An effective PR campaign is more than just a planned list of activities. Successful campaigns can take on a variety forms and cover a range of platforms. But whether you need crisis control or a product launch, all PR plans lead towards a central goal – such as raising brand awareness or improving brand reputation.
When managed properly, PR campaigns are effective enough to create a remarkable difference to a brand and its following – and there are time-tested steps to make your PR plan more likely to reap results and profit.
But what are these steps and how do they help your PR campaign in becoming more effective?
1. Set goals
The first step when creating your PR campaign is to identify your goal. In PR, goals are typically, time sensitive, challenging yet attainable and most importantly, measurable.
Defining these goals early on allows you to pinpoint the areas of the campaign that need extra focus, while giving your team a full understanding of the expectations of both the campaign and each individual. This helps to improve team focus, as the direction is clear from the get-go, meaning less time is spent discussing and organising what needs doing, and more time spent developing the campaign content and rolling it out.
For an effective PR campaign, research should be at the forefront of the decision-making process and included consistently throughout your plan. As far as PR goes, you can never do too much research! Keyword research, identifying audiences and knowing which outlets and platforms to aim for are crucial for the credibility of the campaign.
Research is especially crucial in building the foundations of the campaign, such as setting up a clear understanding of the organisation, any pre-existing goals, and the target audiences. In this phase, PR professionals can use industry knowledge to help direct the campaign and give advice for future changes.
Continuous research, however, is just as important –being prepared whilst staying on top of current trends gives you the edge on competitors and helps to support the campaign throughout its duration.
3. Know your audience
A crucial step in running your PR campaign is building an understanding of your target market and the most effective methods to reach them. Audiences are the fuel to any PR plan, so if your campaign does not appeal to your targeted group, it will not be as effective.
What platforms are most often used, how to earn trust and even what language and topics will attract attention are all key areas to consider. Social listening tools like Google analytics are great options to gather this information.
4. Create a PR calendar
With dozens of ideas in the works, a PR campaign can fall apart without a solid PR schedule. A good PR calendar will map out all the important aspects of the campaign across its duration, offering a clearly defined plan of action and allowing your team to stay on track of all the various tasks expected of them.
An overview means areas where improvement may be needed are clearly visible, as are opportunities to develop your ideas. Timing is everything when it comes to PR, so scheduling enables you to move things around to make it work better for you, including rescheduling to match or avoid key events or dates.
5. Execute your campaign
There are multiple stages to a PR campaign but this, the main action stage, is where a good part of the plan sits. It looks different for every campaign, but typical activities may include media releases, events or exhibitions, social media, physical or experiential activities or stunts, advertising and much more. If you’ve done the preparation, you should know your audiences, activities and platforms and be confident that you are on target.
6. Measure results
The final stage of an effective PR campaign is evaluate – using information collected before and during the campaign. From increases in website traffic to a rise in sales, it is important to understand whether the desired goals have been achieved.
One of the most popular methods for reporting is tracking brand mentions, which can be completed through social media monitoring throughout the campaign’s duration. This gives key insights into engagement and can be compared against the original starting numbers – which gives you a clear idea of how the campaign has gone.
Looking for an effective PR campaign? Contact the team at Polymedia by emailing [email protected] to find out how we can help you. Find out more about the services we provide here.