Are you looking to maintain a professional presence in your field? Every business or professional individual can benefit from some form of public relations when it comes to elevating and maintaining their image. No matter what your intentions are when starting a public relations campaign, where do you start?
Here Are 6 Critical Steps For Planning A Successful Public Relations Campaign.
- Understand Your Brand
When starting your public relations campaign, it is vital to have some self-awareness. No one should know you better than yourself!
Think about the current face your business is putting out to the public. Start your public relations campaign by setting aside valuable time for brand-reflection in order to evaluate critical topics that will affect your interactions with the public.
Do you have answers to the vital questions that people may inquire about? Here are common questions to have the answers to:
- What does your company do? What is your mission and vision?
- What makes your business different from competitors?
- What do you want consumers to think of when they think of your brand?
You need to be knowledgeable and confident on all the essential details about your business such as the core values, brand voice and unique qualities of your services. Answering these questions not only gives you an idea of what to highlight in your public relations campaign but also allows you to have answers prepared for the frequently asked questions that you will receive while interacting with the public.
It is important to highlight what sets you apart, but you don’t want to ignore how you compare to other competitors in your field. Learning about common practices and current trends, as well as how others are tackling similar topics in your field, is valuable when reflecting on how to improve your brand.
Having a strong familiarity with all aspects of your brand allows you to form a better idea of how you can set yourself apart during your public relations campaign.
Remember, this is not the time to start making large-scale choices but instead, take inventory of your brand’s assets. Once you bring these various aspects together you can start working towards a PR campaign that emphasizes all the fantastic qualities of your business!
2. Learn About Your Audience
You may have a wonderful cause or service to share with the public, but who exactly are you trying to reach with your message?
Decide who your target audience is before officially kicking off your public relations campaign.
Understanding your target audience is vital to the success of your public relations campaign!
Is your business trying to gain a general following or is there a specific audience that would value from learning about your services?
Narrowing down your desired geographic locations and demographic features are a great way to start!
Decide whether you are trying to reach people locally, regionally, nationally or even internationally. Although increasing and maintaining your presence is important, it is necessary to be realistic about the amount of time and energy you will need to invest in order to reach larger audiences.
Once you decide what locations you are going to be targeting in your public relations campaign, learn more about the people living within these geographic areas.
If you understand the characteristics of your target audience, you will be able to personalize your messages to resonate with that audience more appropriately. For example, the voice you use to communicate with a teenager online shouldn’t be the same one you would use with a baby boomer. Get to know more about who you are speaking to and where they will hear your message the loudest.
After learning more about what topics interest your audience you will also be able to decide what content they will find engaging. A public relations campaign is an inexpensive way to market your business, but you don’t want to waste valuable time or resources on content that your audience will overlook.
Ask these questions when evaluating your audience:
- Who is the target audience you are trying to reach with a public relations campaign?
- Where can these people and outlets be accessibly reached?
- Is the target audience more tech or copy savvy? This will answer what content and platforms they may be more inclined to engage and follow up on.
- What trends are popular among this audience?
Being familiar with your audience will not only make you more confident in your interactions but also give you leverage in effectively reaching as many people as possible with a public relations campaign.
3. Create An Attainable Plan
Put your ideas into action!
After you have critically evaluated your needs, as well as what you are looking to do, it’s time to build a plan to help you meet them.
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Determine a timeline for your public relations campaign and start to create some SMART goals:
SMART goals will help you define your public relations campaign’s success!
- Specific. Determine what exactly you are looking to get out of starting a public relations campaign.
- Measurable. How are you planning to track the progress of your goals?
- Attainable. Choose campaign goals that can be easily done. Don’t start off overwhelmed!
- Relevant. How is your goal going to enhance your brand image?
- Timely. Give yourself a timeline to start looking for visible results that your plan is working (or not.)
Every great plan has some flexibility to it. Don’t get so caught up in mundane details that you overlook the bigger picture. Building a public relations campaign can take time and you want to be well informed on all your options.
Take care when choosing your goals and be realistic that they may change after your campaign launches.
4. Understand The Means To Meeting Goals
You have taken stock of your personal assets and also evaluated your target audience, now you need to decide how to share your great information! Work towards finalizing your goals and evaluate the best next steps based on the information you collected during the initial research phase.
Be realistic about the time and energy you can put into your public relations campaign’s goals.
If your goal is to reach out to national media outlets for a project, you have to be ready to put in the work necessary to reach that audience. There are many ways to reach a national audience that does not require the same amount of energy. You can interact with the public in informal ways such as social media, or invest energy in creating formulated pitches that are scheduled for automatic sending and a variety of options in between- choose what is best for you!
Don’t confine yourself to just one outlet for reaching your audience in your public relations campaigns. The way you engage with your audience on one network does not necessarily guarantee it will resonate with your audience on another. If you don’t have custom content for different situations it will lack personality and be difficult to connect to, which is why we recommend a multi-pronged approach.
Having variety and diversity in content are important in highlighting different aspects of your business and maximizing your return on investment. While you can reuse a lot of the same messages in different types of content, it’s important you take the time to customize it for each platform and audience.
As you are starting to determine what options are best for you in a public relations campaign, you may also realize that you are not able to allocate as much time as you want into your campaign. This is a wonderful time to decide if hiring a firm to run your public relations campaign would help you more effectively reach your goals. If you want to have your campaign completed by a specific date, pick a company that can confirm they will reach those deadlines.
5. Track Result
After putting in all this effort to plan and carry out your public relations campaign, how do you measure if it is effective after launch?
Follow up with your work and track your content!
Regularly following up on your progress is a great way to re-evaluate if you are on track to meet your goals. Some types of content require daily follow-up while others might not require as much attention.
Are you starting to notice certain aspects of your public relations campaign that are working really well? Are your other deliverables not showing the same results? Don’t be discouraged – noticeable results can take as long as 12-18 months.
6. Re-evaluate Tactics Based On Result
Having a written strategy is vital when tracking long-term results. After a certain amount of time, check back on your original intentions with your public relations campaign.
Review tracked metrics to evaluate the success of your original goals. You will be able to easily see trends in your data and start to see where you may need to tweak aspects of your campaign.
Analytics can help you fine-tune your public relations campaign to be a success!
It can be overwhelming to organize a successful public relations campaign but set your image apart with a fool-proof plan.
Consider these six essential steps when you are starting the work of elevating your brand.