdotes and fun facts (to a degree of which you’re comfortable) to add an authentic, personal element to your campaign.
Be mindful, however, that the purpose of your PR campaign isn’t to make you look like a rockstar—it’s meant to showcase how your abilities and experience can help others.
Your thought leadership will work in tandem with finding your own creative angle. What about your story and experience is interesting to your audience? How can you write an exceptional press release to drive this point home? These questions should be given serious consideration as part of developing your thought leadership and launching your campaign.
2. Personal Brand
The cultivation and execution of your personal brand works directly in tandem with your thought leadership.
Increasingly, your audience and the media look to the social channels and online presences of founders, CEOs and other high-level executives as real-life evidence of their thought leadership. Understanding the importance of your personal brand, you should strive to create a polished, professional and authentic brand—both on and offline.
Cultivating your personal brand online may include a host of relatively simple activities, such as crafting an interesting and intriguing biography that an experienced PR professional can help with.
Additionally, avoid selfies and get high-quality headshots taken; compile a collection of online news clippings and stories that mention you, your business and what you promote. Include links to all of your relevant social media pages.
Offline, consider joining communities and social groups relevant to your personal and professional interests and establish your presence in the appropriate circles. Leverage your existing network in order to expand and build relationships with the media, both journalists and influencers, to create genuine, long-term connections.
3. Planning and Pitching
There are several steps to consider before launching your PR campaign, akin to a pre-, during and post-campaign checklist.
Before releasing your message, set a realistic goal and metrics of success. This will help to keep you on track and avoid discouragement. Make sure you know your audience to successfully target them on the right platforms and distribute your content wisely.
Work with your PR agency or vendor to develop a targeted media list comprised of the agency’s own contacts and lists curated with social media listening tools.
Targeting the right audience on the right platform is critical, as your pitches are more likely to be picked up by journalists or influencers who are actively writing about the topic.
Test out various styles of pitches to see which ones stick, and don’t get discouraged if any of them don’t get immediately picked up. Pitching is something of an art form and can take many attempts before seeing success. Be sure to track whether your pitch emails were opened to determine areas of success or for improvement.
During your campaign, continue to curate your relationships with the media and influencers concurrent with reinforcing your personal brand. Following the end of your campaign, build links, focus on social shares and consider writing a company blog post discussing the campaign, its journey and outcomes.
4. Do Your Research
Even when you think you’ve nailed your pitches, and they’re being picked up by prominent journalists or influencers, there’s always room for improvement to polish and increase their appeal.
Look for data and other statistics that support your pitch and industry trends, such as similar stories or use cases. This will effectively add clout to your pitch, automatically making it more intriguing and trustworthy. After all, the more information you give the more likely your pitch will be picked up.
It’s important, however, to keep your expectations realistic.
Despite your best efforts, you’re likely not going to get a spot on a network news station or a two-page spread in Forbes on your first, or even 10th, try. Curating long-term relationships with media personnel is important to building your credentials and brand.
Regardless of your experience, launching a PR campaign can be stressful even in the best of times. Effective campaigns make use of a variety of skills, research and digital marketing finesse.
Intrado Digital Media offers a variety of PR tools that can help you research, launch and monitor your campaigns. Learn more about our digital media solutions.
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