The advantages of running an effective PR campaign goes beyond attracting attention, creating awareness or complementing marketing/advertising strategies to building and sustaining both a positive and long-lasting reputation and relationship with both your internal and external publics.
However, whether it’s an agency or an in-house department, PR campaigns are strategic and well-planned to achieve the goal of the brand. Therefore, to help budding PR pros understand and do PR effectively, irrespective of brand niche, here are my 5 core tips.
Define your Goal and Metrics for Success: setting a goal for your PR plans, not only helps you to be strategic but focused on the desired result and how to achieve them. It is advisable to dream big during the ideation stage of your campaign to explore possible means to execute your defined plans and measure your success, however, be specific about your goal(s). For instance, if your company or client is involved in a crisis, then your specific goal would be to mitigate the effects of the crisis without losing the brand’s credibility. How you would do that is up to you. So, play the game well!
Research your Audience: ‘know your audience’ has almost become a cliche in the communications industry but it can’t be overemphasized. In fact, go beyond knowing your audience to researching your audience and creating a ‘buyer persona’. A big flaw to a well-designed PR campaign is targeting the wrong audience – everything including time and money becomes a waste. As a PR professional, knowing your audience is paramount to achieving success for the PR campaign.
Therefore, before creating the message of your PR plan, you should define who will receive the message. As an instance, if your company or client produces diapers, then your key target becomes women who are pregnant or nursing mothers. Take the time to develop the right audience persona.
Choose the Right Media: of course, you don’t want to send your message through a town crier in this digital age. In the same way, you ought to send your message to where your audience is. From your buyer or audience persona, you will easily identify which platform your target audience uses and why they use such a platform. This information will help you in crafting a bespoke message tailored to your specific audience that is suitable for the platform you choose.
Knowing your audience helps you select the right media which appeals directly to them. For example, do your audience spend much time on social, print or broadcast media? You might have to choose multiple platforms depending on your goals but know your audience and select the best platform to reach them.
Tell your Story Creatively: public relations is storytelling, and storytelling requires a great deal of creativity. First, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ you tell your story matters a lot as you don’t want to run the risk of being misunderstood by your audience. Secondly, there are no boring stories, just boring storytellers. So, as you try to represent your company or client professionally, employ creative approaches that appeal to your audience to attract and retain their attention. Lastly, as a PR professional, ensure you write exceptionally press releases when pitching the media or journalist, if not, your press release could be found in the trash as nobody wants a boring story. You should also be wary of being promotional in your story, and ensure to highlight the benefits or importance of the subject matter of your story – that’s the hook, most times.
Build Relationship with Journalists: building relationships is a goal in PR but with journalists, it is more intentional as you’ll be working with them more frequently to get your stories published or achieve any other media relations goal. Instead of sending your story to a generic news desk, identify the names of journalists who most often write about topics related to your industry. Reach out to them with your story through emails or calls, and ensure to build a long-term relationship with them as they might be willing to write about your company again in the future. If you want to keep your company or client in the news for good reasons, build a positive relationship with journalists.
I like to say that there is a difference between the goal of PR for a company and the goal of PR for a company’s project. The former is usually long-term and holistic while the latter represents a short term, but you as a PR person should always consider the long term results your PR campaign could generate for your company or client.