HOW TO BUILD AN EFFECTIVE PR CAMPAIGN
Building an effective PR media campaign takes persistence, patience and practice. Most small to mid-sized firms will not have an in-house person committed to a strategic PR effort. But what if an owner wants to build a PR campaign?
Building an Effective Public Relations Campaign
Any firm has two main options for building an effective PR media campaign: outsourcing the work to a PR professional, or personally creating, implementing and overseeing the PR campaign (or getting a partner or other top executive to assume these duties).
Once you have selected the method that is right for your firm, this is how to get started with building an effective PR media campaign.
1. Create a graphic template for all your press releases. Include immediate contact information. This template will be consistent with the company’s branding and will include the branding attributes (logo and typeface, colors and design).
2. Write a descriptive one to two paragraph blurb about your firm and include it at the end of all your press. Include both your website URL address and blog address (if you have one; and if you do not, have you considered it?) This paragraph is sometimes called “boilerplate” and it is the copy your firm uses to introduce and identify itself each time.
3. Assign a media contact person to be a spokesperson for your firm. This person is well spoken, knows up to date company information (is in the loop), and is authorized to speak to the media on your behalf. Note: (This spokesperson may be you if you are professional and personable in appearance and an effective verbal communicator.)
4. Add a PR brainstorming session to each staff meeting and regularly field potential topics for coverage, and make it known that you encourage and expect contributions.
5. Identify ten publications you would like to reach; make contact lists; read the issues and editorial calendars. Establish a clip file of articles of interest and circulate it within your firm. These media sources may be digital or print with a digital issue, and may include influential blogs and columns.
6. Define six projects or product or service offerings that define the work and services of your firm. Print out a contact sheet on each and circulate it asking for one or two bullet points as to why the project or product was a success; what was noteworthy about the project and the quantifiable results. Did you save money, establish new procedures, solve problems, use interesting, new materials, procedures or eco-friendly and sustainable products?
What trending issues and topics are in the news and how might your work, services or products be relevant? Keep a working file on targeted news and media outlets and get to know their tone, voice and journalists. Never pitch off topic or on subjects not covered by the publication.
7. Define four to six categories (that define your company) and keep lists of projects and product/service offerings by type. Use project sheets as backup information for the media and as ready resource packets for interested parties.
8. Set up a case study format. Turn your key projects or offerings into case studies: show what the issue or goal was, how you solved it and what was noteworthy about your services (such as dollars/time saved, issues solved, etc.).
9. Define two leaders in your firm with expertise of interest to your profession. Format short relevant bios, define their projects and expertise in bullet points, collect one or two “pull out” quotes from each person. What are pull out quotes? You’ve seen them in magazines and in print, in large type, usually an important takeaway idea or memorable quote (that quickly says it all).
10. Create two White Papers. White papers are focused reports on a topic, and must be highly readable, sharable and easily reproduced. Each white paper should clearly establish your credibility and expertise about an issue or topic.
11. Create a media packet (also known as a press packet or press kit). Design a cover in keeping with your band and brand elements and provide consistent content including: About the Firm, Bios (key leaders), press releases and articles, and a list of available documents, project sheets and white papers. Add social media details: videos, links to photos, source files for photos and research around issues.
12. Make your bios, press kit and firm information downloadable from your website and or blog. Create a short link to it so that it can be shared, Tweeted and re-tweeted. Shorten your link if necessary using one of the link shorteners such as Bit.ly, TinyURL (Google search and compare all services).
13. Identify four annual events where your firm will have a presence–select one tradeshow, one community event, one charity event and one special industry event. Put this on your calendar and create a timeline of press releases that will go out before and after each event.
14. Post news to your website and or blog on a regular basis. Create a virtual newsroom and make pdf files downloadable.
15. Conduct bi-annual industry surveys and post the results on your website and or blog. Announce the taking of the poll before and the results after.
16. Host a virtual roundtable discussion and post the Q & A session. Announce the roundtable topic before and the results after the discussion. A roundtable can be of in-house experts or experts in your industry that you invite to contribute.
17. Write and post articles online to your website, blog and to distribution sites. Contribute comments (without spam) on the articles and blogs of others in your industry or target industry.
18. Include your press releases in your direct mail to potential clients, provide a link to the site where you have them posted. In digital communications include a link and or a QR code to the bottom of your signature. What is a QR code? A QR or Quick Response code is a digital code that can be scanned and deliver the user to a website, a promotion or an image/document.
19. Use your Press releases as leave behind pieces on sales calls. Include company contacts at beginning, and About the Company at the end.
20. Reformat news release content for newsletters and make them available in print and online. Test print version against all photo version as many devices protect privacy and routinely block photos from downloading.
An often repeated mistake by many firms is to assign the task of Strategic Public Relations to an already overburdened in house marketing professional or other staff member who will most likely resist (openly or not). An equally deadly PR mistake is to assume that the media will simply find you based upon your work.
Follow these twenty methods to get a PR media campaign established and track the results. With a consistent effort a firm will reap the results of a strategic PR and media campaign.
McKerns Development and PR is dedicated to helping a business owner create a Strategic Public Relations Campaign.
What is Strategic Public Relations?
It is a dedicated effort to align company goals, products and services with the needs of their customer. It is both about perception and the delivery on that perception. Strategic public relations crosses many channels; it includes positively influencing the media and encouraging the public to have and report a positive experience to others. Strategic public relations works hand in hand with marketing and branding efforts, and therefore your strategic public relations expert will either be working with others on a team, or will be incorporating those elements in what they do.
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