Articles Tagged with campaign

PR planning and improvisation

#SillySeasonPR #4

PR planning and improvisation

Planning your PR enables you to make the best of available opportunities.

You know what’s happening in your business, your schedule for launching new products or services and the dates of events you’ll be hosting or attending. Use all this to plan your PR activity.

When do you need to get news to publications about your product launch? What can you say about an event you’re organising? What photos or video can you create in advance to make the biggest impact?

Planning your PR early on gives you the time to come up with ideas and ensures you contact journalists before their deadlines. It also gives you the time to get all the information together, get quotes from key people, prepare images and other material, so your PR is packed with interest.

Many businesses leave it too late and send out press releases after the deadline and often after the event, when it’s old news. This material tends to be hurried, incomplete and ineffective. Often, it’s a waste of time and money.

Do it properly if you’re going to do it at all.

PR planning and improvisation

Expect the unexpected

Even when you’ve planned everything down to the smallest detail, the unexpected can turn your plans upside down.

That’s why it’s good to have a flexible attitude. If something is cancelled or changed, can you still use it for your PR?

If a sudden opportunity arises, can you bring your PR forward to take advantage?

Having planned and created your material in advance, this can often give you a structure with which to improvise.

In these situations you have to act fast. Waiting to get everything perfect could mean you miss the opportunity.

That’s how the combination of planning and improvisation enables you to make the most of all PR opportunities.

Plan for the future and adapt your plan on the day.

That’s your #SillySeason PR task #4.

Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: What is there to talk about?

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business.

 

Learning a PR lesson from a persistent snowdrop

How a long-awaited, lone snowdrop reminded me that persistence and patience are needed when running a PR or social media campaign.persistent snowdrop
Over the weekend, when I was away on a trip, my wife texted me to say a single snowdrop had flowered under our blackcurrant bushes.

I was over the moon. I planted lots of bulbs – crocuses snowdrops and tulips – before seeding this patch of soil with grass last autumn. The grass has taken, but whereas long-established bulbs elsewhere in the garden have come up in abundance, none of these new ones had showed any signs of appearing.

I have been scouring this area every morning for signs of growth, but was starting to wonder whether the bulbs had either been eaten by slugs or had rotted. I hadn’t given up, but felt the chances of seeing any flowers were slim.

Patience is rewarded

So news of the first snowdrop was even sweeter than usual. My patience has been rewarded and now I hope to see a few more flowers come up.

This reminded me about the need for persistence and patience in communication, especially in PR and social media. One press release, one blog post or tweet is unlikely to flourish by itself. It needs a planned campaign to plant seeds that will flower with persistent tending over weeks or months.

While this has always been the case, the vast flood of updates and posts now released on the internet every second makes it even more necessary.

One press release or tweet is not enough

A single tweet, post, blog or press release can disappear like a quiet comment in a noisy pub. An interesting, useful or amusing comment can be overwhelmed by streams of photos, accounts of reality celebrities or the latest smartphones and gadgets.

How do you make your voice heard when you talk about something outside these obvious topics which many people stick to because they are the easiest options?

Being original and interesting, of course, but also being persistent and patient. Many people give up quickly when they don’t see instant results. Often you have to wait to see your achievements.

I am certain that other bulbs will now flower in my lawn, because I believe that, given time, they will reach up and flower.

Is it worth soldiering on with my PR?

Is it worth soldiering on with my PR? | pressmeIf you’ve put your house up for sale, do you give up if the first person who comes to view it doesn’t make you an immediate offer?

Most of us won’t. Although having lots of people traipsing around our homes and having to make sure everything looks relatively tidy can be very tiresome, we make the effort, especially if we have made an offer on our dream house and don’t want to lose it.

Patience and persistence

Just as patience and persistence are important when selling a house – and I remember how much we needed when we sold our last house – so it is with PR.

One press release, one magazine, one action is unlikely to bring a flood of customers. Usually it will take a lot more than one action, probably a concerted campaign of regular activity to achieve the results you want.

Energy and enthusiasm

And you can’t just soldier on without commitment. Just as we want our house to look welcoming and comfortable to prospective buyers, so we have be energetic and enthusiastic in all our PR activity.

That means there will be a time when it looks like we’re not getting any results. Then it’s  important that we monitor our activity to make sure we are doing everything we need to and are not missing out anything. A powerful press release will achieve nothing if we don’t target relevant publications. We won’t get media coverage if a journalist asks us to send a photo and we forget. We should look to see what works and what doesn’t so we can fine tune our campaign.

Keep to plan

When you keep to your plan, you will have a much greater chance of succeeding. Many businesses launch into PR with their first press release or newsletter and never issue a second one. They give up because they don’t have time, don’t have the discipline to continue or are impatient when they don’t see quick results.

Your competition will fall away fast, giving you more opportunity.

Stick to your plan to see results.

Preparing for a telephone interview on live radio

National Campaign for CourtesyThis morning I got a call from BBC Radio Five Live asking if I would take part in a live discussion about courtesy on national radio. As I am a volunteer on the executive of the National Campaign for Courtesy, I said yes. The campaign achieves a high profile by taking opportunities such as this in the UK media.

As this hadn’t been a planned part of my schedule, I scooted round to be ready for the call at 9.00am. Often a radio station will ask to speak over a landline to get a clearer signal. I closed my office door, cleared my desk and got out my notebook. Then I looked up the main story they wanted to talk about: the question of whether MPs should have offered Jo Swinson a seat during Prime Minister’s Questions recently. I jotted down some details, including her name. I also opened the National Campaign for Courtesy web site in another browser tab and jotted down a couple of points.

When the member of the production team called to invited me on, they asked me a few questions and I jotted down my answers to these, along with bullet points of things I wanted to say. I also made a note of the web site address – yes, I know it off by heart, but nerves can strike anyone however experienced and I like to have things in front of me so that I can just read them out easily without hesitating as I try to remember.

The phone rang and the production staff put me through. Nicky Campbell was the presenter and very ably introduced the speakers and a number of callers from the public. Whenever a caller was introduced, I jotted down their name and the points they made. I’m terrible at remembering names so this enabled me to refer to callers by name and refer to their phrases directly in my responses.

It was a very enjoyable interview and Nicky Campbell introduced the campaign and me three or four times. What good exposure for the charity on a radio station which attracts up to 7 million listeners. Thank you to Nicky and to BBC Radio 5 Live.

I hope this helps you if you are asked to speak on radio. I know that many people get nervous, which is natural, but if you prepare you can enjoy it too and get exposure for you, your organisation or business.

• Robert Zarywacz is a UK writer, PR and journalist | partner in Zarywacz | courtesy consultant at pleaseandthanks.co.uk and the National Campaign for Courtesy

Write my press release in the dust

Have you ever been in a meeting where someone says “we must do a press release”?Write my press release in the dust

That’s it: the press release is done.

But what does it actually do?

It’s a bit like producing a brochure and having hundreds or thousands sitting in boxes in the corner of the office gathering dust. We’ve invested our time in writing and design as well as money in printing, but we’re not getting any return on our investment as they sit there. All that we get is dust.

Writing the press release is often the easy part. Getting interest in it is the challenge. That’s where we have to ‘do’ a lot more.

If we’ve got relationships with journalists, we can talk to them about it.

We can distribute it to our target list of journalists.

We can post it on our web site.

We can share it on social media networks.

We can talk about it on audio or video.

We can think of other inventive ways to draw attention to it.

A bit like a Twitter stream rushing past, a press release in an email can get lost in a flood of other press releases. And if it doesn’t get noticed, it will have the same effect as those brochures gathering dust in our office.

Developing a process that brings press releases to the attention of target audiences takes some ‘doing’, but will get better value from a PR campaign.

How do you promote your press releases?

Plant PR as a tree in your business forest

Plant PR as a tree in your business forest | pressmeIn my work as business journalist, I often get calls from people who have started a business and need to attract paying customers fast. “We need to do some PR,” they say.

Most businesses have overheads: rent or loans, electricity, phone and internet, vehicle costs and more. These costs need to be paid irrespective of whether any customer sales are bringing in money. Most forms of promotion take time to deliver results, so starting to think about PR when a business or product has been launched is too late to deliver immediate sales.

PR is best planned much earlier. When it is part of the business plan plotting the launch, a PR campaign can be based on the business data and objectives set out in the plan. These will help to answer questions such as: Who is the target audience? What do they like? What need will drive customers to purchase?

Incorporating PR into planning embeds it in everyday business processes rather than leaving it as an afterthought. This makes it a habit so that ideas and actions for PR are generated naturally and not as a separate, time-consuming chore. Targeting, scheduling, delivery and measurement can all be worked out logically and not left to last-minute guesswork.

When the time is right, the activities planned can be put into action fast. The business will also be more prepared to take advantage of PR opportunities that arise without warning.

If a business is a forest, PR should be one of the varieties of tree planted at the beginning. From a distance it might not stand out on its own, but it will take root and add to the impact of the whole.

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