Every week, we like to hold mini-training sessions on everything from insider info from local “meet the media” events to the latest features on social media platforms. It’s a great way for our team members to share their expertise with the broader agency and learn valuable tips to help with the daily grind.
Recently, I had the pleasure of leading a session that’s near and dear to my heart – running a PR campaign. Any successful PR effort requires careful planning, flawless execution and a heavy dose of creativity. And while seasoned communicators know this process like the back of their hands, it’s a tall order (and a lot to juggle) for those newer to profession.
So in an effort to break down the process, I came up with ten words to describe the major activities that go into any basic PR campaign:
- Plan – Before the campaign begins, it’s critical to have a solid media plan in place. What are the goals and expectations of the campaign? Who’s the target audience? What’s the timing? What assets will you need?
- Assign – In a team setting, it’s absolutely critical to assign responsibilities to individual team members. Who’s going to 1) write the press release and/or the pitch? 2) create the media lists? 3) be the point person for updates to the internal team and/or the client?
- Research – Are there stats/trends that could make the pitch more compelling? Who are the relevant reporters/pubs and how will you find them? Is there anything, competitively, that you could tie in to the pitch?
- Build – Create all of the materials that your team will need, including media list(s), a briefing document outline, talking points for spokespeople and more.
- Write – Now is the time to put your thinking cap on and draft that press release or media alert, customize your pitches, come up with a unique byline abstract—anything you’ll need to make the campaign a success.
- Distribute – What’s the best approach for your campaign? Will you distribute news via a wire service? Send the news or story idea to select journalists using a media database? Or, do custom emails make the most sense? What type of media follow-up is appropriate?
- Communicate – With everyone! Share feedback/challenges/opportunities with fellow team members and managers, and always keep your client informed on progress and next steps.
- Search (for coverage) – While Google Alerts are useful, go the extra mile and check the pub’s website or look at the reporter’s twitter handle (many reporters tweet out their stories). And if you’re expecting something longer-lead, put a reminder in your calendar to check in at a later date.
- Recap – It’s also important to document everything you’re seeing or hearing from your contacts – coverage, feedback/interest, requests for follow ups and more. Establish a recap frequency with the client, and stick with it.
- Measure – Whether you have a simple process in place, or need a more detailed analysis, measure, measure measure! Keep track of the number of articles, interviews conducted, share of voice, notable spokesperson quotes—anything that helps move the mark for your client, and raises the bar for your team the next time around.
While this list isn’t exhaustive (and every campaign is different!), I hope this simplifies the process a bit for people that are just dipping their toes into the PR world. Happy pitching!