What should you know before starting a PR campaign?
If implementing a PR campaign into your business plan is something you’re considering, there are a few things you should really consider before officially hiring a PR agency. After all, public relations is a long-term investment and must be thought out carefully and strategically.
Most companies are looking for brand awareness and to increase exposure in the press. Securing solid media placements is a great way to garner the attention of current and potential customers, ultimately increasing your sales and highlighting your company as an industry expert. But before you embark on this type of campaign, there are a few things to consider...
1. What is the focus of the PR campaign?
Before your PR agency begins pitching the press, make sure you’re on the same page as far as what the focus is. Do you want attention on your product/service/company or do you feel your story is the real attention-grabbing headline? Make sure you have a clear idea and discuss it with your PR agency, so they can make sure the pitching remains on point throughout the campaign.
2. Who is your target audience?
Knowing who your target audience is key and must be shared with your PR agency. Your PR reps will use this information to form key messages and pitch accordingly. These pitches will speak to your potential customers, so make sure you have a clear idea of who that is. Keep in mind their age range, gender, location, occupation, etc.
3. Is your messaging clear and consistent?
Because you’re involved in the company, you may feel the messaging is crystal clear. Often times, it may not be. Be open to having a second set of eyes (your PR agency) review your messaging to make sure it speaks clearly and remains consistent across all marketing and supporting PR material.
4. What are your expectations during and at the end of the campaign?
This is a must to ensure a smooth and successful campaign. Before your PR agency begins actively working on your campaign, make sure you take time to speak with them about what your expectations are. Simply saying, “We want exposure in the press” is not clear enough. Tell them what that looks like to you and be open to hearing their thoughts. You hired them for a reason – take time to learn from them and make sure your expectations are realistic and in line with one another.
5. Are you officially ready?
A lot of companies get so excited about starting a PR campaign, they often times may over look simple things, such as product availability and website development. Delays are so very common when it comes to both of these, but make sure you communicate with your PR agency where things stand. It can be challenging for them to pitch, pitch, pitch, only to receive an update there is a delay, which can lead to delays in product/company reviews. If you’re not ready to start because there is a slight holdup, that’s OK! Just communicate that with your PR agency and keep them updated throughout the process.
A PR campaign is a great tool to help your company grow and increase brand awareness, but it’s so important to take it slow, make sure things are in place, and you’re officially ready to embark on a long-term journey with a PR agency you’re excited to have on your team.
- Megan Saulsbury, founder and CEO, Canyon PR