So, you’re ready to take the next step in your PR journey and build a campaign. You just write a press release and send it out, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are lots of elements to your PR campaign that you need to take into account before you even think about a press release (if you decide that’s the way to go - press releases are not always an essential part of your campaign).
Let’s pretend we’re planning a PR launch campaign for a new product or an event.
The first thing you need to think about is the key information that will affect your campaign - time scales, so when are you going to launch (are there any reactive opportunities you can newsjack), your budget - take into account offset costs for sending out samples or offering press trips, and other external factors that might impact your campaign. For example, don’t launch a product on the eve of a major event as it’ll get lost in the noise.
Then think about your aims for this campaign. Do you plan to work with a national newspaper, be featured in a key publication or hold a press preview event? Write your aims down and hold yourself accountable.
What do you want to gain from your campaign? Objectives are different to aims and they’re indicators that your campaign is working. Do you want to reach 10k followers, make £10k or just raise awareness of your brand among a new market?
What do you want your campaign to say? Sitting and writing your key messages is such a useful exercise as you can keep coming back to them, regardless of the platform you’re working on or with.
Who are you talking to? Profiling your audience is another great exercise. Think about them as a person - what is their lifestyle, what do they earn, what are their own objectives for choosing your business or brand?
Once you’ve profiled your audience, you’ll know exactly which media to work with because you’ll know which social media platforms they use, which magazines they read and also, how they read them. Is it online or in print? All of this will affect who you work with. Make sure you do your research on the media you want to work with the find out their deadlines and who best to speak to.
Integrated comms plan
Now it’s time to pull all of the above together into a plan and a timeline. First, think about the media you identified as targets. Then think about how to approach them (this is where your press release will come in), what key message to tell them and most importantly, why they should care and why their readers should care. You’ll need to approach the longer lead titles months before you approach the dailies or blogs if you want your campaign to land at the same time across titles, so create deadlines and stick to them.
As part of your integrated plan, think about your social media channels. You’ll know from your audience profiling which platforms your target market use, so focus on them. Do you need to allow some budget to boost your posts? Think about scheduling some posts to integrate into your comms plan.
Don’t forget that you already have an engaged audience waiting to hear from you, so factor them into your plan. Could you offer them early bird tickets for supporting you? Or a discount code for a new product? Time your comms to build up some excitement and rapport before your big launch.
Risk management/contingency plans
What happens after you’ve run your campaign? Make sure you have a plan in place to manage your customer relations and deal with any potential risks to your campaign, such as negative feedback or bad reviews. If you have a team, do you need to brief them on how to respond to irate customers?
With all of this in mind, you’re now ready to write your press release and kickstart your campaign.