A successful PR campaign has a lot to do with a great concept, a strategic approach, a smart plan of attack, and the creative steps you take to implement it. I intent to blog more about this “concept” idea later down the road, but for now I’d like to focus on something that you simply cannot do without. It’s very easy to get caught up and excited about creative strategy and concept, because this is often what sets extremely successful PR campaigns apart from the standard text book approach. However, regardless of Silver Anvil Award winning or text book standards, the following remains one of the most important aspects.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. From the starting line, if you fail to look at what your end goals will be, and what your overall objectives are, your campaign might as well be pointless. You can’t lose sight of what your after if you never establish what you are after in the first place… think about it. Setting these goals and objectives should start with your client’s ideas — they will know what they want to accomplish because they hired you (the PR pro) for a reason. Now it is your job to help them set realistic and achievable goals and to take their aspirations and form them into clear objectives for your PR effort. Setting these objectives makes your PR planning much more effective.
Kim Harrison of Cutting Edge PR outlines 3 types of goals used in Public Relations: reputations management goals, relationship management, and task management:
1. REPUTATION MANAGEMENT — These deal with identity and perception of your client, aka helping to form positive opinions about your client.
2. RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT –– Improving the relationships your client has with customers, stakeholders, and sometimes even competitors. Improve communication in the existing relationships help by your client and introduce new relationship opportunities as well.
3. TASK MANAGEMENT — Achieving tasks. This is most common type of goal, and is easiest to measure the results. This would include increasing attendance at events, increasing customer base, increasing recognition of brand, etc. This goal type would be where you would see the monetary profit as well (which is probably why it gets the most attention). However, I don’t think that this makes it the most important type of goal. I stand by relationships and reputation hold just as much if not MORE weight in successful PR efforts.
GET ON THE SAME PAGE
It’s also extremely important to get client and practitioner on the same page about these things. If the client has big ideas in his head, and the PR pro has something a little smaller scale and realistic on the brain, one will see the campaign as a disappointment while the other as a mission completed. This may seem obvious, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to be on the same page. When you work with a client (and this applies to in-house as well as agency situations) it is so important that you have not just complete 2 way communication but open lines of communication as well as honest communication. The meeting in which you both sit down and hash out your different expectations might be a painful, uncomfortable, or tedious task but you wont be sorry for doing it. The results will better, the relationship will be stronger, and ultimately your client/employer will respect you for doing so.
So what have we learned? Once you have your creative approach and strategy in order you’ve got to 1. Set some goals and objectives. 2. Make sure there are at least 3 goals, one having to do with rep, one to do with relationships and one to do with an achievable task. 3. Then get on the same page with your client, be honest and open with them about the goals, what’s realistic, what’s the time-line, how many goals? Once all these steps are taken you’ve got a well oiled PR effort so… go get ’em!