September 5, 2014
How to give your projects the full-court press with PR
Your company is doing wonderful work every day and constantly moving forward toward your goals. Still, there are times when you want to highlight something extraordinary and capture major media and public attention. This is when you may need to create a national PR and media campaign.
For many, the thought of a huge campaign can be scary. How to begin? It can seem overwhelming and you might be tempted to throw in the towel before you even start.
However, once you understand a few key components of a successful initiative, the task may appear a bit less daunting.
Know your goals before you begin a campaign. This includes what you expect to achieve as a company and the places where media attention and recognition will help you attract the most members of your target audiences.
Plan, plan and plan some more. You must have a detailed plan stating how you will execute each step, as well as measurement tools to determine what success will look like. In addition, prepare to make adjustments if it looks like any component is not working as well as you’d hoped.
Achieve buy-in from all employees and key stakeholders. You should make sure you reach out to those who will be connected to the project, explain what you’re doing and how it fits in with company strategy. One of the best ways to do this is to get everyone involved. Give them goal-oriented tasks so they have a stake in the overall success of the initiative. Also, you can offer opportunities for them to submit ideas and feedback, if applicable.
Be ready to highlight benefits over features. Remember that no matter what you’re creating, it should focus more on your audiences and the public than on your company.
Use social media. It’s a great tool to encourage participation, document milestones with pictures and video and help spread success stories of the campaign. You can create special hashtags and send coordinated Tweets.
Think innovation. Hint: If you’re afraid to do something because no one else has ever tried it before, that’s not innovative.
Incorporate visuals to help tell the story. A recent survey of 500 journalists revealed that press releases and pitches that include remarkable photos, videos and infographics are more eye-catching and have an increased chance of attracting media attention.
Recruit a celebrity. It’s not always necessary to use someone huge like Angelina Jolie or Bono; it could also be a well-known business professional in your field, a local celebrity or journalist, an athlete or a former celebrity. As long as it’s someone who would be recognizable to your target audience and a logical choice to speak about the topic of your campaign.
A good example of this is actor Henry Winkler as a pitchman for One Reverse Mortgage. While he may no longer be a household name as The Fonz, he is certainly recognizable to the company’s target audience.
One shining illustration of how this can all come together is KPMG’s Family for Literacy Program’s Reading Relay. The company went all out to attract nationwide attention by combining staff and community involvement, op-ed articles written by the CEO, social media updates and unique events featuring participants dressed as book characters. Perhaps the icing on the cake was getting famed golfer Phil Mickelson involved, donating books and merchandise proceeds as well as appearing on national media to discuss the cause and the campaign.
Most importantly, the launch of each component of the Reading Relay initiative was well-timed, based on a set schedule, for maximum exposure. As a result, the campaign received national media attention from outlets spanning MSNBC to the Golf Channel.
Creating a winning PR campaign is not easy, and is not something you should undertake if you aren’t prepared to fully commit. The award-winning professionals at Axia can help. We will help you develop campaigns to attract media interest and earn profitable publicity to increase your brand recognition and give you a competitive advantage. Contact us today or download our e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.