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.

Marketing for the phlegmatic

With the explosion of social networks, so many people promise to give away so many marketing secrets that I wonder how secret any of them can be if they are known by so many people.

It can only be a matter of time before someone invents the fact that you are never more than six feet away from a twitter expert.

But lets not deny the value of twitter and online services, just as other tools provided value in their time, from the telegraph to the typewriter to the fax machine.

What is probably more constant is the approach required for successful marketing, which remains neither secret nor exciting.

I would suggest that having an objective is a good start. This helps tailor activities to our target market by identifying what we want our customers to do, how we get them to do it and how we know when they’ve done it.

Next, it’s good to be interesting so that people notice that we are going on about something. It’s even better to offer something useful, even if it’s just entertainment value.

Generally, one-off activities are not enough and persistence is required so that people get to know us and our business without being annoyed by us. Add to this some consistency, so that over time people recognise our message and what we want them to do, eg make a purchase.

In simple terms, that’s about it. That’s not to say that research, planning, original ideas and hard work aren’t needed to put all this into practice, but it’s either that or knowing the winning lottery numbers.

And they are a secret that few manage to crack.

Follow me on twitter as I search for the winning lottery numbers @robertz

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