Written by Josh Westerman
It’s easy to identify a successful PR campaign – it’s something that surprises us, makes us think and starts a conversation. PR ultimately has the power to transform a brand and influence its target audience by generating discussion, encouraging engagement and enhancing its reputation.
Appreciating great PR is one thing but being able to develop a campaign that it going to excite an audience and have a positive impact on a brand’s reputation is entirely another. When it comes to planning an effective PR campaign, it’s not just about conjuring up an idea and selling it in. So, where should you start?
Here are some top tips on how to generate ideas, plan and measure a successful PR campaign.
Analyse the situation
Before you can even begin the process of planning a campaign, you need to look at the situation your brand is currently in.
Is it a recognised brand? Generally speaking, does it have a positive or negative reputation? Who is your target audience and what are the best ways in which to reach this audience?
Consider your objectives
It’s important to keep in mind both the company and the campaign objectives. Think about what you want to achieve and how this will benefit the company – is the campaign in line with the brand’s values, beliefs and persona?
Having an in-depth understanding of the organisation you’re working with, the services it provides, and what it hopes to achieve will help you when devising a campaign to reflect the brand.
Once you’re fully immersed in the brand, prepare a strategic brainstorm brief for your team that will allow for creative and innovative ideas but will also ensure that all ideas are in line with the brand’s persona. Is the brand humorous, family-orientated or controversial? Understanding these elements will help you to spark ideas that will impress your client.
If you’ve been given a more specific brief by your client, focus the conversation around key topics and themes as you brainstorm ideas. Sending a brief to your team in advance of your brainstorm is often a great way to gather thoughtful, targeted campaign ideas as it gives people an opportunity to conduct research and stimulate new ideas.
Timing is key
When it comes to planning a PR campaign, getting the timing right is so important. It’s impossible to know what will happen in the future but being aware of the news agenda and conducting research into related topics can go some way towards helping you prepare for future occurrences.
There are certain events and activities that you can prepare for, for instance the changing seasons and holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and these topics will always form a large part of the news agenda. While tying your campaign into these events can prove to be extremely effective, it can sometimes have the opposite impact on the success of your campaign. With so much noise being generated around these themes, it’s important to have a unique and interesting angle to appeal to the media.
However, there are certain topics that you may want to consider avoiding altogether, to steer clear of negative backlash. These are usually dependent on the brand’s identity and can be anything that could potentially cause controversy or be deemed as hypocritical to its values and core messages.
The tactics you use in order to achieve your objectives are just as important, if not more so, than the idea itself. When planning your campaign, consider how you’re going to communicate the key messages to your target audience.
Often, your campaign will benefit from using a variety of integrated tactics such as social media, media relations, an event or stunt, expert comment opportunities or onsite content. Remember what you are aiming to achieve from your campaign – are you looking to encourage engagement with the brand, drive traffic to the website or raise brand awareness?
As you’re deciding on the elements of your campaign, put together a plan of action to work towards. Keep your timescale realistic, the quality of the work you produce is key to the success of your campaign so make sure you give yourself enough time to complete each action to an excellent standard.
Measuring your campaign
Consider how you will measure the success of your campaign. An easy way to do this is to set realistic KPIs for your campaign. This is also a great way to motivate you to achieve results.
Understanding the links between traditional media coverage, onsite content and owned-media, social media amplification and the impact this has on search will enable you measure the effectiveness of your integrated campaign.
Results can be measured in a variety of ways including analysing engagement and followers on social media, tracking the number of pieces of media coverage and the overall sentiment, looking at the quality of the publications you have achieved coverage in and tracking the audience reach of the publication.
You should also track the SEO value of your campaign too by looking at elements such as keyword rankings, click-through rate and organic traffic to the website or specified page.
The team at Brand8 PR has vast experience in planning and implementing successful PR campaigns for clients in both B2B and B2C industries. For more information about PR and the other services provided by Brand8, please visit: https://brand8pr.com/services/.