Going into a PR Campaign unprepared is like burning money. In addition, in my experience, it’s a lack of preparation that fuels the myth that PR no longer works.
Well, it does work. However, it only works if you have a Plan! Yet too many people assume it is easy and that they can do it in a few days. They wait for their new shiny “thing” to launch, and then send out a worthless pitch or press release. They spam their media contacts and expect them to help.
Does a rushed approach like this work with anything? No. Yet I meet far too many entrepreneurs who expect miracles. Rather than do it “right”, they want it done.
So they do it themselves and:
- Waste money with media features that do not convert.
- Waste their time, as they rush to get everything done on their list.
- Waste his or her relationships with the media, by sending a generic email to everyone.
- Waste that all-important first impression, with an off-point and poor message.
Done Right, PR is more relevant than ever:
PR aligns the rest of your marketing, ensuring you reach more people with the right message.
- It helps you build authority and credibility through social proof and third-party associations.
- It helps you reach a new audience and develop instant trust with them.
- It helps you reach more people, and exposes you to potentially millions of people.
- It helps you improve your relationship with the media, so you become a “go-to” connection.
So, do not rush the process and then say PR no longer works. Instead, use this PR Checklist and make your next PR Campaign a massive success.
The Ultimate PR Checklist:
1. Optimize Your Website and Media Profiles:
I do not understand how people can overlook this, but so many do! When you launch a new PR campaign, it will drive a completely new audience to your website and social media profiles.
These become the first interaction they have with you and your brand. Therefore, it’s important to:
- Have up to date information and details.
- Have a fast, optimized website that is free from errors.
Even a moderate PR Campaign can drive tens-of-thousands of people your site. It is essential to ask the following questions-
- Can your site handle this new influx of traffic?
- Is it fast and efficient or slow and buggy?
- Is it optimized for mobile?
- Is all the information about you on it (and your social media profiles) updated and relevant?
- Do they have the right links and the most recent stories?
- Are you directing them to where you want them to go?
When I ask these questions, most business owners don’t have an answer. So before any new PR Campaign, do an audit and update everything.
2. Identify Your Talking Points and Branding Guidelines:
If your PR Campaign is a success, you will feature across lots of media and do many interviews.
This is great, but it is easy to lose focus on what you should be talking about. The last thing you want is to have a confusing, inconsistent or diluted message. However, unless you have a clear set of “Talking Points”, you likely will not share the details you need to. Likewise, you do not create a lot of your PR. Other journalists and bloggers write it, and they do not know your brand as you do. They do not know what to use and what not to.
So, make their life easier by creating a clear set of Brand Guidelines. A simple document is often enough, but it ensures both the media and YOU share a consistent message.
3. Choose a Reputable PR Firm:
Can you do your entire PR by yourself? Yes. Should you do your own PR? The answer is usually no! Not only do you have other tasks to do, but also unless you have the right contacts and experience, PR can become a real time-suck.
So, think hard about outsourcing your PR. However, please do not hand it over to the first agency you find!
Use this as a guide, and take the time to find and hire the right people. Rushing this process costs you a lot of time and money, and hurts your entire PR campaign.
4. Have Time to RESPOND to Media Requests:
I have come across this more times than I would like to admit to:
- I work with a client who wants more PR…
- I create a great PR Campaign that garners loads of interest…
- We get an influx of interview requests and media inquiries…
Then, the client complains that they do not have the time to respond and do the interviews. What the hell! Perfect :)It is important you prepare yourself for a successful PR Campaign. That is the goal, after all.
A good PR Agency can do a lot of the work for you, but some of the work always falls on you. If you don’t have time for media requests, find someone in your company or even in your PR firm who can act as a brand spokesperson for interviews.
In either scenario, you need to be prepared and have someone available when the media comes calling.
5. Set Realistic Goals:
You would not launch a new product or service without any goals, would you? Of course, you would not. Well, treat your PR Campaign the same.
It’s important you set 3-5 goals that you can measure your campaign against. But it’s also important these goals are realistic (again, PR doesn’t produce miracles).
As you plan your PR Campaign, make a list of your main goals. Have them be as clear as possible, and make sure you, your team and your PR Agency all work towards these. A campaign with goals is always more successful than one without them.
6. Measure and Track Your Results:
On the back of your goals, create an actual process that measures and tracks your results. It blows my mind how many people subjectively decide whether their campaign was a success or not. But when I ask them for the data, they have nothing.
- You need to set some core KPIs.
- You need to track these numbers throughout your campaign.
- You need to measure these numbers against your campaign goals.
As a business owner, you already know all this. So, have the same approach to a PR Campaign as if you would with any other.
7. Make the Most of Your PR:
Once your PR Campaign launches, the real fun begins. Because being featured in Forbes or Inc does not build success on its own. Appearing on a prestigious Podcast or TV Show will not solve all your problems. Those who get the most out of PR are those who leverage it.
You need to involve other aspects of marketing and keep the momentum going. Oftentimes, PR is what gets the ball rolling, but it’s those who attack it hard that see the greatest success.
The Right PR Agency: The Final Word:
Being successful at PR comes back to hiring the right PR Agency. A lot of them only care about creating a generic campaign for you, leave you to do everything else. This is a big red flag.
Only consider PR Agencies who see the bigger picture, and have a plan to leverage your newfound media profile.
PR is not as easy as creating a few press releases and spamming a list of journalists. You need to have a plan, and the best plans get executed by those who know what they’re doing.
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