How to Plan and Execute a Successful PR Campaign in 5 Easy Steps

Francesco Onorato

By Francesco Onorato

You have a new product to launch. You have just hired a new CEO or nominated a new cohort of leaders at your organization. You won a prestigious award and want the world to know about it. While each of these accomplishments are amazing on their own, if they’re not shared with the general public, they risk being lost amongst the noise.

You need a public relations campaign.  

 

Infographic with megaphone, computer, and other PR tools

At Ideas Collide, we encompass public and media relations to be fully integrated within content and media strategies. This collaborative approach brings audience insight, targeting, content planning and delivery connected across paid, owned, earned and shared channels. With this in mind, the PR components of content and media require careful organization and execution. To make it happen, we suggest you follow these five steps to plan and execute a successful PR campaign.  

  1. Think audience, first and ongoing. Defining your audience and what motivates them, what they care about always comes first. We build this across our content strategy and media teams to ensure integration from earned to paid channels. Where does your audience go to for information? What do they read? How old are they and where are they located? Are they active social media users? Are they digital citizens newspapers subscribers? Do they follow podcasts? For a full content and PR campaign to be successful, you must first identify who your audience is and how to best communicate with them. The best way to start with building a persona around this target audience, make that individual come to life. Then, utilize audience research tools to drive further connective insights to the audience motivators, interests and media consumption indexing points (our team uses MRI). The connection between persona building and valid data further add to building a smart and engaging PR/content campaign. 
  2. Keep your competitors close. Right after identifying your audience, recognize that you are likely not the only brand/organization operating in your industry. You need to keep a close eye on your competition. Search and map your competitors’ media presence. Leverage software products like Cision, Meltwater, or Critical Mention. By knowing what your competitors are saying — and how they are saying it — throughout various media, you will be able to build a competitive advantage on how to make your next announcement. This is powerful not just for your PR campaign but for all of your content and media initiatives.  
  3. Surprise and delight.  You need to surprise and delight your audience, but also the members of the media. Writers, podcasters and journalists receive a daily avalanche of emails and texts with media pitches. They are overwhelmed. How can you make their life better? By partnering with them while keeping their goal in mind. These content creators and journalists need and want to inform the public. Send meaningful information that benefits consumers, stakeholders, your local community, and the public at large. And lastly, don’t forget: don’t be boring! Information is important, but it’s better if it’s entertaining as well. 
  4. Be obsessive about the message. Now that you are focusing on your audience, you know about your competition, and you support rather than bother content publishers and journalists, there’s one thing still left pending: what are you going to talk about? Your message is your business card to the public, your elevator pitch to the world. It’s who you are in front of those who matter most to you. You must have a clear message, something that you truly believe in and that resonates with your audience. While it should be easy to know who you are and what you are about, it does take time to articulate a message that is concise, effective and appealing. Coming up with the right message is not an easy task, but once you find the right one, you are off and running!  
  1. Measure, report, improve. Your campaign is done. You’ve done your work, spoke to your audience and engaged with them. Now what? Just like athletes watch the recording of their own performance and study to prepare for the next match, you should look back at your PR efforts, analyze them, and find out what you can improve upon. You are not alone in this endeavor: there are many measurement and analytics tools that can help you get the right insights in front of you and your team. But like for anything else, you need the right expert to maneuver them. 

Public relations and the integration across content marketing and media is a fine art. Building a fully integrated PR campaign across paid, owned, earned and shared channels cohesively with the core audience drivers in mind can be a very powerful tool to build brand awareness and driving performance metrics for any organization.  Don’t underestimate the behind-the-scenes work and preparation that are needed to build and execute a successful campaign. And when in doubt or if ready to strategize about your next PR or content campaign, talk to us—we are here to make it happen for you.