Author: Cristina Cristea
Date of publication: 02/06/2022
What PR specialist doesn't dream of organizing a successful PR campaign? The question is rhetorical. It just doesn't work for everyone. Although PR is an art, it is not impossible to master its basics. Let’s figure out how to build the tone of voice of a brand and make a PR strategy that will work for the benefit of the business year after year.
Is this really PR?
There are many myths and misconceptions associated with the term PR. Some companies do not see any difference between marketing, advertising and PR. Others consider sending out press releases the only task of a PR specialist. In fact, being a marketing tool, PR is not directly responsible for increasing sales. However, it indirectly affects their growth, providing a favorable information field around the company.
PR, unlike advertising, only stimulates interest in the brand, without openly talking about the benefits of its products. Likewise, it doesn't urge them to buy it. Thus, a press release is just one of many channels of communication with customers. PR is a tool that creates a positive brand image, as well as building communication with society and partners in general. Increasing the awareness of a product or service is one of the primary tasks of PR. Also, the transformation of a company into a trendsetter and influencer is a clear indicator of the professionalism of a PR specialist.
In order to make brand values understandable and close to the majority, it is extremely important to choose relevant ways to promote it in a highly competitive environment. Hence, it is worth starting this process with the development of a PR campaign and the selection of the necessary PR tools. After all, only a carefully thought-out concept of PR can create a respectable image in the market and quickly neutralize the negative that has arisen. Therefore the main thing is to understand how to do PR.
How to start a PR campaign
A PR campaign is a set of planned PR events (exhibitions, presentations, press conferences, contests, promotions) and individual PR actions (publication of image articles, CEO interviews). These two together aimed at gaining audience loyalty, as well as forming a positive opinion about products or services. Moreover, the organization of a PR campaign may include both the creation of an informational occasion and the construction of a long-term communication strategy.
Regardless of the format, the foundation of a PR campaign is set on two pillars:
the target audience;
strategic goal and local tasks.
Specifically, for a PR campaign to work, you need to understand who it is aimed at and why it is being implemented. Knowing the key behavior patterns and tastes of customers, it is realistic to initiate PR activities that are identical to their values. Having drawn up a portrait of your audience, it's time to determine the goal of a PR campaign.
Possible goals for a PR campaign could include:
Creation/maintenance of a positive brand image.
Elimination of oversights and neutralization of the negative (anti-crisis PR).
Strengthening the commercial status and reputation of the brand (reputational PR).
In addition, a PR campaign is organized to increase product / service awareness, expand a loyal audience, stand out from competitors and even make them anti-advertising (black PR). But the development of a PR campaign does not end with the definition of the target audience and setting the goal. So, an equally important stage lies ahead - drawing up a plan.
Plan for a successful PR campaign
Working blindly is not only risky, but also unproductive. Therefore, you need to depend on the current state of affairs, the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Also, thinking about the risks will help you to develop a plan for conducting a PR campaign with the necessary list of activities.
The following should be included in the PR campaign plan:
Deadlines for solving specific problems.
PR-events / actions necessary to achieve the result. For example, 20 publications in lifestyle media or a press tour for bloggers.
Performers responsible for the result.
Quantitative and qualitative indicators of the effectiveness of PR efforts. Let's say 50 publications in the media or 70 people who have registered for a webinar.
When the plan of action is outlined, it is important to choose:
Channels of communication with the target audience: social networks, media, instant messengers, e-mail distribution. It’s better to focus on the tools that are popular with your audience.
Prepare the necessary content: articles, press releases, etc. Duplicating information in different communication channels is not the best move. It is better to produce unique materials for each of them.
Compile a media database and pitch selected publications, taking into account the allotted time.
Create social media accounts for events.
Last, while the whole range of planned activities will be implemented, it is necessary to monitor their results.
PR campaign analysis
Analysis of the results of the PR campaign as a whole, as well as intermediate PR events, is perhaps the most important stage of work. In particular, the data obtained during the study will not only help determine the rationality of the actions taken, but, if necessary, quickly change tactics.
When evaluating your PR efforts, pay attention to:
Pros and cons in planning, organizing and conducting PR events.
Quantitative indicators: the number of publications / mentions in the media per month, requests for an interview, traffic on the site.
Qualitative indicators: the attitude of the audience to the published content: likes, comments, reposts, etc.; changing public opinion (eliminating prejudices and stereotypes); raising awareness of the target audience about the product, service, brand.
Finding resources to increase the effectiveness of future PR campaigns.
Search for reserves to reduce the cost of PR-events, while maintaining their effectiveness.