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Forbes Agency Councils - Council Post Four Things To Keep In Mind Before Launching Your PR Campaign

At its core, the practice of public relations is fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, many individuals outside of the industry still see it as a nebulous construct. This can often lead to bungled strategy and erroneous measurements of success.

PR is also referred to as “earned media,” and it’s for a very simple reason: one seeks to strategically gain media visibility by conceiving of creative story ideas or “hooks” that effectively entice members of the media enough to cover them. Thus, “earning” both free media, as well as the trust of the reporter or producer, can potentially lead to one procuring even more real estate in the outlet in the future. This is in contrast to “paid” media, which is often referred to as simply advertising.

For the last decade, I’ve built solid professional relationships with a diverse and expansive selection of clients, all bringing unique assets and talents to the table. I’ve also had the chance to teach many of my clients about the practice in which I am the most passionate: public relations, and its power to shape the public's perception and build platforms of influence, credibility, and prominence. Many of these clients have even shared with me their own personal observations that its potency has positively impacted their career trajectories, and has helped to elevate their brands immeasurably.

The primary misconception about PR is that it is a direct lead for sales generation and a guaranteed source of revenue. But this is not the case; it has so much more value than that. A meticulously planned out and successfully executed public relations campaign is actually an investment in the long-term prosperity of a brand -- with a healthy dose of patience, of course.

Here are four things you should keep in mind when planning a PR campaign.

PR Efforts Boost Visibility

Although consistent press coverage produced through successful PR efforts does often end up positively impacting profitability and sales lead generation, it is not meant to function simply as a means to do so. Instead, it is fundamentally intended to produce a level of awareness or elevate the positioning of a brand. It can also positively influence or enhance one’s industry credibility. With any long-term PR strategy, consistency is key.

Don’t Rage Against the Machine, Oil It

As I mentioned above, PR is a critical mechanism for creating success for your brand, but not the sole one. For example, if you are releasing a new product, PR can absolutely generate awareness of said product. But if you do not have a proper distribution strategy in place, your prospective consumers will have a difficult time locating it. This will spoil and squander any benefit achieved through the press coverage you attained. If you do not implement a solid marketing strategy, you will lessen the impact created by your public relations strategy. It all works together in sync. As one friend always likes to say to me: “One hand washes the other and together they wash the face.”

See It Through

Once you kick off your PR campaign, try not to keep shifting your entire strategy, expectations or goals -- or worse, halt your campaign altogether. If you start off by committing to a certain scale and scope of press coverage, and you find that this coverage isn’t immediately yielding the sales figures or leads you were hoping for, or the campaign isn’t instantly producing the exposure you originally sought, don’t keep moving around in your overall objectives. Doing so not only tells people that you don’t understand your message or your audience, but it also creates a dangerous stop/start momentum, which can be detrimental to your campaign’s success. There’s a bigger picture at work.

Be Enthusiastic, Yet Objective

We all think our "baby" is the most beautiful, the most talented, and the most special. It’s easy to feel that you have the best product on the market, but keep in mind that not everyone will always agree. And that’s okay. Even the most popular brands have a hearty serving of naysayers. Your story may be the best thing since sliced bread to one level of media, but to another, it may fall on deaf ears. Shooting for the moon is fantastic, but if you are expecting to get there in an airplane, you may want to scale back your expectations.

Remember, if you begin your PR campaign with an open mind, clear-cut goals and realistic expectations, your success is guaranteed.


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