Breakthrough creative ideas, solid journalist contacts, storytelling craft, strong press release writing skills are all things that go towards preparing for a PR campaign and making it great. However, to achieve the best results for a PR campaign, we need to go right back to the start.
The brief. And more specifically, the goals.
First Steps… Preparing For A PR Campaign
Setting Clear Goals Is Key!
If the brief for a PR campaign is too vague then it will fail before it’s even started. With no clear goals and objectives to aim for, how can success be measured? How can a client and a PR practitioner know they have been on the same page in their aims to succeed?
Communication Is Important
Both sides need to spend time communicating and questioning at the very beginning of a relationship to gain the facts and test mutual understanding of what any PR activity is trying to achieve. This is essential before embarking any further on working together.
Understanding Your PR Aims
It’s also crucial that the person requesting the PR understands what it can achieve and how it fits into the wider marketing mix and sales funnel. PR is not going to drive direct sales, although many people believe that’s what they’re going to get by spending money on it.
That belief will only get you disappointment, I’m afraid.
Defining SMART Goals
So, if you’re the PR deliverer or PR requester it’s vital that you both sit down and define what the goals are for the activity and how that’s going to be measured. If the goal is ‘to appear in Time magazine’ when you’re an SME based in a small village in Lancashire then, sorry to break it to you, but that’s not very realistic. Nothing is impossible (depending on budget and how creative you are willing to get!) but it’s not very likely.
Better goals are ones such as ‘to increase the visibility of our brand in relevant trade media’ or ‘raise the profile of our MD as an expert in X subject matter’. Any decent PR person will be able to come up with a relevant campaign to achieve either of those two.
However, to get the best out of your PR campaign, the goals need to be SMART ones and need to be made collaboratively with the PR team so they both meet your objectives and are achievable with any activity proposed.
Once you’ve set the goals with your PR team, then to achieve them you need to trust their advice on what is going to give you the best chance at hitting them. They are the experts you are employing to do the job so let them do what they are good at and ensure you have regular reviews on what progress they are making.