September 2, 2010 Leave a comment
Perhaps the most difficult concept for those new to PR to fully understand is that an effective public relations campaign is a gradual building process. It is the most effective and powerful form of marketing. It offers validation, credibility, reaches your target market. But, seldom does it happen overnight and to be honest, there are often real pitfalls to campaigns that move too quickly. A gradual sustained build that offers a cohesive story and establishes a brand is the best approach.
When launching a public relations campaign keep the following in mind:
You need to define your stories. It’s important to create different stories to meet the needs of different media outlets. I’ve found that it’s often effective to initially send out a general handshake release and then drill down to more media specific stories.
Develop pitches for the various types of media. For example, TV is a visual medium. You want to offer them more than a talking head. Think of visual oriented segments or stories you can offer.
Keep in contact with your public relations firm, but don’t try to direct or control the campaign. If you’ve hired them, let them do their job. Otherwise you’ll never really know how the campaign could have worked.
It’s important that your communication with your PR firm be free flowing. Keep in touch but don’t demand an excessive amount of time. Again (and I know this can be difficult) trust the firm you hired to do its work. Remember if you’re demanding they spend their time communicating with you, they’re not spending that time pitching the media.
Remember that PR is a gradual process. Give it time to work. If you keep digging up your bulbs to see how their growing, you’re eventually going to end up with a lot of dead plants.
Don’t go into a campaign expecting to land a national TV segment or a magazine cover within the first month or two, that’s not a PR gameplan, that’s a fantasy. And, as I mentioned previously, I’ve worked with clients who landed major national media right off the bat. Ironically that’s not always the most advantageous situation. A gradual, organic build is the optimum approach. If you hire professionals that know their field, you work with them and give them enough time to launch a campaign, chances are, your PR efforts will be successful.
Prepare for your media interviews. Your PR firm can set up interviews for you, but once those are set you need to be able to articulate your story, stay on message and meet the media’s needs.
Develop anecdotal stories and testimonials that can be used in the campaign. They are often your best stories. For examples, a physician’s most important stories are his patient’s stories. His expertise and knowledge is important, but what’s truly compelling is how he has changed his patient’s lives. Those are also the stories that the public will identify with.
PR and media relations can brand your company, take you to the next level, grow your business and establish you as an expert in your field. But, as with so much in life, for it to work, you need patience, preparation and sometimes have to get out of your own way.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010