“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself,” said Abraham Lincoln over 150 years ago, and it still holds true today.
PR campaigns can be tricky and time consuming, depending on the scope of the campaign. Running a campaign can also be stressful because at the end of the day, it is up to the communications team to ensure successful implementation.
There are certain strategies and tactics – strategic messaging, news creation, digital advertising – to embrace when running a PR campaign, but sometimes it’s easier to start with things to avoid. Here are some of Xenophon’s top tips to avoid stinking up your campaign:
Forgetting The Foundation
Before diving into campaign planning, mapping out end goals and how to get there is always a good starting point. We understand how easy it can be to get caught up doing things on a project-by-project or case-by-case basis, especially when collaborating with a team. And the last thing anyone wants is to dedicate time to work on a project just to step back and realize the foundation got lost in the process.
Missing The Story (creating promotional pitches)
“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” — Richard Branson
A campaign must tell a story – the brand’s story. The media wants a story and trying to sell them your brand usually won’t work in the PR professional’s favor. A pitch that comes off too promotional can take all newsworthiness away from an incredible product or service. Using a PR campaign to create a story, the idea or promise behind what’s being sold, can work without anyone ever having to explicitly sell something.
Unidentified Media Targets
When it comes to garnering publicity for a campaign, understanding the media targets will deliver more fruitful results than blindly pitching outlets. A pitch falling flat isn’t uncommon, even if the team behind it felt it was newsworthy enough. Sometimes the right journalists aren’t being targeted, and the pitch isn’t getting the opportunity to be read. The idea here is to match the topic or content of the release or pitch with the media outlet and journalist best suited to publish it. Identifying the right media for a campaign is something well-trained PR professionals can help with.
Winging Media Interviews
Lots of work has been done to creatively present information to the right journalist, and it resulted in the best form of media – an interview. Now’s the time to sharpen whatever story the campaign is trying to sell. There are two parts that go along with an interview, the public speaking aspect and the narrative told. Not preparing for an interview can land a brand on the wrong side of the media, like Cadbury’s CEO experienced when he failed to deliver anything tangible during his interview.
Developing a campaign, at any capacity, can be difficult and lengthy. Not only are there pitfalls to avoid, but there are tactics to embrace, depending on the campaign strategy. For more campaign planning tactics, click here.